The story began in 1962 and still continues today, when I look back and analyze my relationships with men. I have had four significant relationships where in every one of the relationships, I have felt less than human. Where does this come from? I know my childhood is racked with various forms of abuse by my stepfather and so continues his legacy in the men I have chosen for partner. Each one in their own right mirrors my step-father in some way, it is my dysfunctional comfort zone, which I must break and I must forge through my own personal hell in order to truly be free. The Goddess in me has become silent with rage because of the continuous battery of words, abandonment, and disrespect these men have shown me. However, I have invited these fragments of childhood memories into my adult life, so I must take responsibility and learn from my experiences.
accountability begins with me! I must learn to identify the personality traits I need to change in order to become the woman screaming to be set free. I have been going to a site http://www.recovery-man.com/abusive/abuse_rel_types.htm to learn what traits I have as a partner of Abusers. As I read through the list I began to shake, realizing I need to fix me in order to truly be a healthy person.
1. Intense need for love: I realize that now, my six year relationship has been showing reminents of the past. The need to be loved and the desire to hold onto love at any cost is not only destroying my own self worth, I am showing that behavior to my children. God, WHAT AM I DOING! I have justified staying in this relationship because my need for affection has consumed me once again, my insecurities are rearing their ugly head and enabling me to become blind to the fact that I don't matter. This is WRONG thinking!
So my first step is to identify what I've done to contribute to my own demise and move on.
2. Low Self-esteem: As a child, I grew up with comments of being stupid, feeling inadequate and helpless as one parent terrorized the family. I would grow up thinking that it was the enabler's fault because she didn't stop the physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. I began hating her until one day we had a long talk. I was changing physically, which forced me to re-evaluate the way I valued and viewed the world. I AM A SURVIVOR OF AN ALCHOLIC. However, I do not want to be a survivor I want to be a recovered and self assured individual. I realize that my low self-esteem is compounded by the psoriatic arthritis that has scared my body. Maybe my body is telling me something, that I need to heal from the inside out and if I feel ugly on the inside and not important than it is going to show on the outside. In my recent marriage, I experienced bouts of low self-esteem, especially when I was starting a new drug, or having a medical crisis. Although he never came out and said, I am ugly, he sure made me feel it, especially when he would turn to other women for comfort. His excuse, it helped him escape the reality that I was sick. In reality he was compounding my sickness by turning to other women. When I begged for his touch and I was denied, he said he didn't want to hurt me, yet he continued to hurt me by withdrawing from me and turning to someone else. I was not good enough, pretty enough, or stimulating enough to keep his attention. I look back an shake my head. My disease is my immune system, my immune system is me, either you love my immune system and love me or you don't. He doesn't! I need to Let Him Go!
3. Drug or Alcohol Dependence. I can say I don't drink, but where do we draw the line on what we are talking about when it comes to the drugs, caffeine, smoking, ect. Am I one of THOSE people? As, I take another drag of my cigarette and blow the smoke out, sipping on Apple juice for a change. Coffee, is for later, first thing in the morning. Yet there is another addiction, food became a comfort zone for me. I realized that and now, it is viewed as life's nutrients and no more. The emotional attachment I associated with food is a craving no more. When I do crave, I acknowledge it as a craving and move on.
4. A background involving physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Well this one is a big fat YES YES YES. I am on a journey of understanding and enlightenment as I see the connection between my relationships and my childhood. I have gotten away from the physically abusive relationships and now am working on the emotional and sexual abuse. I should never feel like I have to beg for touch, for affection, or even beg to be made love too. This has happened so much in this relationship that is now coming to a close, it is maddening and again I feel like such an idiot for putting up with it.
5. ACOA issues (Adult Children of alcoholics / addicts.) My step-father was an alcoholic, I can put him in the past because he is no longer among the living, at least physically he is not. However he lives in me and this is what I have to shake. I need to learn how to become unpossessed by my childhood. This is work in progress, and I will be discussing this one at great lengths with my therapist.
6. Codependent personality disorder and / or Love addiction. I can say, this one I don't have! I loved being a single mom, it took me awhile and when my husband first came up, he asked me to marry him and I said no. I just wanted to stay friends and not get into anything with anyone. Over time that changed because I ended up falling in love with him and marrying him. I married him because he made me laugh, he challenged my thinking and for the most part encouraged me to pursue my dreams. In the beginning he was attentive, however my deterioration was not at the point it was now. There was a future, a positive one at least that is what I thought, boy was I doing some serious wishful thinking! Instead of enjoying the good days and working through the bad days, hubby would run and I guess because I was afraid of what was going on with my body I became codependent. I would fall, I would shake, and I would fight the razor blade sensation that would consume my body. I tried to ignore the infidelity, people would say women have been doing it for years. No wonder a lot of women deal with self-esteem issues. I've been told I am strong you don't need him, yet I find myself wanting him and not doing my own running away. I know my marriage is over, yet there is this overwhelming desire to have what is not good for you.
