Most women react to ill treatment in their personal life with disbelief. We prefer to deny that the person who behaved that way to us, actually did it intentionally. They may have been tired, stressed, drunk, upset about something else, jealous, needy, psychologically disturbed… the list goes on and on. We explain away the bad times as so many ‘blips’.
That denial is as much about us as it is about them. We want to believe that we are all playing by the Queensbury rules. It’s reassuring. It enables us to still the pain. It allows us to think that, in the end, everything will turn out the way we want it to be.
We really don’t want to think that we inhabit some kind of parallel universe where interpersonal brutality is acceptable, where we are treated as if we are worthless. We prefer to think that our partner is “a nice person really”- in between one outburst and the next.
The statement: “He has a responsibility to treat me properly” assumes that he is playing by the same rules as we are. Despite all evidence to the contrary. (How many ‘blips’ does it take before we realise that the blips are an integral part of the mosaic of this person’s behaviour?)
Still, the concept of ‘his responsibility towards me’ sounds perfectly reasonable, until you start to look more closely at it. In reality, it presupposes that your rights are his responsibility.
Well, they just might be – if he chose to make them his responsibility. But he clearly doesn’t. And he does have the power to make his own choices– however deplorable you, and society, may find them. Further, if he refuses to be accountable for his own problems, he’s hardly likely to shoulder responsibility for anyone else’s rights. (Have you ever actually heard him talk about anybody’s rights apart from his own?)
However he may conduct himself in the outside world, in his emotional life he opts for irresponsibility. It’s a choice that he is free to make. However much you may deplore it, he can and frequently does choose to behave cruelly. It doesn’t make his behaviour right, at all. But it does make for clear thinking.
Once you accept that deplorable behaviour is an integral part of this person, at the very least, the scales start to fall from your eyes. You become response-able for yourself and your choices. You become able to choose your responses to the infringement of your rights, because you are no longer disarmed by a misguided value judgement about this person.
Your responses, together with the criteria you use to decide who you will let into the inner reaches of your life, will set the tone for how you are treated.
(Hands up if the criterion you currently use is something along the lines of: “I’ll let anyone into my life, provided he shows any interest in me and doesn’t appear to have disgusting personal habits. ”)
This is not to say that an abusive partner will suddenly be transformed into your Dream Partner because you change your responses. The odds are that he will behave even worse. But you’ve opted for response-ability because your situation was intolerable.
Response-ability is one of the most powerful tools you have for safeguarding your future life from other possible abusers.
An NLP Practitioner and Women's Empowerment Coach, Annie helps women to create strong boundaries, so they can learn to build healthy, nurturing relationships where they can give and receive the love they want, safely.
Email:email@example.com To subscribe to Annie's bi-monthly ezine, or order her eBook ‘The Woman You Want To Be, go: to http://www.joyfulcoaching.com