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Abusive Relationships – Are You Really To Blame?

Abusive relationships - are you really to blame - Patrick Wanis
Abusive relationships - are you really to blame?
Abusive relationships – are you really to blame?

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss abusive relationships and whether or not you are to blame.

First a quick update:

“Expecting Unconditional Love is dangerous for relationships”
If I expect you to love me unconditionally, then I must do the same and love you unconditionally – no matter what you do or how you treat me. Emotional Mojo TV show hosts Michelle Yarn, Jada Jackson, Tara Gidus and I discuss unconditional love and its impact on relationships. I also  argue that humans can’t truly express unconditional love because they are imperfect., Watch the TV interview here.

“A personal recommendation”
I have found The Mega Way shakes to be a great meal replacement – the perfect blend of greens and protein – natural, lightly spicy and delicious. The creator, Brigitte Britton, a nutritionist, author and chef, is a friend who demonstrates love, dedication and personal attention to each and every one of her clients. Her sincere and genuine interest, guidance and insights are extremely valuable and life-changing. Note: there is no financial reward for me by endorsing her products. Check it out here.

Now, let’s talk about abusive relationships and whether or not you are to blame.

When one mentions the word “abuse” in the context of a relationship, the first thing that comes to mind is physical or sexual abuse. However, abuse can take many forms.

Abuse refers to any treatment of another person which causes them harm – mental, physical, sexual or emotional. Thus, abuse can occur without any physical contact. For example, a parent can abuse a child by starving, feeding him/her unhealthy food or by overfeeding him/her. A husband or wife can bully each other and abuse each other with degrading words, constant criticism, judgment, intense emotional outbursts, or withholding love, affection or sex.

With the exception of physical abuse which is often very obvious (i.e. battered spouse syndrome) abuse can take so many forms that it can be quite insidious until it finally controls and emotionally traps the victim. Read my article “Criticism & bullying destroys love and relationships”.

The insidious form of abuse is often the most common form of abuse in adult relationships and marriages. Based on working with clients, women report physical abuse while men report insidious abuse by their female partners i.e. emotional and verbal abuse – such as a woman who can never find good in her husband, constantly criticizes him, puts him down, treats him like an idiot – for her nothing is ever good enough, and she can never be pleased.  Also read my article “How stupid are men?”

Before considering how to handle self-blame over an abusive relationship (when you are the victim), read my article, “Falling in love with abusers” to clearly understand the reasons people get emotionally trapped and controlled by the abuser in an abusive relationship.

It is extremely common that a victim of abuse will blame him/herself for the abuse.

Here are 7 common forms of warped thinking by victims of abuse:

1. It’s my fault
This is the most common and most destructive belief that victims of abuse experience: ‘If I can do better or be better or attain more stuff and more success, then he/she will be happy.’ This place of weakness is driven by the belief that you can control or change the person. Wrong. You cannot change anyone except yourself. Your partner can change if he or she wants, and, if he/she chooses to get the necessary help.

2. I can rescue them
This is similar to the first belief of “It’s my fault that this person is unhappy, angry, violent, miserable, unsatisfied, etc.” However, if you believe you can rescue the abuser, ask yourself why you have chosen someone whom you want to save. Do you believe your only value and worth comes when you can rescue a lost, injured or angry person? For how long have you been trying to rescue the abuser and others before him/her?

3. He/she can make me happy – my source of happiness
Any time and every time we choose to believe or expect that someone else can make us happy or is our only source of happiness, we lose all of our power (influence over our self, ability to make choices and decisions which are in our best interests.) When you choose to believe he/she is your fountain of happiness, he/she will control you and you truly become a victim – dependent on them for the way you will feel and the way you will act and behave.

4. Love can conquer everything and anything
This belief makes beautiful poetry and songs but doesn’t work in real life. (Note, here I am referring to adult relationships; a child adopted by loving parents can transform by receiving love, care, nurturing and protection.) Yes, love can be soothing and healing but that doesn’t mean that your love can heal the wounds of an abuser who needs to heal the mental, emotional, psychological and possibly neurological problems. Also, understand that an abuser is not open to receiving love, doesn’t believe he/she deserves love or simply doesn’t know how to love. Beware that this belief that ‘love can conquer anything’ is a trap because if you are expressing love and the abuser still doesn’t change, then your belief becomes compounded with the beliefs “It’s my fault” and “I can rescue them.” In turn, your happiness becomes dependent on them and you will feel progressively more inadequate because they are not changing and are still being abusive.

5. But she tells me she loves me
Words are powerful but never more honest than actions. It is a pattern by abusers to make promises they will never fulfill, to say “But I love you” or even to apologize for their abuse after the fact. Love is a meaningless word unless it is accompanied by action – if the abuser loves you, he/she will get help.

6. He/she can change
True, everyone can change – at least to some extent. But that does not imply that the abuser wants to change or is willing to do what is required to change. Again, many abusers (like addicts) will promise to change but will do nothing to make it happen. The abuser may also promise to change but fail to do anything to change.

7. I can’t escape – I am emotionally trapped
The longer you are in an abusive relationship, the harder it is to escape. It is true that the emotional bonds and chains can be crippling. But know that you can escape; you can survive and you can find love and happiness in a healthy relationship. Being in an abusive relationship destroys one’s self-esteem, self-image and self-confidence – the result of the above forms of warped thinking and the emotional dependence on the abuser.

The first step to healing from an abusive relationship is to get out of it. The second step is awareness of yourself as well as the other person. As you gain insight you will learn that you are not responsible for a person who is abusive; you did not create them – even if you triggered some of their behavior.

Remember and learn this principle: “I understand that the way others choose to respond to me is about them.”

Finally, a YouTube subscriber to my channel, “Julesea” wrote about my video of 5 Steps to forgiving yourself, check it out.“Patrick, this is so true, what are you trying to say. I have bought one of your product – How to get over it – and it gave me real good understanding of forgiveness issue, and mainly, how to be truly free and happy again. Love it, it did give me a life, I was not hoping I could have again. We all just have to constantly learn to be a better than we use to be:). Thank you”.

Become emotionally free and clear; use my “Get Over It package”.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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