I love your thinking and have used it to great benefit now, that I'm almost divorced. However, during my emotionally abusive marriage, the word "compassion" made me stay much longer than I should have. I am naturally empathetic, can see the other person's perspective (and particularly when that person is cruel - I find lots of ways to depersonalize the behavior and look at it as something rooted in his issues, his pain, his vulnerability), and am far more likely to protect, connect and nurture than become resentful and similarly abusive.

All that said: It wasn't until I stopped demonstrating compassion and stood up to his abusive and controlling tactics, where I allowed myself to enlarge and expand my understanding of his impact on me and our family that I could see clearly enough to leave. I've never been cruel, though I have at times stood up for myself with volume, obvious pain and exasperation leading to expressions of anger. I needed those.

So when you speak of compassion, I know *now* what you mean. But back in the marriage, I truly sought to be compassionate believing it would heal us. Instead, what I thought was compassion turned out to be a lack of self-respect (where I should have stood up against the onslaught of control, rage and abuse). Sometimes the victim must access her anger and outrage toward the abuser to find the strength within to justify leaving. She must label the behavior and stop making excuses for it. Cultivating a habit of looking compassionately at my abuser prevented me from having compassion for myself.

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