“It’s only me!”

by Annie Kaszina on September 11, 2012

Last week we looked at why you stayed in an emotionally abusive relationship when it went off track.  It happened, not least, because you lacked an internal compass.  

What happened when your emotionally abusive relationship started heading south, at speed?  

Because you didn’t have an internal compass, or sense of direction, you clung to the vain hope that it was just taking a detour: it would – you hoped – end up back on track, further down the line. 

The train driver (your abusive partner) seemed quite clear about what he was doing.  As the person in charge of the train, your abusive partner was too busy, and too (self-)important to have the time to deal pleasantly with your concerns.  He simply roped you into doing whatever he felt necessary by barking orders at you. 

And, of course, you complied. 

You may have done a bit of complaining, and challenging but, still, when push came to shove –   metaphorically and/or physically –  you complied.  More correctly, you obeyed.  

It’s worth pointing out that this was one of those points when you and your abusive partner had entirely different interpretations of what was really going on.  

From your point of view, you registered a valid protest: it wasn’t your fault if he wasn’t listening.  

From his point of view, you did a bit of moaning, and nagging, and complaining, and generally ”doing his head in’, which meant that he had to get angry with you, to bring you back into line.  After all, as the train driver, it was down to him to keep that train on the track.  

If he had to intimidate you into doing whatever he felt was necessary to keep that train chugging down that track, then so be it.  Disregarding your feelings felt right to him.  It got him the result he was looking for.  And, if you’ll allow me to drop into “coach jargon” for a moment, where your relationship is concerned, that man is seriously “results oriented”.  

What about you? 

How “results oriented” are you?  How focused are you on getting the result you want in the relationship? 

DISTINCTION TIME 

You very much want the result you want, no doubt about that.  BUT… how focused are you on getting that result?  We know your abusive partner is seriously “results oriented” because he will do whatever he needs to do to keep you down, and ensure the relationship works for him.  

The relationship works best for him when you are feeling small, and rejected, and worthless. 

We know you’re not really that results oriented because you’ve not been getting the results you want – and yet you’ve kept on doing what you’ve always done time and time again. Theoretically, at least, you know as well as I do that ‘if you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always gotten’.   

Sure, the relationship may have deteriorated over time, but my guess is, after the first few months of fantasy, when the… rubber hit the fan, so to speak, it wasn’t ever a true marriage of minds, spirits and souls.  

The whole soul-mate issue is for another ezine.  For now let’s stay with what happened when you realized that your abusive partner’s agenda was very different to yours. 

You built a story around it, didn’t you?  You built a story and you made his behaviour mean something about you.  

It sounds logical enough, I know.  If he’s behaving badly towards you, then it must mean something about you, mustn’t it? That’s the way emotionally abused women think.

My little dog Basil isn’t a Shih Tzu for nothing.  He was incredibly hard to house-train.  It took month after long, mucky month.  

I could have made it mean something about me.  There were a couple of times when I wobbled and actually did make it mean something about me.  Mop-fatigue pushed my buttons, and I told myself the pile of dood-doo on the floor was my fault.

It wasn’t. 

Of course, this isn’t really about the finer points of canine toilet-training.  Suffice it to say, the analogy holds true for your partner’s behaviour.  The emotional mess he deposited in your life is all about his lack of emotional continence, not your worth.  

He didn’t do it because it was “only you”.  He did it because he was “only him”, and he treated  his relationship more like a public convenience than, say, a temple.  

You’ve been telling yourself the “only me” story for way too long.  You’ve been living the “only me” lifestyle for way too long.  Some women tell me about their “only me” lifestyle, and complain about it bitterly…  And then they choose – because it always is a choice – not to do anything about it.  Because they’re still working for, and hoping for, their Unsung Martyr badge.  

Don’t let that be you. 

Abraham Maslow said: “If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you’ll probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”

You’d better believe it. 

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