Nobody ever deserves to get
hooked into an abusive relationship, but that is exactly what does
happen to a lot of us. In fact, the statistics suggest that 1 in 4
women will undergo domestic violence – and that probably doesn’t include
those of us who “only” suffer mental and emotional abuse.
So why does it happen?
Why does it happen, even in these relatively ‘enlightened times’? And why does it happen to the rich and famous no less than to anyone else.
Secret #1 It doesn’t just happen; it comes about for a reason. We become abused women, and learn to settle for an abusive relationship because we were taught to settle for less. Mostly, we were taught by parents, or other carers, to settle for:
than we wanted or needed. Nobody’s suggesting that we liked it, or that we wanted it, but – usually at a young age - we were programmed to expect that that was all we would get, and so we internalized that. It was never your fault, you were programmed to have an Achilles heel that you didn’t even know you had.
Secret #2 We become awfully good at denial. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? When you learn that you are not that important, and you don’t matter that much, it becomes second nature to blame yourself for whatever happens, does it not? Especially when everyone else is in the habit of blaming you. You accept that everything that happens is your fault.
(Do you remember The 3 Wise Monkeys, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak No Evil? According to Wikipedia there could be a fourth one also: Do No Evil. And, according to Annie, there should be a fifth one: Live No Evil. What I mean by that is never, ever, resign yourself to live with the evil, negative projections that a loved one foists on you. When someone tells you that you are most kinds of awful and you swallow it, you are living their evil. Don’t do it. They’re wrong.)
Secret #3 Always, always let an abusive man off the hook. Collude with him in accepting that he is never accountable for his actions. You made him do it – whatever it happens to be at the time.
Secret #4 If you keep on throwing love at an abusive man, he’s bound to improve one day. Isn’t he? Your love is the alchemy that will one day turn his dross into gold. Or, if you prefer, just keep waving your magic wand as hard as you can and, some day, the magic is bound to work (if your arm doesn’t drop off from exhaustion first). The best case scenario is that one day, you will finally have some power and influence that lasts longer than 5 minutes, in the relationship…
So sorry to dispel another hope, but it really doesn’t work like that. You know how the more you do for other people, the less they bother to do for themselves? Well that is the way it works. Why, on earth, would he bother to work at the relationship, when he can leave that stuff to you?
Secret #5 Make sure you have a really, really skewed idea of the World. He is wonderful, and you are awful. Now, this one is a little counter-intuitive, but you’ll probably understand it anyway. Most of the time he acts like a complete jerk. Yet that doesn’t stop you believing that he is wonderful, and lovable, and his behaviour is all your fault, anyway. You, on the other hand, do everything you possibly can to be loving, caring, understanding, and supportive, and keep the peace, yet, all the time, you are vile, and horrible, and nobody else would ever want you. (Doubtless because you are too loving, caring, understanding and supportive…)
WHOA! Reality check, please! If it looks like a jerk, talks like a jerk, and acts like a jerk, there is a good, O-B-V-I-O-U-S reason for that: it’s a jerk. Every single jerk, since the beginning of time, has come with a guarantee, written in large print, across his forehead, which, curiously enough, nobody ever bothers to read, or heed, at the start. It reads: “This jerk is guaranteed to make you as unhappy as you have ever been in your entire life. He will never change or improve to make you happy.” Enough said.
Secret #6 Always, always focus on him. It’s all about him, isn’t it? You are so convinced that he needs to change, that he is perfectible, and a fine human being whose light is largely hidden by a dung heap, that you completely and utterly disregard yourself. You’ll be happy, when he… You’ll be able to grow and thrive emotionally, when he… You’ll defer having any good feelings, until you can bestow them on him first.
Think about it for a moment: abusive men don’t do selflessness, and they certainly don’t defer gratification. They want their emotional pay-offs and they want them now, toddler style. If having warm, fuzzy, loving feelings mattered to them, if being happy mattered to them, they would have focused their energies in that direction, instead of the eternal rant of dissatisfaction.
Secret #7 Let him take control of the relationship from the first minute. You may not like the way he does things – in fact, you probably won’t – but let him know that you are prepared to accept whatever he dishes out, regardless. Ignore everything you see that you don’t like. If you prefer, you could ask him to change and take your wishes into account. But then, when he fails to do so, back down. He’ll be fine with that, although he might have a temper tantrum. You probably won’t be as comfortable with that, but that is not important, is it? (See Secret #6 above.)
Now you know the 7 Secrets to creating an abusive relationship. Hopefully, bringing them to your attention in a slightly brutal way will help protect you for the future.
The next step is all about learning how to do things dramatically differently, so that, when you are ready, you can create the great relationship you desire.