How to Stop Abuse

Through a Puppy's EyesA reader commented that she’d left an abusive long term relationship then met someone new.  Now she hoped he might be her twin flame, but also worried that this might again turn into an abusive situation.

On the topic of worry, I found this quote:

“Worrying is a form of praying for what you don’t want. So stop worrying!”
Bhagavan Das

On the topic of abuse, I should have said, “Don’t get me started.”

In my opinion, abuse is what’s wrong with much of the world. When humans finally rise above abuse then all anxiety, depression, suicides, poverty, and even war will likely halt. Pollution, global warming, and the extinction of species will cease. Individuals, corporations, governments and even countries regularly engage in abusive thoughts, words and actions against others, and themselves. However, change starts from within so here’s what I’ve learned about abusive situations involving individuals.

It’s hard to see that abuse is happening when you’re in the middle of it. Congratulations to anyone who has escaped from an abusive relationship because it’s difficult. Many people never leave. Once free, people often return to abusive homes because of their programming, their emotional or financial dependence on the abuser, and the fear they’ll be dragged back to face more misery in the long run, or be killed if their hiding place is discovered. Abusive spouses become adept at making partners emotionally or financially dependent by discouraging independent activities like careers and hobbies outside the home and keeping their spouses house-bound.

People who have never experienced abuse wonder, “Why would any sane person enter into an abusive relationship in the first place?” The reason is simple. A child with controlling or abusive parents can become accustomed to negative patterns.  As an adult, they naturally attract a partner with the same negative patterns. When that partner turns out to be ten times angrier and more controlling, things get dangerous.

Children tend to feel responsible for their parents’ moods.  To alleviate feelings of guilt, kids will work extra hard to make their parents’ happy. Once the pattern of attempting to placate angry, miserable and abusive parents is established, children can find themselves repeating the same pattern in adult life.

Abusive people can be self-absorbed, demanding and energy draining.  Their victims become mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted trying to calm angry parents or a spouse.  However, they’re digging themselves into a deeper and deeper rut because NOTHING will calm an abusive person for long.

The abuser controls victims by keeping them on-edge with small and large doses of instability and volatility.  Living with an abusive parent or partner is like living with a highly active volcano that explodes when you least expect it, and then blames you for its eruptions.

RabbitsNoahGrayInitially, at the beginning of an abusive relationship, the pattern of negativity feels familiar and strangely comfortable. However, over time, as things inevitably escalate, life becomes increasingly tense, unhappy, or terrifying and dangerous.

I’ve found that abuse tends to be a well-kept family secret so you’ll never know who is being abused, unless someone risks their life confiding in you, you hear the screams, or tragedy strikes. Abusers dole out nasty punishments to their victims who learn quickly to “keep up appearances” in order to hide the reality of what’s happening in their home.

Abusers were mistreated as children and that is their model as adults. They existed in a world of criticism, accusations, and regular shocks to the system.  As children, their fragile self esteem was crushed.  As adults, they now seek power and control through a system of rewards and punishments.  The abuser seeks to acquire power and control over their victims because deep down inside, they personally feel powerless, insecure and terrified. Their inner child relives their scary childhood with the trauma replaying like a broken record in their subconscious mind.  As an adult, it controls their present day thoughts, words and actions without them realizing it.  Their rage is an unconscious act.

Abused children tend to recreate their unhappy households in their adult life. What made them miserable as children no longer exists but they manifest chaos in their current realty, and in the lives of all who tolerate, condone, and enable abusive behaviour.

Abusers feel they must control your every move in order to feel better about themselves or rise-up in the world. They become masters at lies, deception and secrecy. Abusers are brilliant at making you feel guilty about anything and everything. The assumption is that you’re the one who is making their life miserable so you must constantly “pay” for their weaknesses and mistakes.  Don’t be fooled by flowers, gifts and poetic apologies.  These excuse nothing.

While the abuser obsesses about trying to control their partner, they verbally and physically attack until their spouse eventually shuts down. Over time, victims of abuse learn to surrender quickly in the face of conflicts.  They learn to be quiet, say and do very little, for fear of setting-off another attack. Anything will trigger an attack because the abuse is not rational!! In the end, the abused victim becomes a shell of their former self as their personality retreats inward. I know some abuse victims who described finding themselves out-of-body when verbal, emotional and physical abuse became intolerable.

