Witnessing physical and emotional abuse is harmful to children, even when they’re not being targeted. Just because your wife/girlfriend isn’t currently attacking your children doesn’t mean it’s not affecting them. We learn about relationships from our parents and other caregivers. What do you think your children are learning by observing mom’s and dad’s relationship dynamic? If you could choose a relationship partner for your children when they’re grown up, would you want it to be like your relationship with their mother? By staying in the relationship, you’re telegraphing that it’s okay for the person who “loves” you to abuse you and that one individual’s needs and feelings are more important than the other’s. Additionally, when and if the children ever begin to assert their own identities and challenge mom in any way—that is if they’re not terrified to do so after witnessing the way mom treats dad—they’ll typically be subject to the same hot and cold abuse. Your kids are going to have issues, especially around relationships, whether you stay in the marriage or not. You’ll be in a much better place to help them later on if you’re healthy, strong and happy. Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/10-lies-men-tell-themselves-in-order-to-stay-in-emotionally-abusive-relationships-with-their-wives-or-girlfriends/
There are far too many silent sufferers.
Not because they don’t yearn to reach out,
but because they’ve tried
and found no one who cares.
Richelle E. Goodrich
All relationships have conflict. Conflict is healthy. Yes, BUT it depends on the kind of conflict, how it’s handled and if it’s resolvable. Blaming isn’t part of healthy conflict. Neither are name calling, demeaning, belittling and having the same fight over and over again. It’s also unhealthy to bring up previous conflicts that happened months or years ago. This kind of woman confuses conflict with intimacy. She substitutes anger for passion. Furthermore, don’t confuse her pathology for passion. Passion and intimacy require a certain degree of vulnerability in expressing your desires. This woman only knows how to express angry demands. It makes her feel powerful and invulnerable. Her desire is for total control and anger is her hook. She uses it to keep you engaged in one pointless conflict after the next. Things will get better if I’m more patient and pay closer attention to her needs and feelings. This is also a trap. The nicer you are to this woman, the more she’ll view you as weak and pathetic and interpret it as a license to steamroll you. Sex and affection aren’t important. Yes, they are. Enough said. Seriously though, sex may not be the most important thing in a relationship, but it’s in the top three along with kindness and respect. Small signs of non-physical affection are equally important. It’s not the infrequent big gestures that count; it’s the little things a couple does for each other that really matter over the long haul. For example, picking up the other person’s dry cleaning because you happen to be in that part of town, going to a chick flick when you’d rather gouge your eyes out with red-hot pokers, making the other person’s favorite dinner when it’s not your fave, etc. Emotionally abusive, narcissistic and borderline women are rarely affectionate, considerate or generous. If they do something nice for you, they experience it as a loss and a degradation. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life in a lopsided, nonreciprocal relationship? Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/10-lies-men-tell-themselves-in-order-to-stay-in-emotionally-abusive-relationships-with-their-wives-or-girlfriends/
Many people lack the basic equipment to be in a relationship
and there’s nothing you can do to change it.
You can’t take a skunk and dip it in perfume
and hope it becomes a puppy.
Eventually, the perfume will wear off
and you’ll still have a skunk on your hands.
Children from highly dysfunctional households often feel that things will get better someday, that a ‘normal’ life may lie in the future. Indeed, some days things are fairly ‘normal’, but then the bad times return again. It’s the normal days that encourage the fantasy that all problems in the family might someday be solved. This is a common cycle in highly dysfunctional families. When they grow up, these adults carry the same types of fantasy into their relationships. They may portray to others the myth that they have the perfect relationship and they may believe, to themselves, that someday all of their relationship problems will somehow be solved. They ignore the abuse, manipulation, imbalance and control in the relationship. By ignoring the problems, they are unable to confront them and the fantasy of a happier future never comes to pass. Unhealthy boundaries, where we collude with our partner in believing the myth that everything is fine, make it difficult to come to terms with the troubles of the relationship. Healthy boundaries allow us to test reality rather than rely on fantasy. When problems are present, good emotional boundaries allow us to define the problems and to communicate with our partner in finding solutions. They encourage a healthy self-image, trust, consistency, stability and productive communication. John Stibbs http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/emotional_boundaries.html
There is only one thing more painful
than learning from experience
and that is not learning from experience.
