Do feel like you are thriving in your relationship? Some people don’t realise that they are in a one-sided relationship where their rights as a human being are abused. They don’t always consciously notice that they are being manipulated, controlled and used for the purpose of pleasing their partner. An abusive partner can be male or female and abuse can be sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse.
Are All Your Relationships Abusive?
Some people just seem to attract people who abuse them. They may have escaped one abusive relationship only to find the next relationship also brings abuse too. Psychologists have recognised that some people unconsciously choose partners who will abuse them because that is the only form of attention they have been used to. Others would rather endure an abusive relationship than end it because to leave it brings other anxieties such as fear of loneliness (eg. I’ll never find anyone at my age), financial difficulty (eg where would I live), shame (eg. what would my friends say) or other stresses that might make the abuse seem the easier option.
Tell-tale Signs of an Abusive Relationship
There are signs that can indicate abuse in a relationship. This list is not exhaustive give an idea:-
1. Your partner is excessively jealous and possessive and will accuse you of betraying them or not loving them enough. They will constantly check on your whereabouts and what you are doing almost to the point of interrogation. They may even monitor your internet and mobile phone activity
2. Your partner manipulates your existing relationships and attempts to cut you off from anyone that might criticise them or encourage you to have your freedom
3. Your partner never takes responsibility for anything unless it is a success. If things fail it is your fault or they blame other people or situations.
4. Your partner’s emotions are made your responsibility. So that if they become angry, sad or stressed it is your fault
5. Your partner makes all the important decisions and doesn’t discuss these with you. You are expected to agree with these decisions unquestionably.
6. Your partner wants their needs met by you and others and never pays any heed to your needs unless it is a manipulation to get their needs met (eg. I did that for you therefore you must do this for me)
7. Your partner may expect you to adhere to rules that they do not follow themselves. They may have been unfaithful but expect you to be faithful.
8. Your partner will accuse you of being unreasonable and yet be unreasonable themselves.
9. Your partner will hide all of the above and often be charming and agreeable with everyone else except you. You will feel trapped in the relationship because everyone else will believe their smoke-screen of being wonderful and how could you contemplate leaving such a wonderful person?
These are probably the most obvious elements of an abusive relationship. Yet any relationship can have elements of abuse that are detrimental to the health of the relationship. Most of us “turn up” to relationships that form as we go along and as the relationship matures.
What Happens to a Relationship?
Rarely does someone begin a relationship understandably with a list of do’s and don’ts about what they like. Rules in a relationship may form in verbal communications (eg. I don’t like it when you… ) and they can form in what we perceive through interactions (eg. partner looked angry when I… ). They can even be historical rules that are brought to the relationship from childhood and observing your parents relationship or from past intimate relationships.
We rarely sit down and consider how our relationships run and have become. This is a pity because it is only through talking about our personal relationship ( or other wider relationships) can we address unspoken issues that, if not resolved can lead to resentment, betrayal, depression and ultimately the ending of the relationship.
Abuse and What it Does to You
Feeling used, abused and disrespected in a relationship eventually leads to low self-esteem and low self worth for anyone. If you feel like you have no status and no respect in your relationship than you won’t get it by acting like a door mat. If you’re always being criticised and never praised, how can you feel good in your relationship? If you’re always giving but never receiving you will find it unsustainable.
Everyone deserves a happy life and for many people, being in a relationship is one of the main pillars of happiness and fulfilment in life. Staying in an unhappy relationship drains your energy, muddles your life purpose and saps your will and if you’re not careful can waste many years of your life.
It’s Time to Find You Again
If you’ve lost yourself in your relationship along with your sense of purpose and don’t know quite which way to turn, this can be a sign that you are no longer thriving. It doesn’t mean that the relationship needs to end but on the other hand sometimes it is the best for all concerned.
Even being free of an abusive relationship can leave you with feelings that cause you doubts about ever finding happiness. Maybe you are in a loving relationship but are unable to let go of insecurities that a past unhealthy relationship has left you with.
Finding Your Authentic Self
What can really make a difference and empower you to make informed choices is to find your ” authentic self ” again. This is the self that you put away and that was rejected by others and has felt crushed, never to come out for fear of being laughed at, teased, bullied and rejected again. Let’s face it, how can you really feel loved if you hide away your authentic self and only present to the world the mask of acceptability you have been manipulated into creating?
Whilst emotions such as sadness and anxiety are a part of living and as much as happiness and joy are, they don’t have to dominate your every moment. Wouldn’t you rather live and thrive with the energy, enthusiasm and verve that goes hand-in-hand with a healthy purposeful life?
EMSRP and Healthy Relationships
There is no secret to living a happy and thriving life. It begins with being honest with yourself, who you are and what your needs are. EMSRP – Emerging Meta-Schematic Repatterning provides a series of simple steps that help you flourish in all your authenticity. It gets you to map what is right for you and then check this against your relationships to be able to make informed choices. It helps to set you free to live and thrive in life.