From the outside looking in, abusive behaviour can seem absurd, even comical. However, from the inside looking out, abuse is a perpetual nightmare that ends only when the victim or abuser seek help, the victim leaves, tragedy strikes, or there is outside intervention.

Abusive tyrants are sometimes considered saints by the outside world because they’re masters at keeping up appearances. They’ll only reveal their dark, brooding, troubled side to you, the kids and the dog. This is because they view you, their partner, as an extension of themselves. Every time you do something or say something to friends, family or neighbours, they feel threatened because they fear for their own reputation. They live in fear that you will do or say something stupid and this will cost them everything – their job, relationships or possessions. Abusers often believe that their spouse is an idiot because their self-esteem is so low, they rationalize that only an idiot would have picked them as a partner!

There’s hope for abuse victims:  One day, the victim might question why their life has become a miserable daily grind and ask themselves if they truly deserve the endless punishment. They might start looking for answers and begin to find them. They may get help from a friend, a family member, or a trained professional therapist, the police, and finally escape.  Hopefully, they’ll free themselves before the rut they dug of staying loyal to an abusive person becomes their own grave.

There’s hope for the abuser:  They may never admit it but deep down inside, abusers think of themselves as worthless. This was their programming as children so they overcompensate for low self-worth by attempting to dominate the only things they can conceivably control – their partner, their children, and the family pet. In truth, you generally can’t control life except to respond with love. However, since abusers never received real love as children, they have a lot of work to do before they begin to feel anything that’s even close to happiness. Until they learn to love themselves, abusive spouses can’t possibly love you, or anyone else but there’s always hope. When anyone works on healing their inner child, their whole world brightens and they can become wonderful people and achieve peace of mind.  Hypnosis is a powerful tool that helps to reprogram the subconscious mind, rewire the neural network, and shift self perception.  It can be life-changing.

Abusers know there’s something terribly wrong, but generally don’t understand what it is, why they constantly repeat patterns that are destructive, and how to change. They’ve spent their entire childhood building-up impenetrable walls to protect themselves from emotional and physical abuse so tears, sobs, or cries of help from a child or spouse fail to reach them.  Tears may only make them angrier. Recognize that anyone who intentionally causes another person or creature pain and suffering has been deeply wounded themselves. Some people have been intentionally programmed to inflict suffering without thinking about it. Former soldiers have gone public with statements that the mindless abuses of men, women and children during war are heinous, inhumane, and unacceptable.

self-confidenceMy advice to anyone who fears entering another abusive relationship:
Rather than focus on whether your next partner will be abusive, focus on rebuilding your self-confidence and stepping back into your magnificence. Become an expert on the topic of abuse!!!  Learn everything you can and make sure you understand why it happened to you and why you’ll be sure it won’t happen again. Teach others about the topic. One of the lessons of abuse is to learn self-love. How would YOU treat someone you really loved, such as a best friend? Let that be your new model. As soon as someone treats you poorly, that’s a clue there’s something wrong. As soon as they don’t seem to understand that your feelings have been wounded, that’s another clue. When someone acts out by criticizing you, complaining about you, or shouting at you, that’s a big clue to walk away as fast as possible!! When you can’t recognize and feel your own worth, others won’t either. Learn what it is to feel respected. SELF-LOVE is the key. When you learn to love yourself for being uniquely you, just because you were born, that is self love!!!  When you love and truly appreciate yourself then others will too. You won’t tolerate abuse because you’ll recognize it and make a choice to walk away before it goes any further. Also, you’ll find you won’t tolerate someone else treating another person or creature badly because you’ll feel so strongly about it.  With work, you’ll never attract another abusive relationship again.

Get distance from abusive situations before considering another relationship. Time heals and provides perspective. Learn everything there is to know about abuse. The “buck” stops with you, and no one else. When you truly love yourself, you start to love everyone else too, simply because they exist. That’s enlightenment, but don’t get me started…

I hope that helps.