Helping some victims of abuse see the difference between healthy and abusive behaviour can be like teaching a new language. At first, they just don’t understand it, know it or believe it. For example, to be respected, loved and accepted when they make’ a mistake’ doesn’t make any sense to them, yet this is how a healthy person operates.
A safe partner is someone that will talk to you about stuff that arises in the relationship and in a spirit of acceptance and love. In other words, if you ‘mess up’ they choose an array of healthy ways to respond, which the abuser CHOOSES not to do. The right person sees you as their equal and wants to know your heart, and what is on your mind. They will desire to work through relationship issues together in order to build and maintain the connection and intimacy between you both.
A partner who abuses, could choose discuss, set boundaries, express their feelings honestly in a calm manner, or walk away and reflected on the issues at hand and calmly come back to work it through as a couple. Instead they want to control you and take away your rights to have a different opinion, give feedback, talk and offer solutions. They certainly do not like you to get angry as that can help you get your power back. They chose to hurt you, make you feel small, and/or use violence, the children or other tactics to make you ‘pay’ and keep you under their control. They decide their feelings are more important than yours and that you failed them and did not live up to their rules and expectations.
Humans are creatures of habit and we can get use to situations, no matter if they are good or bad, so if being treated well feels like a bit of a foreign language, please make it your new normal before you embark on another romantic relationship. It will take some time to get comfortable being treated right but once you do, you will find yourself graciously accepting and enjoying the love and respect that safe people offer you.
Remember, nothing you do deserves abuse. Abuse is not your fault. The person who abuses is responsible and accountable for their own actions.
If Felt Like I Deserved It! Written by Joanne Klassen
Copyright Donna Intera 2012