“What’s wrong with me?”

by Annie Kaszina on November 10, 2010

There comes a point in every abusive relationship when you know you should get out. 

Your abusive partner is making you miserable, you know the relationship is all wrong and, as far as you can see, your life has stopped dead… 

But still you stay. 

We’ve all done it.  

The little voice of intuition told me my marriage was over about 6 weeks in, but that didn’t stop me staying for some 20 years. 

We know we should leave, but we don’t. 

Instead, we ask ourselves: 

“What’s wrong with me?” 

And we come up with a load of answers – all of them wrong… 

But we stay, and we keep on asking the same old question: “What’s wrong with me?” 

So, what is wrong with you?  

What was wrong with me? 

Try this one on for size: 

You were brought up to be “nice”.  You were brought up to be nice: your role was to please other people and delay gratification.  The idea of being rewarded by pleasure now was programmed out of you.  

You were taught what you had to do for others.  You weren’t taught that other people had a duty to reciprocate. 

Still less were you taught to select your friends, and partner, only from those people who did meet your kindness with kindness, your thoughtfulness with thoughtfulness, your selflessness with selflessness.  

I’ve noticed that whenever I talk with abused women about selflessness in a partner, it raises a wry smile of disbelief. 

“Could selflessness possibly be a two-way street?” 

So, let’s do a quick reality check: 

Because you haven’t experienced it, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist

Because you have experienced a load of selfish, hurtful, destructive behaviour, that doesn’t make selfish, hurtful, destructive behaviour the norm.  And it certainly doesn’t make it acceptable. 

It’s been normal for your abusive husband.  

It may have been normal in your family of origin. 

Being on the receiving end of abusive treatment has become normal for you.  

It’s been programmed into you for so long that you have developed an abused persona. 

That persona is not who you truly are. 

It puts me in mind of the story of the lion who thought he was a sheep.  If you don’t know already know that story, you can read it here:  

You’re not a sheep.  

You are actually a lioness. 

Maybe it’s not time for you to leave the grassy valley, yet.  Maybe, you don’t feel you have the strength to climb the mountain, yet.  

Although, if you realized who you truly are, that mountain would draw you to it. 

But one thing you can do right now: 

You can find better answers to that question: “What’s wrong with me?” 

Your programming is wrong – and once you make the decision to change it, you’ll be amazed to see yourself grow into your true stature. 

That’s all that’s ‘wrong’ with you. 

Oh, and the question is a poor one.  

So, you don’t feel like heading off the mountain just now.  That’s okay, Leonie <g>. 

But please, please, change the question.  

Ask yourself not what’s wrong with you – you already know the answer to that: your programming is out, at the moment.  Normally, when that happens, you get the programming – or the software – sorted out, you don’t just give up on the hardware.  Do you? 

Here are a couple of questions to help you start reprogramming the software: 

  • What is wrong with him, that he always finds fault?
  • What is wrong with the situation that needs to change?


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