Truth = Soul Searching
Date: 7/16/2011 7:48:16 AM ( 10 y ) ... viewed 5799 times
For me, one of the most difficult steps to take on my healing path was the acceptance of "Truth." Truth refers to fact, regardless of perception, fault, or blame. Truth quite simply just "is." Truth isn't typically warm and fuzzy, comfortable, flattering, or necessarily positive, and this is where I see most people getting mired down in their exit and recovery. Accepting Truth means putting aside my ego and calling a spade a spade, whether I want to, or not.
I had to look back down my path of near-destruction and pinpoint my actions, choices, decisions, and behaviors that contributed to the climate of abuse that the former abuser felt comfortable cultivating. I didn't like the person that I saw - I was selfish to a large degree, over-indulgent on many levels, confused about what "love" should be, and desperate for acceptance (among many other things). Combine these defects with someone who has no remorse, and fully intends to damage others, and the environment of domestic violence and abuse will flourish.
Of the people that I've worked with over the years, very few of them were emotionally secure when they met their abusers. Most people who are emotionally secure will not fall for excessive flattery or sexua| attention - typical victims of domestic violence and abuse are starved for attention, acceptance, confuse sex with love, and are easily drawn into a relationship that promises everything that they've ever desired, on the surface. Yes, there are glaring "red flags" that victims overlook because they really, really don't want to acknowledge the ugly Truth that they've chosen an absolute loser. Additionally, it is imperative to understand that abusive people don't necessarily fall into the category of spouse or domestic partner. Most victims of domestic violence have, at some point in their lives, been exposed to an abusive environment, themselves, and the choice of another abuser as a partner follows a pattern that can often be defined and dismantled by a strong professional counselor. Some typical signs of an abusive relationship are (AF stands for "Authority Figure"):
1. AF's are the masters of dependents.
2. AF's alone decide what is right and wrong,, good/bad and "appropriate" and "inappropriate"
3. They alone make up the definitions, the rules, and the "consequences" (i.e. punishment)
4. Dependents are held responsible for the AF's feelings (anger, disappointment, embarrassment, humiliation, happiness and unhappiness)
5. The AF is only responsible and accountable for good things that happen, never the bad ones. Thus the AF' appears to always be in the right and when things go wrong, the dependent is always blamed and feels responsible and guilty.
6. The AF tries to exercise total control of the dependent by controlling his thoughts, feelings and behavior. Whenever this control is not absolute, the AF feels threatened.
7. The dependent's individuality is minimized as much as possible by the AF.
8. The AF creates an intricate system of punishments and rewards which rob the dependent of any sense of inner direction and esteem.
9. The following freedoms listed by Virginia Satire are denied to the dependent as much as possible:
The freedom to perceive
To think and interpret
To want, need, and chose
10. The AF never (or rarely) admits mistakes or apologizes.
11. All of the above take place in a way which does not expose the AF's true motives and none of this is openly talked about. No "back talk" is allowed
The Truth is that victims see the signs above in part, at the very least, and typically in total as patterns of behavior of their abusers. The abuser excuses all of the above with random, well-rehearsed, and effective commentaries about his/her childhood and victimization. The Truth is that victims see these behaviors and set aside common sense and personal safety for a fantasy that their abusers project. I certainly did, and all Survivors that I've worked with did, as well.
For whatever reason, I chose to ignore the Truth and plow onward with someone who should have been avoided. Had I been an emotionally secure and mature individual, I don't think that I would have gone on with the former abuser. But, additionally, my level of empathy was hyper and he honed in on this to bait, lure, and snag his quarry. I bit at it and took it hook, line, and sinker, and nearly paid for my stupidity with my life. My abusive environment was cultivated by an abuser who wanted to dominate, own, and destroy in that order. What he didn't have, himself, he intended to target, obtain, and wreck in another human being, whether it was compassion, empathy, financial stability, respect, social status, or any other positive attribute. A report nails my former environment squarely on the proverbial head:
~Mistakes were concealed, regardless of how insignificant they might have been
~People were under constant stress - immediate and extended family, friends, coworkers, etc.
~Needs were frustrated, denied, and bartered through the abuser's demands
~Fear dominated every decision and action
~Power was based on fear, not respect
~Information was withheld and distorted, especially with regard to personal history, financial stability, etc.
~Information flow was primarily from top down - the abuser was in control of nearly all information
~Behavior was forced; does not come naturally - the abuser mimics what he/she perceives as "normal" with actual normal behaviors being distorted, exaggerated, or obviously inappropriate
~Conflicts and problems were blamed on my "poor attitudes" and "character flaws."
If you feel that you're involved in an abusive relationship, understand these Truths: things will not improve - they just won't. No matter what the abuser has promised, it will never be realized. He/she will never seek counseling or benefit from it if they actually attend a couple of sessions. He/she will not stop having affairs - sex is a powerful factor in an abuser's arsenal of control and is viewed as a means to an end, rather than a beautiful byproduct of a healthy relationship. The finances will always be dubious - financial control keeps victims in their place, literally, and no amount of pleading and reasoning will cause an abuser to live within the financial means of the relationship.
Truth - abusers harm because they can, and because the intend to. Truth - victims remain because they have been dehumanized and reprogrammed to believe that they don't deserve anything better. Truth - victims can evolve into Survivors and engage in the hard work to eliminate any chance of choosing an abusive loser, in the future, and disallow an abuser from targeting them as a victim. Truth - to exit is difficult, especially with children, but it can be successful, safe, and accomplished with the help of people who understand the dynamics of an abusive relationship and have resources available to assist victims.
The following websites have one thing in common: a list of symptoms of an abusive relationship which are consistent from source to source. Review the symptoms, then ask yourself if you are tolerating any of the listed behaviors.
If you are living with abusive behaviors, please, check out one, or more, of the following links that will help you make a safe, wise, and healthy decision for yourself, and for any children who are involved:
For men who are victims, the stigma associated with domestic violence and abuse is silent - there is very little discussion about men who are victimized by women, and this epidemic is growing faster than any other demographic of domestic violence. Here are links for male victims of abuse:
The Truth is this: we don't have to live in an abusive environment, regardless of what obstacles we perceive are forcing us to remain. There are options available, and once we have defined our situations as abusive, it then becomes a choice to remain or to exit. If we choose to exit, there is a long, challenging journey to healing for Survivors that brings us to emotional maturity and stability. If we remain, we will be crushed physically, and emotionally, and never evolve into what we were meant to be.
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