Emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and domestic violence are on the rise, especially among young people. The risk of falling into an abusive relationship is greater than ever. Read More
This is one of the most trenchant and useful posts/articles I have read.
Thank you for it.
Trust in yourself seems like a very hard thing to do because we have all been fooled in life. This seems impossible most of the time "Trust in yourself stems from your deepest values. As long as you stay attuned to the most important things to and about you, you will naturally gravitate toward those who truly value you as a person.". This must take a lot of time and effort to develop. Values seem so relative and therefore constantly changing. Do you have any further thoughts on developing trust in yourself. What does trust depend on most? How do you learn to trust yourself?
Thanks for the insight - this is helpful. Do you have a basic list maybe a hierarchy of values? Is there a way to grade oneself based on the percent of energy spent on the deeper values? Are there general statistics of energy spent on values to trusting yourself?
In my life, it holds true to all the characteristic of early warning signs in my partner. I used to think i am a strong person, but of late have become more suicidical and weak. I am divorced and am in a 'relationship of conveniece' at this point of time and i face this situation in the new relationship. the complication is my divorce has a lot to do with my current partner and am in a position that i cannot escape.
What do i do?
The feeling of "suicide" should not be taken lightly! I have never felt those feelings, but he has when I finally left for good last February, 2012. He called, came to my house and cried like a baby on his knees....Anyway, my advise to you would be to make a realistic plan, then execute it! Get the heck away from him before you make a different plan of "suicide".
I have experienced psychological & emotional abuse because I allowed it even after I recognized who he really was. Yes, he absolutely wore a mask while dating, but as the article reads; once a relationship was established he took off the mask. I went back and forth because he would cry, beg, and promised he was going to change his behaviors. He even had the nerve to go to a Therapists and tell him that "she made me do it". I went off right there in the Therapists office. Let's not be confused, I was not afraid of him AT ALL (he was afraid of me once I got mad) I was weak for his tears & apologies. The Therapists told him that he had to own up to his behaviors and she can't make you do anything.
I finally found my "self worth" at 51 years of age. His feelings of inadequacy started out as a child, Not my problem!
I want to thank you, Steven, for so graciously sharing these valuable insights and messages of compassion that you gained through your mother. It seems that her spirit does in fact live on.
This post is 100% true as was your last post. What I particularly liked from your last post was the idea that you can have compassion for someone without necessarily needing to trust them. That's actually a pretty radical and transformative concept.
Love and peace,
>>>> "The problem is not that you attract only resentful, angry, or abusive suitors; it's that, by and large, you have not been receptive to the gentler, more respectful men you also attract." <<<<
After growing up in an abusive household, then suffering through several abusive relationships, I always wondered why I tended to 'attract' abusers. Your explanation makes so much sense! I DID reject gentler suitors without even realizing it.
I hurt a lot of "nice guys" but rationalized it by thinking it was their own fault for hanging around because I plainly told them I didn't want ANY kind of relationship with anyone. But then I would end up in another abusive relationship because those types of guys break down your defenses.
The good news is, I found the penultimate "nice guy" at the exact point that I'd HAD IT with men - and well, people in general. I was full of rage & told him I hated everyONE and everyTHING. Maybe he's a masochist but he patiently waited for my anger to ebb without ever pushing my boundaries. At some point, I looked at him with fresh eyes and wondered "Why is he still around? How have I not driven him off yet?"
He's the gentlest person I've ever known and I'm still crazy about him after 22 years of love, marriage, children, joy, tragedy, and change. I'm so grateful he waited out all the insanity because I never could have lived this wonderful life without him. :-)
Steven thank you for spelling it out so very clearly! And Lil, thank you for proving that there is life after abuse. Your reply gives me hope!
I could not have found your posts at a more appropriate time. Bless you and thank you.
Learning and Growing
As a man who has been rejected for being too passive before(aka not pressuring or not intentionally at least and doing what i can to be respectful) i would add that i am glad you found someone..But as a warning to others like you once were this can twist people and make some people abusive because it feels like it's the only way...I am avoiding relationships for now because i can tell that is happening to me a bit..And I don't want to be a person who expects and demands things in a relationship or from women...
So yeah a warning to some that abusers can also be born from seeing the success they seem to have.
Also can i just say i don;t like how i worded the title...Not sure anyone can call themselves nice LOL.
Great Article... it is in depth and enlightening.
Is it possible for an abused person to then pick up the habits and become abusive too? Or would it be self defense if they abused back?
Unfortunately, it is not only possible, it is likely, due to natural reactive patterns that develop between people in close relationships. The hardest (and most unfair) part about recovery is not healing the hurt of abuse but changing those reactive tendencies in yourself. It takes self-compassion to return you to your most authentic sense of self. There is a lot of material to help on http://compassionpower.com.
I thought I read that physicians, ministers, police officers, lawyers...were the top abusers (I think there were 7). I married a shy, quiet medical student whom I dated for 4 years. He showed NO SIGNS OF ANY ABUSE, nor did his family. It didn't surface until 10 years later, after I had major back surgery, we were moving cross country ("home"--leaving the military)and he became very angry and abusive and "lost his caring" for me. I wouldn't be so quick to grab the doctor, the one USED to giving ORDERS all day...
