Partners in abusive relationships undergo never-ending trauma. These relationships can seriously undermine your self-esteem, but some individuals come to them with low self-esteem already, because of the trauma or dysfunctional parenting during their childhood. They believe that they are actually inferior and that what they feel, think, and want is less essential than what others do. That is their hidden shame.
As a result, they keep an unconscious belief that they do not really deserve to be loved simply for who they are, but that they need to earn love. This causes fundamental insecurity and fear of being abandoned.
Abuse and withholding love places partners in a reactive mode, focusing on their partner, walking over eggshells, and trying to hide who they are. They consistently try to control the uncontrollable, sacrifice their interests, and try hard to please others and feel accepted.
Few abusers fluctuate between idealizing-caring and devaluing-rejecting behavior. Rather than acting needy, other abusers act either demandingly needy or needless. They are callous and can be remote and emotionally cold. Some could show friendliness toward their partner, while others are consistently critical and contemptuous.
The dynamics in an abusive relationship increase partners’ stress and escalate their efforts to appease and help their partner. Over time, the truth of the addict or personality disordered individual begins to infect the partner’s self-concept and perceptions of reality, also. Their self-esteem is degraded, and they become anxious and drained attempting to abate a crisis, avoid abuse, and hold the relationship together.
The more partners do this, the worse things become. They deny their own sorrows and prevent the abuser from taking accountability for their behavior, needs, and feelings and from availing help. This is called enabling. Moreover, denial blinds them to the point that their beliefs and behavior contribute to their own unhappiness and that they have choices to change.
Today, Delhi based Psychologist and Marriage Counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo tell about the ways to change the dynamics of an abusive relationship.
The trick is doing just the opposite of what comes naturally to victims of abuse. Here are some ways.
First and most importantly is not to isolate. It is difficult—virtually impossible—to alter the dynamics in abusive relationships without external support. Avail support to see another view of truth, because partners become isolated and confused due to the attacks, threats, and manipulated reality of the abuser.
Focus on Your Recovery
Change does not really start until partners pay attention to their own recovery, not in transforming the other person, over whom they are essentially powerless. This does not mean that they do not have any power or option, but itis over their own actions and lives.
Detaching does not need leaving or being aloof. It is like having an invisible, protecting strength field. Rather than reacting, you detach and do not react to what other person decides to throw at you just because they are uncomfortable in their own skin. You start to realize that although their words may hurt, they are not real.
Learn and Accept
It is essential to learn all you can about abuse. Learning about it and accepting the reality at a deep level lets you come out of denial.
Meet Your Requirements
You start to honor what you need, feel, and want. You meet those requirements from people who are safe and supportive. This will boost your self-esteem. You no longer feel or think like a victim and become empowered.
As your self-worth increases, you learn to be assertive. Your horizons improve, and you ask for what you need and set restrictions on what you do not. This is not easy, but your courage helps and grows in recovery. You can get strong enough to leave or suggest that your partner get treatment.
Even when you stay in the relationship, you find that your life is happier, because you have taken control of your own self-esteem and sense of well-being.
During the current challenging time, it’s common to experience anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and relationship challenges at home. While you are under lockdown and maintaining social distancing norms to help the country to control COVID-10 spread, your very own counsellor Shivani is now just a call and Skype video call away from you.
However, in this age of coronavirus, we hope to offer our therapeutic help. Change is difficult for all of us and changing the way you meet with your therapist is no exception. But try it before you disregard this option. This is a challenging moment in time, and fears and anxieties are running high.
You may find, telepsychology isn’t a second-rate option. Instead, it’s an effective and efficient upgrade to a valuable service!
Feel free to call Counselor Shivani Misri Sadhoo at +91-8860875040 for telephonic or video support and to book an online counselling session to address any relationship issues, emotional and psychological challenges.