Have you ever had one of those conversations with an outwardly successful person, who turns out to have had a string of disasters in their background?
At a networking event, I got talking to a colleague who I had previously avoided. He told me about his extraordinarily difficult family heritage, and how close he had come to jumping off a tall building. He also said that he had been programmed to be emotionally abusive like his father before him, until NLP had enabled him to ‘break the chain’.
And, in case you are thinking that NLP might ‘save’ your own abusive partner, or ex-partner, it’s not that simple. Roger (not his real name) changed because he had reached a pitch of agony that he could no longer abide. He truly wanted to ‘break that chain’, and he was prepared to do it, for himself, and by himself; for the benefit of his children.
I shared with him my passion for breaking the chain, or the mold, of abuse, and doing my part to prevent emotional abuse continuing on down the generations.
Every woman who breaks that chain massively increases the sum of happiness and freedom in her own life. She increases it also in the lives of her children. Since children learn what they live, it cannot be otherwise.
Roger told me that when his father died, his stepmother’s floral tribute bore the words: “Peace at last, my darling…”
Now, in true abused woman style, Roger’s stepmother had stood by her husband, to the last, and believed that she loved him. In writing that card, she probably had intended to say that he was at peace at last. In reality, it was at least as true of her: she had found a peace that she would never have had while her husband was alive.
Roger said she now looks a good 10 years younger, and at 73 is happy and confident to drive again. While her husband was alive, she had not felt confident to drive for years - or have a life, worthy of the name - for herself. Like all abusers, her abusive ‘darling’ had completely sapped her confidence and self-worth, over the years.
When will you have ‘peace at last’?
Are you willing to wait until death provides that peace? If, indeed, it does.
How much longer are you willing to delay bringing that peace into your life.
“Ah, but”, you might say, “it’s different in my case. My abusive partner has moved on. He has got himself another partner, and another life. He is happy, now. And I can’t get him out of my head.”
Why would you keep him in your head?
Why would his judgements, and his negativity, still corrode your self-esteem, like acid?
It happens because you believe that you are powerless to change that.
Is it true?
If you believe it is true for you, then it must be.
But does it have to be that way?
Not at all.
So what actually happens?
You don’t need me to tell you that children are brilliant at pushing your buttons. So, too are abusive men. It makes sense, when you stop to think about it. In their ‘intimate’ relationships, abusive men are, quite simply, attention-seeking children. Albeit with a breathtaking dose of nastiness thrown into the mix. When they ‘push your buttons’ they are, in fact, tapping into your childhood vulnerabilities, your unresolved hurts and shame.
They are brilliant at activating the anxious, disempowered child within you. They do this to disorient and disempower the competent adult that you have become. In time, with enough input from an abusive man, it’s easy to forget that you are a competent adult. It’s easy to believe that you are the pitiful creature an abusive partner says you are; precisely because his words confirm the child’s tendency to feel hopeless and helpless.
Abusive men have a rare gift for activating the child’s tendency to catastrophize, that is, to interpret everything from the standpoint of despair.
In short, they have a genius for rubbing salt in old wounds. This enables them to open up new ones also.
Most probably, those wounds will remain open until you close them.
And you have the power to do that, if you will only believe that you have.
When will you consign your abusive partner, and those old beliefs, to the scrapheap where they deserve to be?
They deserve to be on the scrapheap. You do not.
And yet, by confusing his words with your reality, you have believed, and treated yourself, as if you deserved to be on the scrapheap.
Please, please, take charge of your life. Do not be like Roger’s stepmother and wait for “peace at last” to come to you – if indeed it does – the slow, hard way.