I’m going to try to keep this relatively short..
What happens when you decide to try again, giving another relationship a shot after a few years? Your previous fiasco(s) are probably, very prevalent in your memory and psyche. Even though the new guy seems to be very sweet and sincere, you may start noticing some behaviors that echo those from past relationships.
Gas-lighting comes to mind here. Lets say you have an argument. He doesn’t let you get a word out, without countering. He says something mean and spiteful, which is pretty common when we are all angry. When you immediately call it to his attention, he exclaims, “YOU MADE THAT UP!” or calls you, “LIAR!”. What if he places you on “ignore” for a few days? When you come into the room during that time, you find cruel behavior meeting you at the door. Again, you call his attention to that behavior (something that no one else will see, but he wouldn’t do it to any one else, such as blocking the door so you can’t come in..). When you mention it, he again accuses you of making it up. “I wouldn’t do ANYTHING LIKE THAT!” “You’re making it up”… You think to yourself, “really?” You know better. You aren’t the type to make anything up. After surviving a psychologically abusive relationship before, you are very careful to make sure your thoughts, accusations, and even your perceptions are VERY accurate. In short, you know what you know. Though you might still question your perceptions, you still are certain that you, in deed, witnessed his behavior toward you.
It’ll happen again, and he will deny it again and accuse you of lying or what-have-you.
Let me make something clear… In relationships, we are all prone to these very malicious cycles, just out of anger or embarrassment. Gas-lighting isn’t just for the disordered. We are all human, and therefore are all manipulative creatures. We learned to manipulate others, starting with our mothers when we were infants. Toddlers, in turn, hone in the skill to test boundaries and limits of our parents. We are not immune to being ones who choose to use the very same tactics as our once, would-be abusers. We like our lives to be predictable and controllable. That includes our significant others. Before you gather your pitchforks and torches, think about this…
Do you pout, even cutely, to get your way? That’s manipulation. Do you point out the other’s faults, to take the focus off of your own? That’s still a form of gas-lighting.
My point in saying all of that, is to remind all of us that we aren’t perfect. Even as enlightened, former victims of insidious abuse.
Knowing this, it will help to define abusive tendencies in a new relationship or just an insecurity that person might have. Make no mistakes… Abusers use these tactics EVERY SINGLE TIME! If it’s an ingrained insecurity or fear, you will witness the other party making very strong attempts to change. He/she will listen, validating you and your emotions.
As in both the case of the abuser, or the insecure… you MUST REMAIN TRUE TO YOURSELF!! Do not back down from the truth! You know what you know. You know what was said and/or done. Don’t allow them to back you away from the truth. When that person claims, “You made that up!”, be sure to place a VERY strong boundary! The person needs to know you won’t stand for that type of treatment. Be unmistakable and unquestionable, when it pertains to those boundaries. The disordered and abuser will continue, unwaveringly, to beat down your boundaries and your perceptions, never validating you! They only seek to bring validation to themselves.. Period. The other will validate you as well as themselves.
Beginning a new relationship after abuse, is challenging though very possible to succeed.
Don’t like dresses? Don’t let the other badger you into changing your personal style of regular dress. Don’t like red meat? Don’t let the other guilt you into changing. Be true to yourself, your beliefs and your boundaries.
Mr. Right will appreciate this about you.