People who grow up in a dysfunctional family may fail to learn the difference between love and sympathy. Children growing up in these conditions may learn to have sympathy for the emotional crippling in their parents lives and feel that the only time they get attention is when they show compassion for the parent. They feel that when they forgive, they are showing love. Actually, they are rescuing the parent and enabling abusive behavior to continue. They learn to give up their own protective boundaries in order to take care of the dysfunctioning parent, becoming a surrogate co-dependent spouse. In adulthood, they carry these learned behaviors into their own relationships. If they can rescue their partner from the consequences of their behavior, they feel that they are showing love. They get a warm, caring, sharing feeling from helping their partner, a feeling they call love. But this may actually encourage their partner to become needy and helpless enabling the negative behavior to continue. An imbalance can then occur in the relationship in which one partner becomes the rescuer or enabler and the other plays the role of the helpless victim. In this case, healthy boundaries which allow both partners to live complete lives are absent. Mature love requires the presence of healthy, flexible boundaries. Sympathy and compassion are worthy qualities, but they can be confused with love, especially when boundaries have become distorted or are virtually non-existent. Healthy boundaries lead to respect for the other and equality in a relationship, an appreciation for the aliveness and strength of the other person, and a mutual flow of feelings between the two partners, all features of mature love. When one partner is in control and the other is needy and helpless, there is no room for the give-and-take of a healthy relationship. John Stibbs http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/emotional_boundaries.html
I would cling to unhappiness
because it was a known, familiar state.
When I was happier, it was because
I knew I was on my way back to misery.
There are several factors that can influence your decision to remain in a bad relationship. At the most superficial level are practical considerations such as financial entanglement, shared living quarters, potential impact on children, feared disapproval from others, and possible disruption in academic performance or career plans. At a deeper level are the beliefs you hold about relationships in general, about this specific relationship, and about yourself. These beliefs may take the form of learned societal messages such as “Love is forever,” “You are a failure if you end a relationship,” “Being alone is terrible,” and “You should never hurt anyone.” Also relevant are beliefs about yourself such as “I’ll never find anyone else,” “I’m not attractive or interesting enough,” or “If I work hard enough I should be able to save this relationship.” At the deepest level are unconscious feelings which can keep you stuck. These feelings develop early in childhood, often operate without your awareness, and can exert considerable influence on your life. Children need to be loved, nurtured, and encouraged in their independence. To the extent that parents are successful in doing this, their children will be able to feel secure as adults in moving in and out of relationships. To the extent that these needs are not met their children may be left feeling “needy” as adults and may thus be more vulnerable to dependent relationships. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=186
To die and part is a less evil;
but to part and live, there,
there is the torment.
A bad relationship is one that involves continual frustration; the relationship seems to have potential but that potential is always just out of reach. In fact, the attachment in such relationships is to someone who is “unattainable” in the sense that he or she is committed to someone else, doesn’t want a committed relationship, or is incapable of one. Bad relationships are chronically lacking in what one or both partners need. Such relationships can destroy self-esteem and prevent those involved from moving on in their careers or personal lives. They are often fertile breeding grounds for loneliness, rage, and despair. In such relationships, individuals are robbed of several essential freedoms; the freedom to be their best selves in the relationship, the freedom to love the other person through choice rather than through dependency, and the freedom to leave a situation that is destructive. Despite the pain of these relationships, many rational and practical people find that they are unable to leave, even though they know the relationship is bad for them.
Signs you may be addicted to the relationship:
– Even though you know the relationship is bad for you (and perhaps others have told you this), you take no effective steps to end it.
– You give yourself reasons for staying in the relationship that are not really accurate or that are not strong enough to counteract the harmful aspects of the relationship.
– When you think about ending the relationship, you feel terrible anxiety and fear which make you cling to it even more.
– When you take steps to end the relationship, you suffer painful withdrawal symptoms, including physical discomfort, that is only relieved by reestablishing contact.
If most of these signs apply to you, you are probably in an addictive relationship and have lost the capacity to direct your own life. To move toward recovery, your first steps must be to recognize that you are “hooked” and then try to understand the basis of your addiction. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=186
I was your cure
and you were my disease.
I was saving you,
and you were killing me.
Five tips for overcoming your own passive-aggressive behaviors:
1- Become aware of the underlying feelings causing your behavior
2- Become aware of the impacts of your behavior and how your desire to defeat others, get back at them or annoy them creates yet further uncomfortable feelings for yourself
3- Take responsibility for your actions and reactions
4- Try to not feel attacked when faced with a problem but instead take an overall objective view of the situation
5- Learn to be assertive in expressing yourself. You have a right to your thoughts and feelings so communicate them with honesty and truth and strengthen your relationships
Five tips for coping with the passive-aggressive behavior of others:
1- Become aware of how passive aggression operates and try to be understanding towards your partner
2- Explain to your partner how their behavior towards you is affecting you. Communicate calmly without blaming – i.e. talk about how you feel and what you think without using language that will inflame the situation more. For example you might say “I feel upset by your behavior” rather than “you’ve done this or that”.
