I don’t really belong to the group of abused women

by Annie Kaszina on September 2, 2007

"Dear Annie,

I very recently (last week) "ended" an emotionally abusive relationship. As
I struggle to recover, I turned to Google for help and stumbled upon your
blog. I have found your words very wise and inspiring , and that is why I am
writing this email. I will definitely spend the next few days reading most
if not all of your posts, but I know already that these posts are targeted
towards the major group of emotionally abused women, of which I am not a
part.   In other words, I am hoping that perhaps you are able to offer me
some advice that you haven’t offered on your blog."

You too, dear D.!  How well I remember my first encounter with a group of abused women.  I remember sitting there and thinking: "My situation is different.  I am not like you." 

My situation was different, as regards the details, certainly.  But the bare bones of the situation were pretty much interchangeable. 

So my first question to you is this: how do you
know you are not a part of the major group of emotionally abused women?  What
characterizes them?  And what sets you apart?

Of course, a lot of women
who have found themselves in abusive relationships believe the are not part of
the major group.  It may be because we are bright, or middle class, or feisty,
or financially independent or, you choose…  The list goes on and
on.

I’d be more interested in what you share with the majority of abused
women.  And you share so much:
your anger,

your loss of self-worth
your fear of losing a good thing
(which seems to balance out, if not outweigh, the belief that you deserve more)
your attractiveness,
the emotional vulnerability that
makes you susceptible to his view of relationships and ‘the real
world’
the desire to give him ‘one more
chance’
your ‘hopium
addiction’…
 
Can he change?  I don’t have a crystal ball,
but I certainly won’t be putting my money on it. 
 
Nor can I grasp what is lovable and special
about him.  (Although I have a very clear picture of what made the relationship
so painful and destructive.)
 
So here’s the thing: for your relationship to work
in the future, you both have a great deal of individual healing to do before you
can possibly support each other in a constructive way.  The chance of helping
each other along your healing path is one of those charming myths that Hollywood
loves: two broken people finding their way to wholeness together is pure
celluloid, IMHO.  You both have huge amounts of baggage and until you both clear
that baggage you will continue to stumble over it, bruising your head and your
heart.
 
You both need to do your healing, as
individuals
.  When you have done that, separately, if you still want to be
together, then great.  You will come together as different people to the people
you currently are.
 
And healing takes the time it takes.  As you
already know, an abusive relationship undermines your beliefs and values, and
subverts your whole view of the world.  Abused women need to test and replace
each abusive belief, often one belief at a time.
 
That doesn’t mean that healing is a drag.  Healing
can be a delightful, joyous experience.  But it is ongoing.  The abused women
who fail tend to be those who want to finish their journey and get on with their
life fast.  They are the ones who fall back into the same pattern.
 
Your life now is that healing journey.  You can use
it to empower and educate others.  You can use it to enrich your view of the
world.  You can use it to grow into the wonderful, wise, strong, loving woman
you truly are. 
 
But cast your pearls before a swine one more time
and you will just become a pale shadow of yourself.
 
So, I wish you well.  You might not like what you
read and I can’t blame you if you don’t.  Your case may be the
exception to the rule.  It may, but statistically speaking, it probably
isn’t.  If I am right and you opt for healing yourselves separately and then
coming together if you still want to, you miss out on the comfort of the quick
fix and both grow your lives.  Or you could just prove me wrong.  If you do so,
then I would love to hear your happy ending.  (In all my years of doing this
work, I haven’t heard one yet.)
 
As regards your anger, it reminds me of the title
of a book by Karol Truman: "Feelings buried alive never die".
 
Good luck,
 
Annie
 
 

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