7. Enforced isolation creating resentment. Although he did not create the isolation I experienced, he accepted it and would leave me, alone in our room. It was just easier for him to do the groceries by himself because we would have to take the wheelchair. Even when I did go shopping with him, he would leave me in the middle of the isle, reinforcing my isolation and the fact that I needed him in order to survive. However, the light is here, at the end of the tunnel. I now have in place various social and community support that enables me to continue on with my work, I am ending this relationship on a positive note, which means I can be proud of my accomplishments, I can appreciate my physical limitations, and I no longer struggle with being physically or psychologically locked in my room. I was locking myself in and now I'm setting myself free.
8. Strong need for a relationship to validate them. WOW! Finally one personality trait I can say I can not relate to. In the past I would say, yes I thought being in a relationship was validating me but now I can truly say NO WAY. I am me healing, I don't need to be in a relationship to feel like a person. Relationships are suppose to be a complementing thing that makes both people feel good and share and grow.
9. Gain a sense of worth by care taking the abuser. I gained a sense of accomplishment when I could find the resources that he needed to understand and help him cope with my disease, however a sense of worth by care taking my husband, I would again have to say NO! So I have another personality trait I can say No too. WOW, I've improved over the years.
10. Inability to set and enforce interpersonal boundaries. I can set limits but the enforcing part I found difficult because I still allowed him to cheat and yell at me when I was not the person he was angry with. I know I need to work on enforcing interpersonal boundaries. There is a part of me that wants to fight for the vows I took, however I can't make another person keep their vows. This is an issue I recognize and need to work on. The first step is acknowledging there is a problem, and then the steps towards correcting the problem is another whole ball of yarn.
11. Difficulty expressing anger, tendency to internalize it, act it out in other ways. I do not have difficulty expressing anger or the tendency to internalize it, I learned a long time ago to use the I word and complete sentences such as I am feeling angry because you are breaking your promise to stay faithful. I am feeling ugly because every time I go on a new treatment or have a flare-up you turn to other women. I would express my anger in venting sessions with my social worker and in writing therapy, such as this blog space. The psoriatic Arthritis likes anger or any extreme emotion, so I would have to find ways of calming myself, like asking myself questions, such as: is this my problem or someone elses, or is there anything I can really do about the issue facing the relationship or myself. I learned that I can only be accountable for myself, and if I choose to stay in an abusive relationship than I am accountable for the consequences I will face. Trust me, I really don't want to stay in this relationship, I have become active in seeking out a legal separation and have in my mind the date April 13, 2007 for the divorce.
12. Loyalty to the abuser takes precedence over emotional or physical safety. It is amazing the different views you get from people. Some would say you married him for better or worse, in good and bad times, and you just have to ignore his infidelity. Well to those dear to me, I was destroying myself for doing that. Putting his excuses and his behavior before my own sanity has made me sicker than I've ever felt in my life. So a word to those who do this, your emotional and physical safety is number one and compromising your own sanity is not worth the relationship at all.
13. Belief that "it will change if I just try harder." Another characteristics that I used to have but in this relationship I did not. I know it takes two to make a relationship and it takes two to break the relationship, him and his girlfriends broke my relationship with him. Each day that passes I get stronger. I feel more confident that I am going to be OK and that I will be able to accomplish most of what I attempt to do. The belief that We needed to work on the relationship not just me was how I thought while I was living with him. Now, I am seeing I need to continue my journey without him and once everything is legal I will be able to do so with great optimism.
14. Repeated attempts to leave the relationship. Does thinking about leaving count? Yes, it does! For the last year I have thought about leaving the relationship, however I never had the nerve to do it, I would convince myself that I could look past his transgressions. In reality, I was deluding myself.
15. Inability to follow through with leaving - return to the abuser again and again. YES, YES, YES! This is a big problem that I find myself repeating in every serious relationship I have had. There are many reasons of which fear is the biggest one I know of. I am afraid of starting over again, afraid of the conflict, and afraid that something will happen health wise that makes me return to the scene of the crime. This does not empower me, it only compounds the victim role. I know that, however I am having a hard time feeling this reality. Maybe because I am scared.
16. Clinical depression, self - medication. The nature of my illness can cause me to get depressed, it's a medical depression and no I do not self-medicate. Although I am on serious medication, I do not take more because the marriage is over. I do not believe in numbing your problems away. I do practice avoidance sometimes, however that is slowly changing. This is another issue that therapy helps. Talking to someone who can remain neutral is always a better way of coming to a clearer vision than self-medicating.
17. Suicidal ideation or attempts. Thoughts of suicide has entered my mind when the pain is unbearable, however I would never attempt because I have learned to meditate and to focus on tomorrow rather then get swallowed up by sadness. I have never thought about suicide because of a guy, I don't think I ever will.
Now, since I have gone through all the characteristics of a partner of and Abuser, I am coming to realize that I must cut all ties with this man. I have gone through periods of desiring to be mean and vindictive. However, now I see that there really isn't any point to doing such things. Life is too precious and too short to be vindictive. Although I did kick him out he has chosen to move on with et another woman. Will she put up with him like I did, who knows and who cares. I have to focus on healing thy self.