3- Be aware of your responses to others and yourself– do not blame yourself for the behavior and reaction of others
4- Be honest about your part in the situation
5- If the aggressive behavior of others continues to affect you in a negative way, set clear boundaries around yourself – rules for what you will and won’t accept. Stay strong and focused and get on with your life in a positive way.
Andrea Harrn, http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/what-is-passive-aggressive-behaviour
If you are carrying strong feelings
about something that happened in your past,
they may hinder your ability to live in the present.
Passive aggression might be seen as a defense mechanism that people use to protect themselves. It might be automatic and might stem from early experiences. What they are protecting themselves from will be unique and individual to each person; although might include underlying feelings of rejection, fear, mistrust, insecurity and/or low self-esteem. Patterns of unassertive and passive behavior may have been learned in childhood as a coping strategy possibly as a response to parents who may have been too controlling or not allowing their child to express their thoughts and feelings freely. To cope, a child might adopt a passive-aggressive behavior pattern. For example if a child was ridiculed, put-down or punished for openly expressing their feelings or disagreeing with their parents the child would learn to substitute open expression for passive resistance – agreeing with what mum or dad said in order to be a “good child” or not speaking out honestly or at all. If there was a consistent pattern within the family of punishment or rejection for asserting themselves the child would learn to become highly skilled at passively rebelling. An example of a child rebelling might be around toilet training, withdrawing from family conversation, choosing subjects at school to please parents and then not working hard, around eating and mealtimes – all causing worry and upset to the parents who may have no idea their behavior is a contributory cause to the problem. In the workplace a passive-aggressive employee or employer may use these techniques as a form of control and/or intimidation. The worker might sulk, make faces, scowl inwardly when given jobs to do or may agree politely and then take ages to do them. By doing so, he they are showing annoyance in the hope they will not be asked to do those tasks again. Employers can also use passive aggression when confronted with employee problems, turning a blind eye, not facing facts or dealing with genuine cases of bullying and intimidation. This avoidant behavior can be very damaging to individuals and teams of individuals within organizations. Andrea Harrn, http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/what-is-passive-aggressive-behaviour
The more you hide your feelings,
the more they show.
The more you deny your feelings,
the more they grow.
– Non-Communication – when there is clearly something problematic to discuss
– Avoiding/Ignoring – when you are so angry that you feel you cannot speak calmly
– Evading problems and issues – burying an angry head in the sand
– Procrastinating – intentionally putting off important tasks for less important ones
– Obstructing – deliberately stalling or preventing an event or process of change
– Fear of Competition – avoiding situations where one party will be seen as better at something
– Ambiguity – being cryptic, unclear, not fully engaging in conversations
– Sulking – being silent, morose, sullen and resentful in order to get attention or sympathy.
– Chronic Lateness – a way to put you in control over others and their expectations
– Chronic Forgetting – shows a blatant disrespect and disregard for others to punish in some way
– Fear of Intimacy – trust issues with passive aggressive people and guarding against becoming too intimately involved or attached will be a way for them to feel in control of the relationship
– Making Excuses – always coming up with reasons for not doing things
– Victimization – unable to look at their own part in a situation will turn the tables to become the victim and will behave like one
– Self-Pity – the poor me scenario
– Blaming – rather than being able to take responsibility for your own actions or being able to take an objective view of the situation as a whole.
– Withholding – usual behaviours or roles (example sex, cooking and cleaning or making cups of tea, running a bath etc.) all to reinforce an already unclear message to the other party
– Learned Helplessness – where a person continually acts like they can’t help themselves – deliberately doing a poor job of something for which they are often explicitly responsible
Andrea Harrn, http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/what-is-passive-aggressive-behaviour
The greatest challenge in life
is discovering who you really are
and second thing is
being happy with what you find.
Co-dependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to “be themselves.” Some try to feel better through alcohol, drugs or nicotine – and become addicted. Others may develop compulsive behaviors like workaholism, gambling, or indiscriminate sexual activity. They have good intentions. They try to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, but the caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. Co-dependents often take on a martyr’s role and become “benefactors” to an individual in need. A wife may cover for her alcoholic husband; a mother may make excuses for a truant child; or a father may “pull some strings” to keep his child from suffering the consequences of delinquent behavior. The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual to continue on a destructive course and to become even more dependent on the unhealthy caretaking of the “benefactor.” As this reliance increases, the co-dependent develops a sense of reward and satisfaction from “being needed.” When the caretaking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choiceless and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it. Co-dependents view themselves as victims and are attracted to that same weakness in the love and friendship relationships. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/codependency
When one is in love,
one always begins
by deceiving one’s self,
and one always ends
by deceiving others.
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