“Why did I tolerate so much?

06 Jul 2011

“I still don’t understand my own behavior.  When my partner started pushing me around physically, I left. Before that, I let him literally run my life! He was emotionally abusive and had HUGE control issues.  Yet, I didn’t see his behavior for what it truly was for a very long time. I just coped, and felt bad about myself.

What did I contribute to this? Why did I select this person? Why did I tolerate so much? How do I make sure I don’t repeat those mistakes?”  Lisa

Dear Lisa,

The first thing to understand is this: while you were never to blame for your partner’s behaviour, unintentionally, you did contribute to the situation, by allowing it.  (I’ll come back to why you “allowed” it, in a moment.)

I’d like to commend you on asking some great questions.  That’s tremendously important. It’s only when you ask yourself – and others – good, constructive questions that you get the good, constructive answers which will lead you to heal and move on from emotional abuse.

My guess is you didn’t really “select” your partner.  More likely, you let yourself be “selected”.  The process makes me think of the country dancing I learnt as a child in the UK: the girls would stand still in the circle, and wait for a boy to gallop up to them, and lead them into the dance.

Country dancing seemed to be about waiting to be chosen.  And one of the conventions of country dancing, as I understand it is that you never say “No”.  He invites, and you accept.  He leads, and you follow.

That’s the way a lot of women experience relationships, too.  What’s more, they are, in the first instance, hugely grateful to have been chosen at all.

But how did you learn to wait to be selected?  And why did you tolerate so much?

Most likely, you learnt in childhood to behave reactively, not proactively.  You learnt to respond to situations, usually by settling for what was on offer.

You did NOT learn to grasp Life warmly by the face and say: “This is what I want for myself.  This is what I choose to create.  I will not settle for less.”

Maybe, as you read this, you’re thinking: “But could I really clasp Life to me in a warm embrace and state my needs, desires and expectations?”

Of course you couldn’t, if you were brought up as Little Miss Nice.

The thing that got you – and me – into an abusive relationship in the first place was not wanting, or daring, to rock boats.  We already knew that rocking boats was a bad idea; there would be a price to be paid.  (If anything, our Little Miss Nice training meant we’d sit quietly in the boat, with our ankles neatly crossed, until the damn thing capsized…)

We knew there was usually a price to be paid if we tried to make our own voice heard.


Because we were brought up to believe certain things about ourselves.

  • We were taught to be believe we weren’t loveable enough just as we were.
  • We were taught to believe our feelings didn’t matter that much.
  • We were taught not to believe in ourselves.
  • We were taught not to put ourselves first, for fear of being labelled selfish.
  • We were taught to be invisible.
  • We were taught to be frightened children, always anxious to please.
  • We were taught how to be hostages to shame.

That training, or ‘programming’ – call it what you will – is with you still.  Those are the 7 Wounds you suffered in childhood that still affect the way you show up in the world.

If you don’t feel loveable enough, and valuable enough, or important enough to have a voice, and rights, how can you possibly keep yourself safe?

If you feel like the Invisible Woman, dread the thought of anyone calling you selfish, and believe you’re too small and inadequate to claim your rightful place in the adult world, how can you possibly NOT be vulnerable to another Rescuer?

If you feel worthless – or simply worth less than other people –and are a hostage to shame, how can you NOT look for a man to make you feel good?

The trauma of emotional abuse doesn’t end with the relationship.

You were conditioned to be vulnerable to abuse long before that relationship started.  And that conditioning remains until you do the work to get rid of it.

Fortunately, there is a quick, powerful process for replacing that old, toxic conditioning with something far healthier for you.  That’s the process I teach, in depth, in my 7 Wounds Workshop.  In the space of a few hours you really can smash the hold those old beliefs have had over you for most of your life.

You’ve lived, in the past, with fear, shame, invisibility, and a huge degree of dependency on a man for your good feelings.  You know how destructive that’s been for you.

If it feels like a life sentence, that’s because you’ve already served a life sentence. A whole life sentence of misery.

You’ve done the time – although you never committed a crime.

When you are ready to walk out of that jail, and close the door behind you, you can.

It’s not the Hotel California; you can check out any time you want…

And you can also leave.

There really is a system you can put in place to make sure:

a)     you won’t ever make the same mistakes again

b)     you can stop being Little Miss Fearful and start living as the strong, vibrant, beautiful woman you truly are.

You can stick with the old fearful programming, or you can start your journey, now, back to health, happiness, and feeling at peace with yourself.

Sooner or later, you’ll have to walk out of that jail.

So why wait?

Living in fear stinks.  I should know, I did it for long enough.  I wouldn’t want that for you.

CLICK HERE to make sure you never make those same mistakes again.


Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

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