Self Help and Spiritual Principles that Don’t Work in an Abusive Relationship
- Work on your self esteem – No matter how much you work on your self esteem and read self help books, know that being in an abusive, hurtful and toxic relationship is likely what has caused your low self esteem. It is difficult to have healthy esteem when you are being belittled, disrespected, spoken down to, told you’re crazy, “too sensitive”, “too ______” and treated like you don’t matter every day. Yes, it’s true that someone who has healthy self esteem would be more likely to run at the first sign of disrespectful behavior, let alone allow someone who mistreats her into her life, but there is always exceptions. Women of all walks of life get caught up in abusive relationships. Once you fall in love and are involved, it can be more difficult to leave. Even when you are being mistreated. And the longer this goes on, the more your sense of self is lost.
- Everyone is a mirror of your disowned parts -Unless you yourself are exhibiting all of the behaviors and treatment you are receiving on a daily basis, you can let go of this. If you are willing to look at yourself, change any behaviors you can see that you don’t like within yourself, and can ask yourself “am I the abusive one”? you can be pretty sure you are not the culprit. While reactive abuse is a real thing, and perhaps how you are being treated day in and day out causes you to act in ways you normally wouldn’t (you are human and are being subjected to crazy making behavior after all). Abusive people often will not even consider inquiring within in a genuine way, they avoid any introspection, or looking at themselves because they are never the problem. You are.
- Nobody can make you feel any way unless you allow it – If someone is abusing you, and crushing your soul with how they are treating you, it is going to hurt. It i going to have an impact. Trying to justify abuse by telling yourself you are allowing it to make you feel a certain way is denial of your true emotions and experience. It is better to allow yourself to feel what you feel, and get some professional support from a therapist that understands abusive dynamics. I cover this more in my 2 Part Series
- Focus on Gratitude – You can focus on gratitude all day long. But there is a point to which this practice and keep you stuck in denial if you are using this to avoid looking at your reality. Yes, studies shoe people who have a gratitude practice are happier, healthier, and are less depressed as a whole, so by all means use this as a tool. But don’t use it to bypass what is really going on.
- Focus on what is working in your life and relationship, rather than what isn’t – Similar to #4. I agree we need to put the focus where we want the energy to flow. And where intention goes, energy flows. So get out a pen and paper and journal your dream life, your dream partner and relationship, be grateful he helps out around the house, and that he makes your morning coffee if you feel that way. But never overlook abuse because, make no mistake, your health, mental health and well being is at stake. You need to look at reality in order to have any hope of changing your situation, while focusing on what it is you truly want.
- Treat your depression/mental health imbalances, and the relationship will improve – Many women who are depressed, have anxiety, and panic attacks don’t realize it is because of the pervasive, ongoing , unrelenting daily chronic tension, stress and strain they are under in their relationship with an abusive partner. Before you go fill that antidepressant prescription, get a full picture of what is really going on in your marriage, and take steps to create change.
- Take nothing personally – Don Miguel Ruiz in the 4 Agreements (a great little book) tells us to take nothing personally, everyone is living their own dream, based on their own beliefs, feelings and opinions, and how others behave never has anything to do with us. He says that we won’t feel we are stupid, even if someone calls us stupid, unless we believe we are stupid on some level. It is also true with abusive people, they are definitely living life from their very limited views and tainted lens. However, to brush off someones chronically abusive behavior will not change the dynamic. The only one who can change this dynamic is the abusive partner. Definitely practice self loving talk, detach from the other persons views of you, and know intellectually it isn’t about you, but never let this keep you in a situation that is harming you. You can’t meditate, medicate or energy clear away abuse. It doesn’t work like that.
- We are all One. Send Love and light, forgive – You do not have to forgive someone who is abusing you or who has abused you. Forgiveness is always for your freedom and inner peace, however premature forgiveness can leave you allowing for too much, tolerating and enduring too much, and giving too many chances at your own expense. You can have compassion for his stress, bad childhood, and how is is really a good person underneath it all, doesn’t mean what he says, or isn’t intending to hurt you, but you must look at reality. Know that this can be taken too far. Use your own discernment, and what feels best for you. Your willingness to forgive and see the good is what makes you a beautiful soul, but protect yourself and this part of you fiercely. Forgive only when you are ready.
- Offer Unconditional love – The ideas we hear about unconditional love are reserved for a mothers love, I am convinced. As a Mom of 3, this is the only thing I can draw upon to say that unconditional love actually exists. Even when I have been on the receiving end of “I hate you! you’re the worst Mom ever”, I can later cuddle, hug and pour love into my child and feel that love come alive again. Even if it feels like it disappears briefly when they are misbehaving, it is always there. You do not, however, have to have unconditional love for a grown adult who chooses to abuse and hurt you.
- Accept others for who they are, let go of expectations – If you are being abused, have been on the receiving end constant of gaslighting, neglect, abandonment, emotional abuse, stonewalling, psychological or financial abuse, it makes no sense to accept this behavior, and let go of your expectations. In this case, your expectations are way too low. There is never any valid reason to accept this kind of treatment, and you do not have to accept or expect any less than you truly deserve in a relationship.
- You attract everything that comes into your experience- We are not attracted to an abusive person. We are attracted to the good feelings and the connection we believe we have with this person in the beginning. Often it’s women who are educated, talented, attractive, smart, empathetic, compassionate, intelligent, and caring people that end up in an abusive relationship. To say a woman attracted the abuse into her reality can trigger shame, and leave her feeling like she is to blame. If you are in this situation I want to highlight, you are not responsible and it is not your fault. The only responsibility you have in this dynamic is how/if you choose to participate in it or if you choose to stay in it, or, if you decide to leave. Use this energy trying to figure out how you attracted this person into your life, and put it toward your growth and self healing, and becoming the woman you want to be that would never ever tolerate disrespect, a sharp tongue, or unkind word from her partner or anyone else. Become her, starting today.
Remember taking care of your health includes your emotional and psychological health, and talking to someone who gets it is one of the most important things you can do toward self healing and figuring out what you are going to do about your relationship.
I am no going to tell you to leave (unless you are in physical danger and need to get to safety), unfortunately this tends to be the go-to advice you will hear all too often, but if there is enough left between you to want to put the work in, there is always hope. But it starts with you taking a stand and getting clear on the issues and what you want.
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