This is a hard topic for me since I was in an abusive relationship for many years. It has affected my life in so many ways. My thinking is distorted in every way possible. I made light of what was going on in my choices as well as justified why this was happening to me. It took me over 30 years to finally let go. This was an on and off relationship but bottom line is that I kept going back. I knew the last time I took him back I made a mental decision that if I saw the signs of abuse in any shape and form I will leave. What made this time different was I had new tools that helped build my strength. Before the last time taking him back I walked into an Al-anon meeting. And over time I learned so much about me and my choices, and how this abuse has affected my thinking and decisions. It definitely was not overnight. But I was able to find the strength to stick with my decision and leave when I saw signs.
Abuse can take different shapes not just physical but verbal. I think verbal is just as damaging because it distorts your thinking, it can emotionally destroy us. I find myself still drawn to negative people. I am noticing patterns that I do not like and now need to make decisions on where to go from here.
- Do you hang out with someone that is constantly negative?
- Do you notice that they put you down or others around them?
- Do they blame you when things are not going their way?
- Do they control everything?
- Is it their way only?
- Are you hesitant to give your comments or suggestions because they will shoot it down?
- Do they make fun of you, embarrass you or others? Do they belittle you and your choices?
- Have you heard this before? It is all your fault!
- Do they treat you like a piece of crap?
Bottom line verbal abuse can tear a person down emotionally. If you are in this type of relationship than you need to seek help. If you have a friend that is abusive to you but worst to their family member than how do you you address this? I find myself in this situation.
Abuse takes so many shapes. It may be easier to walk away from friends that treat you with disrespect. But why do we not walk away? That is a bigger question.
In my life I go into the justifying again. I have one friend that I think this person is a good person, has a big heart but has so much anger. They to were affected by abuse. How can I turn my back from them? I know their pain? However, If they do not seek help, nor accept some of the blame then how do you get them to see the light? Unfortunately in my experience you cannot. You cannot control them or change them. You can offer advice but if they do not own their part then it is going to get no where quick.
Not everyone will be open to Al-anon or seeking out help. For years friends and family ask me why do you still go to Al-anon when you are not living with the alcoholic anymore. I have asked myself the same thing. Al-anon has helped me so much in the past ten years. Now I use the same tools in all my other parts of my daily life. It helps me think twice before speaking. Still work in progress because I am so not perfect. I so do not practice it every second of my day. I don’t want to treat others the way an abuser does, and I want to change my perspective. Through the tools given and the stories I hear it keeps me focused on how I want to be treated and how I want others to treat me. So if I reach out and own my part in this life of dysfunction then maybe there is hope for me and my family.
Change the thinking change the results.
The hardest part is taking the first step and admit our part in this and our wrong doings. A whole new can of worms appear. We all play a part in our lives, we just need to identify what is our part and how/why we continue to play that role.
If you have a friend who shows these signs then you need to ask yourself, “why do I want to continue this relationship?” and if you do not have a good enough answer than you have to walk away. Let go and move on. The goal in my life is too start to heal.
How can I heal if I continue to hold onto dysfunction? How do I heal if I allow others to treat me with disrespect? How do I heal if I refuse to let go of wanting to fix everyone?
My first step is accepting that I cannot change others only myself and that I deserve to be treated with respect. We all do.
I truly believe the road to recovery is a lifetime of speed bumps, turns, obstacles and surprises. But the only way to get on that road and start to heal for me is to let go of negativity. Open my world to positive people. Be there for myself and others who are willing to get help. That is a new process for me that I am taking into the new year and the new decade.
If you have a friend or family member who show the signs, reach out and get help for yourself. If we decide to stay in the relationship than getting help from others is crucial to our sanity. Please know that you are not alone. So many people are affected by others. You deserve to be happy. We only live once you just have to take the first step to make the change. Reach out to someone you can trust. Be there for others who ask.