When one is an abusive relationship, we suffer many losses. We lose our sense of self, relationships change or are non-existent, freedom to speak and think independently, feeling safe and respect.
We lose ourselves and start accepting what is being said to us, for example you are not smart enough, you are naïve, this is why you need me to make decisions, you are stupid, what do you know.
It’s no surprise that with the effect this abusive relationship has on you, you stop questioning and start accepting. There is nobody around i.e. family or friends to tell you that what you think and feel is right. You start to self-doubt as the abusive partner isolates you from people you care about and love.
The abusive partner then may continue to make you feel that you are unloved and others think negatively of you. Your partner humiliates or ridicules you in front of others. For example, you are not a good mother/father or friend. This is why nobody cares about you. You start believing this is true and isolate yourself further and believe that nobody will care or love you more than your abusive partner. You try very hard to please your partner as you believe that you are unlovable.
Your self-esteem is low and have very little or no confidence. You are psychologically and emotionally affected. Your partner expects you to care for his/ her needs such as emotional, physical and financial.
Over time, you are stripped of all sense of self. You are just a puppet or a mere shadow of your former self in this relationship.
It’s no surprise that you are still in this relationship or it has taken you a long time to leave this relationship. Domestic violence strips individuals of all self-respect, belief and self-worth. It is no wonder why we stay in these relationships, we are enmeshed in these complicated relationships and it takes a long time for anyone to leave.
The next time we expect, ask or tell someone to leave an abusive relationship lets think about how difficult it is for the individual and how much support they may need to make this happen.
If you would like to leave or have left an abusive relationship, as impossible as it may sound at the moment, your life can change.
Some tips on how to get support:
- Get in touch with your local domestic violence support group.
- Talk about your emotions in a safe place, such as with a counsellor or psychotherapist. They can help you build your sense of self and talk through your experiences of abuse, guilt, loss, grief, low self-esteem and self-worth.
- Be compassionate and kind to yourself.
- And finally, it is not your fault. You deserve to be happy and safe.
If you need support around any of the issues discussed please email or call us. An appropriate clinician from our team will be in touch.