Top 10 Excuses for Settling for an Abusive Relationship

by Annie Kaszina on September 18, 2012

1)     “It’s not all bad.”  Well, no!!  He’s too good at what he does not to know that every so often he has to play Mr Nice Guy.  But what’s the ratio of good to bad?  And what do  his mood swings do for your mental, emotional, and physical, health?

2)     “It’s better for the children.”  How do you know it’s better for the children?  It’s probably not a brilliant idea to ask them, but how about observing them?  How well do they actually get on with Mr Nasty?  And is the rest of their life hunky-dory?  Can you honestly say, hand on heart, that they don’t have problems and conflicts that could be a reflection, or manifestation, or your relationship issues?

3)     “Maybe I/we should give it another try.” What, precisely, do you mean by another try?  How will this try to be different from all the previous ones?  What are the rules of this new try? What will you do differently?  What is he prepared to do differently?  How will you know if this new try has worked, or not?  How much time are you prepared to commit to this new try?  And what will you do if this new try doesn’t work?

4)    “I’m worried he’ll turn nasty if I end it.”  Are you suggesting he’s seriously nice – or even nice enough – now?  Or do you think that standing in the cage with your own Lion King, chucking him pieces of flesh – your flesh – to keep him sweet… so to speak, is better than being savaged by him.  Not a lot of people could really tell the difference.  Happily, it seems you can see a difference. (And what a blessing it must be you can overlook Herr Lion’s dreadful halitosis, when you are up close and personal with him.)

5)     “It’s probably too late for me to change, now.”  This translates as, “I haven’t had much of a life for the last Heaven knows how long, so I might as well sign up for more of the same.”  I’ve yet to hear of anyone who would like to have written on their tomb: “I wish I’d spent more time in an abusive relationship.”  Change isn’t age-related, change is commitment related.  Of course, if you’re saying: “I’m not really willing to commit to change”, then change isn’t going to happen around you, in spite of you.

6)     “I don’t want to look like a failure.”  That really makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Other people’s opinions – not that what you look like is that important to them anyway – are more important than your quality of life.  Do you think those Other People will lie in bed at night and say: “I’m so glad %$firstname$% took my advice.  That makes me feel really good.”?  Or do you think they’ll be lying there thinking about the things that really matter to them?  Fact is, the failure has already happened.  The marriage/relationship has failed.  Your partner has failed to live up to your hopes and dreams, as well as the job description you had for him – but didn’t insist on him living up to.  You’ve failed to be a perpetual physical and/or emotional punchbag – that kind of failure looks like success in my book.

7)     “It’s not the right time.”  Very occasionally there are compelling reasons why it makes sense to delay walking away from an abusive relationship.  But even when that is true, there is plenty of work you can be doing to grow belief in your own value, and change the way you communicate with an abusive partner.  Most commonly, what “It’s not the right time” means is: “I’m not prepared to take ownership of my own life.”

8)     “I can’t afford to leave him.”  See above.  “I can’t afford it” has the additional subtext: “Surely, you’re not going to tell me I’m a grown up, capable woman with the talents and ability to take charge of my own life.  That’s not my job. ”.

9)     “I still love him”.  Of course, you do, in the same way the soldiers love the war wounds that have maimed them.  It sounds so much better than “I’m not prepared to let go of the toxic attachment that I have to the uncaring, manipulative weasel.”

10) “It’s an addiction.”  Subtext: (“And you’ve got to let me off the hook and feel sorry for me, because I’m waving the Get Out of Jail Free card in your face.”)  No, I don’t have to do anything of the kind.  If telling yourself you’re an addict makes you feel better that’s great.  But I don’t think it does.  It validates your “Poor Me” label.  But between having a “Poor Me” label and having a life, there isn’t much of a contest, is there?

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