‘They’ never told you, because they didn’t know. It is the degree of widespread ignorance in our society about mental abuse that allows it to go on happening. Not only do they not know, but they don’t have an inkling that they don’t know.
F. was understandably devastated by the breakdown of her relationship. She also felt incredibly foolish. In fact, she had never been stupid, or blind. She had not seen and had not known what made her partner a bad choice, because she had not been taught what to look for.
When you think about it, shame, self-flagellation and self-loathing burn up vast quantities of emotional energy utterly pointlessly. You might as well go outside and stand staring at your car – or for that matter anybody else’s car – and say: “Well, start then.” Willing it to start without starting the motor is not going to achieve the desired effect. Although it could leave you feeling seriously helpless and hopeless, if you had mistakenly believed that it might.
Victims blame, while victors learn that, irrespective of what has already happened, they can have the same rights, hopes and dreams as other people. They learn the tricks and techniques that will enable them not to be paralysed by negativity, by their membership of the Ahbutt clan – and who hasn’t been an honorary member of the “Ah but…” or “yes, but” clan at some low point in their life?
Whoever it was who said: “With one leg in the past and one foot in the future, you can only urinate on the present” was right. With one eye firmly on her past perceived shortcomings and the other on the bleak future that she knows (and how, pray, can she know for sure?) will surely come to pass, S. is blind to all the opportunities and satisfactions that the present might afford her.
The psychological burden of an abusive relationship is actually like a massive boulder. You can’t push it away, but a few small changes act like putting a plank under it. The leverage you’ll gain will allow you to roll that boulder away, faster than you might think possible.
Once we felt utterly devoid of resources. But no more. We struggled, we learned and we came through. In retrospect, I could wish that we had known then that all we had to do was what we could with what we had from where we were. It would have made those early steps far easier along the journey we still travel joyfully.
The problem of domestic violence in the UK is huge and the long term cost to society is, probably, incalculable. It is easy to see how, from every point of view “sorry seems to be the cheapest word”.
Harriet*’s face had been etched into a mask of anxiety and
pain by the years spent putting herself last while she tried to make bad
relationships work. She came up to me
on the last day of the course I’d been running on Domestic Violence Recovery to
tell me how far she had come along her journey.
The 5 Simple Steps to Healing from Narcissistic Abuse
Over the next 5 days, I'll send you some lessons and tips that I've found have really helped women to heal from narcissistic abuse. Starting with the basics.