For whatever reason, this has been heavily on my mind, lately..
I remember many things about what transpired after leaving my x-psychopath. The most prevalent being; the drive to discover just what it was/is about myself, which precipitated every abusive relationship I have ever been in.
A little history: I divorced my childrens’ father back in 94′. Ours was a pseudo-normal relationship, with a pseudo-normal ending. It ended due to infidelity on his part. I chose to stay for the following year, trying to work “it” out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand the bastard any longer. I divorced him. Following the divorce, I got involved with his friend. We were together for 5 years. Ours was a wonderful relationship. We almost got married. During our relationship, his sister-in-law and niece were murdered. Prior to the murder, his children and friends were held at gun-point and threatened. People were dying all around him, and I panicked. My girls were little, then. He wouldn’t move from the area so I chose to remove myself and my girls from the situation. From then on, I found myself getting involved with drug addicts, alcoholics and abusive pricks. Each attempt to find a good man, was met with further worsening situations. Each boy-friend was worse than the one prior. There have been a few…
I wasn’t a drug user in any way. I drank rarely, and rarely to excess. I was a proud person, raised to be a particular way, with very stringent standards for myself. I was a good person, who strove to be everything for everyone. My drive was to make others happy, avoiding negative anything. In doing so, I continued my childhood conditioning; putting myself, my personal wants and needs, behind others. I thought I was doing this for them.. As it so happens, I was doing it out of fear of negative emotions of any kind. I still struggle with that, to this day.
Meeting abusive men was becoming commonplace. I didn’t give up hope, and kept on trying.
The thing is, I always thought I was the poor little good girl, who was being mistreated. Though this was a fact, I always looked at myself as, “Poor little me, doing everything right”, If that was the case, then why the HELL was I continuing to be mistreated in relationships? Why was I ALWAYS finding them, instead of the wonderful relationship I deserved?
Enter my life with the worst of all… A psychopath. After this particular point in my life, I was faced with the overwhelming desire to NEVER go through THAT ever again! I went through the turmoil of trying to rediscover myself. I was in pain, and growing again from nothing short of ashes of my former self. I went through panic attacks, looked over my shoulder whenever I left my home. I questioned everyone around me, and went on my own personal “psychopath” witch hunt. After all, the disordered were all around me, right? Yet I was still struggling with the “whys” of it all. Of everything for the last 25 or so years. Every abusive relationship, or every bad one that wasn’t necessarily abusive, but I was miserable in them. Every break-up and every heart break. Why, WHY, WHHYYYYY???
A friend of mine said to me, “I just think it’s weird that it seems to be all you can find…” That statement hit me and caused me to start thinking. He was right. All the different guys, with the same characteristics. I compared myself to other women currently in wonderful, fulfilling relationships. They were confident women, who didn’t “settle” for anything less than they deserved. I, on the other hand, was NOT confident in myself, and placed myself in EVERY relationship, as the door-mat. I was always the accommodating one, who never said “no” or “I don’t deserve THAT”. I was stead-fast, even in the most unhealthy of relationships. I tried to “fix” them, the relationship and every bad thing that was there. I was patient, kind, loving and very much a jelly-fish. I always broke up with them, eventually, being tired of being mistreated and miserable.
I was abused severely as a child, starting from before I can remember. I found out this year that my collar bone had been broken. Several years before, I found out that I had had my nose broken. I don’t remember any of it. I just have the messed up, high-set shoulder with a protruding bone, and a crooked nose, that I thought was just “me”. What I do remember is the sexual abuse, beginning as a young child and ending as a teenager. This may or may not have some significance in my relationship troubles. I will never know this, but I DO know it has significance in my ongoing struggle with the fear of confrontation and anger.
Back to the original topic… Why was I continuing to find ONLY bad relationships, or abusive men?
I am analytical. I back-track. I introspect. I extrospect. I look at the end result after a series of choices, or scenes. “I’m miserable today. What caused me to be miserable? He yelled at me. What caused him to yell? He misunderstood something I said. Why is he so sensitive, that he get so upset?” and so-on. I’m a chronological thinker, but only in retrospect. I can usually pin-point the causes, only after the result. The statement that my friend posed to me, caused me to do just that. I mulled over every failed relationship and abusive situation. Something was perpetuating this to become reality for myself. To become so commonplace. What was the common denominator?
I was causing it!!!!!
