When You Continually Find Yourself in Abusive Relationships
Question from a reader:
The key to this is establishing healthy boundaries.
“I feel very much like I live feeling everyone is part of myself. However I seem to always have abusive people involved in my life. How can I improve my situation? So far only my faith in God is keeping me strong but there are only so many roads we can travel.”
I’ve written about this before, but for those of us who grew up in abusive environments, abusive behavior is normalized. We imprint on it and we learned that this is what love looks and feels like.
This imprinting sort of numbs you to boundary violations. The little subtle things that people with healthy boundaries would immediately notice as a red flag, we completely gloss over. So we don’t recognize the abusive behavior until it becomes severe enough to trigger our alarm system, and we have a way of explaining away (self gaslighting) the smaller ones.
In a lot of cases, our need for validation from another is stronger than our own sense of self-preservation (be it physical or emotional). You have to sort of re-calibrate all of that internally so you stop walking into abuse traps that would be obvious to others, but not so much to you.
Also, we just live in a sick society full of abusive behavior. It’s like a game of Minesweeper: you’re going to run into one eventually. Learning those red flags will help you navigate that.
And, once again, the burden of change is often on those of us who have been abused–without us speaking up, abusers continue to do what they do.
It truly, honestly sucks.
It’s also why bystanders need to start speaking up, because the emotional burden of having to be your own savior AND everyone else’s is exhausting.
If any of your relationships are mentally, emotionally or physically abusive, you need to remove yourself from that situation immediately and put as much space between you and that person as possible. Sometimes that means limited contact, other times it means going completely silent.
If you need someone to talk to and you aren’t sure what to do, call the most appropriate abuse hotline to your situation.
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