Also, is your book about communication without talking meant for an ABUSIVE relationship? My abuser loves the idea, I say it is NOT. Can you straighten that out for us please? Thanks for all your work! I pray it will work some day in our family. Our children even refuse to do the workbooks on emotions I bought.
No, although it can be very helpful once abuse stops. The book about abuse is Love without Hurt.
You talk a lot about avoiding these abusers, but what about the abusers themselves? Not that I'm trying to cry 'woe is me' but I worry that I exhibit some of these behaviours (at least in a minor sense) and I want to change my attitudes. Do you have any suggestions?
Many of the other posts discuss how to change resentful, angry, or abusive behavior. There is a wealth of information at http://compassionpower.com
Congratulations for recognizing the problem and for having the courage to do something about it.
Why do you speak of a man being abusive? Don't you know that women can be exactly the same as you discribe? It is sad, but informative to read the article. I wish she or her or woman was used as well. You are right about the behaviors. I've seen them.
I'm happy that someone else out there made this comment too. Obviously theres a much larger issue than he or she; but I think that its time sexism is ended--i.e. stop the man bashing. I've been beaten more and abused more by the women in my life than by the men and its pretty immature to ignore an entire gender's responsibility in creating a healthy relationship.
Women are just as likely as men to be abusers, and it's about time we start helping men who are suffering as well. If men continue to be isolated due to ridiculous stigmas and misperceptions, how will they ever receive the assistance they need? Otherwise, it's a great article - I just think it should be more inclusive.
I am physically abusive and a woman... I had an early relationship that taught me hitting stops name calling. A man starts to hurt me or scare me I swing...
Nice article. Thank you posting. I am sure it will help more people to watch those abusive partners thanks to those early signs.
As a counselor and survivor of domestic violence and abuse I think this is one of the most on point blogs I have seen on recognizing abuse early on in relationships. I applaud you for writing it and hope that many of my clients read it. I will post a link to it on my blog.
Thanks for your insights. Excellent work.
Here's the link to the blog where your post is edified if you care to view it.
I congratulate you for this article. It has been a long time since I was overwhelmed in a positive manner over reading material. I am a prison chaplain and plan to use it in my work.
One inquiry, however, I see some of the characteristics in women, could you please comment about this or direct me to additional reading?
My daughter is in an abusive relationship. She has moved out but he wants to still "date". And they still are seeing each other. I sent her this article - in hopes that she will see what I have been trying to point out. This guy is positive on EVERY point you make. Thank you for exactly what I needed to help my daughter.
I am so grateful for this article because my spouse fits most of these traits pretty well. For a long time I have felt that there was something about his behaviors, reactions, motivations that just didn't seem right. It just didn't sit right. Despite those feelings, it has been extremely difficult to find footing in a more marginally abusive relationship such as mine. Most websites give clear cut examples, ones that most folks can easily designate as inappropriate and abusive behavior.
What I have struggled with the most, however, is that in therapy, they always say that "if you are sure you're right, then you are probably wrong". I agree with this statement, however, in some cases I've sensed in my gut that the things he's done, and the ways that he's reacted simply weren't "right". That is, how do I accept or take responsibility for the mistakes I've made (and we all make them), and at the same time, remain confident that his hostile assertions of resentment, anger, jealousy, criticism are indeed unwarranted?
The hardest part I've had in standing up against these behaviors and against what I've considered emotional abuse, has been sustaining a sense of self in all of this. Pointing to someone as an "abuser" evokes a sense that one person is inflicting unacceptable behavior on another, more innocent recipient, yet all other therapeutic wisdom argues against such blame-based polemics. I'm sure you have faced this sort of question many times.
I am just having a very hard time focusing on myself when I feel that I entered this relationship as a very balanced person, and deeply feel that our pendulum of pain was truly triggered more by my spouses insecurities and the threats that marriage represented for him, than they did on how I treated him. I don't want to blame this entirely on him, I know there are many things that I've done that I wish I had handled differently. The biggest mistake I made was namely, taking the bait (harassment, jabs) that he put out for me and trying so hard to argue against them, when instead I probably should have simply walked away.
Now he is doing an incredible amount of self-examination, reading books, journalling, accepting the mistakes he's made, but he is resentful at me for not "taking more blame" for the state of our relationship.
My questions are twofold (well, actually tenfold, but...)
1. If he is making a concerted effort to change, much of which seems inspired/assisted by a new depression medication, and gained clarity at my separating from him, should I give him another chance?
2. How do I reconcile the above dilemma. How do I take sufficient responsibility for my part in our dynamic, without feeling as though I am taking equal blame. I keep wanting to simply face forward and work towards making things better in the future, but he seems to continue to want to make me face the past.
Maybe that's proof that he really hasn't changed.
I look forward to and appreciate any response that you are able to muster to all or part of the above.
Most abusers use self help books therapy as a way to learn new methods of continuing on with their abuse--they learn therapeutic lingo, ways of describing the world that redefine their abusive actions as acceptable. If you are sitting there wondering what you did to participate in the abuse--that you tried to argue instead of walking away, God Forbid, looks to me you are being snookered in a different kind of way as the abuse continues...I urge you strongly. Run away from this person as fast as you can run.
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Steven Stosny, Ph.D., treats people for anger and relationship problems. Recent books: How to Improve your Marriage without Talking about It, and Love Without Hurt.
When and how should we open up to loved ones?