Let me explain a little. No, I don’t blame myself for becoming a meal to a psychopath, per-say. I don’t blame myself for being abused as a child. I don’t blame myself for the fuck-head choosing to throw me across the room. I don’t blame myself for my ex-husband, choosing to screw my best friend, oh so long ago. However, I DO blame myself for CHOOSING to STAY when those tendencies were screaming all around me. I DO blame myself for not standing up for myself, while they were showing their true colors. I do blame myself for not exuding more self confidence. I am the only one to blame, for not expressing and standing behind my own personal boundaries. I am the only one to blame for having little to no boundaries what-so-ever. I had them, don’t get me wrong, but I was placing myself in such a low light of importance, that I may as well have had no boundaries at all. If I don’t stand for them, they don’t really exist in reality. If I don’t express them, they stay secretive.
It’s a hard day when you find yourself, looking in-ward. When your life has gotten so bad, that you are forced to learn WHY.
We are all, generally, hard-knocks learners. We make the same mistakes, over and over again, until something happens which forces us to take the steps we needed to take, over our whole lives. Why can’t we see these things before they get SO bad that we are forced to see?
For me, I DID SEE THEM!! I saw the signs and the red-flags. I experienced mistreatment, yet gave it a different name. I called it, “TIRED”, or “insecurities”. I called it, “trust issues, stemming from bad experiences”. I called abuse, “Poor baby”, and chose to stay. I chose to stay silent, and to love it away. I called myself, “worthless” or “less-than”. I called myself “good-girl” and “victim”. I chose to stay because it was familiar to me, to remain stead-fast, ignoring atrocities, blaming all of it on the other person.
If, during the mistreatment and abuse, I chose to accept it and stay, whose fault does it become, really, that it continues for years? Yes he knows it’s wrong to hit, throw, gas-light, manipulate and over-power. He knows how he’s treating you is WRONG! SO DO YOUUU!! You know it’s wrong. You know it’s something you don’t want for your life. I understand what it is that makes you stay. I’ve been there several times, myself. I don’t blame you for anything. I don’t blame you for staying, yet I am trying to get you to think and view things differently.
I had to think about the hard things, too, in order to free myself. I’m not out of the mire, yet. I’m still struggling with the same issues and problems that caused me to be stuck in abusive situations. However, I am aware now. I know that the root cause of being in abusive situations was myself.
Other women, who we precariously compare ourselves to, are those we see in seemingly good relationships. Do those same women ever encounter abusive men? Of course they do. No one is exempt from dealing with the disordered, just the same as we have. No one is holding that golden fleece which shields them from any atrocities or unhealthy situations. What is the difference? They don’t stay long enough to BECOME abused! They trust their own instincts and recognize bad seeds when they see them. They WALK AWAY from them, never to look back, before it becomes a problem for them too.
Not all bad relationships are abusive. They just aren’t right for YOU. Not all dealings with any men have to become abusive. They don’t start out abusive from the beginning. They BECOME abusive, later on. What do those same men show you in the beginning? Sweet gestures? Flowers? Loving behavior? What about that night that he yelled at you for no real reason? How about that time that he expected you to go against your personal boundaries, just to “be sure” it’s really what you wanted? How about the second and third times? How about those instances that you are walking on egg-shells, being buried in fear and anxiety? Is it time, yet, to start paying attention? Will it be time for you to reconsider the status of your place in that relationship, when he pushes you the first time? When will you stop making excuses for his behavior? When will you stop making excuses for yourself, for staying so long? Will enough ever be enough? When is it time to look inside, and find the real reasons for allowing anything less than WONDERFUL for your life?
You see, though I thought I was doing everything right…I was doing everything WRONG! In my attempt to be the loving door-mat, I was allowing for the abuse and condoning it. I was crying real tears, being placed on anti-anxiety meds and antidepressants. I was considering suicide too. I was (and still am) very insecure. I didn’t trust myself to be smart enough to believe in myself. I didn’t trust my own perceptions. It was easier, and more familiar, to allow myself to be hurt, just to save myself from their anger.
Once upon a time, i would hear the phrase in regard to arguments or bad relationships, “It takes two”. I would think to myself, “I didn’t do anything wrong to deserve it” and “It was all HIM”. Though I didn’t deserve the mistreatment, it didn’t mean that I didn’t do anything wrong. If I had stood up for myself, the abuse would never have happened. If I was confident in myself, I would have called a duck, a duck, and left before it ever became an issue. Sure, you like the guy and believe he’s “the one”… If you find yourself making excuse after excuse for his (or your) behavior, it’s time to reassess things.