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Old 04-14-2011, 09:25 AM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Default Can an abusive relationship heal?

I debated for a long time where to post this, so mods, feel free to move this if another section strikes you as more appropriate.

So I am basically asking if anyone has experience with a relationship that has had a history of abuse and is no longer abusive? If so, what made you stick? I have struggled for years, am on medication, tried therapy but never got to speak of the real issues, but just last night after another tirade of verbal/emotional abuse via phone realized that as long as the other party is not willing to acknowledge what they do as abusive and willing to seek help, I can't really hope that anything will ever change.

I have tried to read on this non-violent communication stuff, has anyone experience with using that in this or similar contexts? Right now I've decided to distance myself a bit for emotional health reasons, but I do see it will not help things improve.

Am I just kidding myself in thinking that I can somehow break a decade-long pattern of abusive communication? I feel so much compassion for this person because they are so hurt and angry, and the last thing I want to do is to abandon them.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:17 AM
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Mohegan Mohegan is offline
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I don't have much experience in abusive relationships turning out well. But I do believe anyone can change. But you said it best-they have to acknowledge that what they are doing is abusive, and be willing to seek help and do the work to change.

For now, if they are not willing to do this, it's best you keep your distance and not keep running yourself through this. I understand, believe me maybe all to well, the desire and need to be there for someone who needs you, regardless of that effect on you. But you HAVE to take care of yourself. You can only give so many suggestions and discuss what they are doing to you, so often, before you just have to cut ties.
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mohegan View Post
But you HAVE to take care of yourself. You can only give so many suggestions and discuss what they are doing to you, so often, before you just have to cut ties.
Thank you for your words, Mohegan. It feels good to know I am not the only one whose struggled with the 'just dumb that jerk' -advice.

I find that by cutting off ties I only hurt myself more. That's why I nowadays just prefer to 'take a little break'. I am physically safe and can turn off the phone when I really am not in the mood for listening to rants. I think this change of paradigm from 'we (I) can fix this' to 'it is what it is, I made my choices years ago and now it's just a question of management' that I am experiencing.

Somewhat sad, actually.
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:02 PM
Tracey Tracey is offline
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First, I agree wholeheartedly with Mohegan -- you must take care of YOU, because in the end, no one else will. Be sure to put YOU first, at least for awhile.

It appears you've got two dynamics going on: (1) verbal/emotional abuse, and (2) a deeply ingrained, well-developed script. I hold out hope that people can change their behaviors, if the choose to do so. What's really tough to battle is that script. If this has been going on for 10 years, the two of you have a shared pattern of behaviors/responses -- your script -- that you both need to work on together. Your partner says/does something, a trigger, and you KNOW you're about to get blasted. You, in turn, react in some way that causes a trigger for your partner to activate, and before you both know it you're down some ugly path that neither of you can seem to step away from until it's run its course.

I was in a relationship for 29 years that did this very thing. I tried to get my husband to work with me on this, but in his view, there was nothing wrong with him and I was the one who needed help. When I finally left, he lamented to all who would listen that I never gave him a chance. Well, yes I did, and multiple times. But that chance was predicated on his accepting his role and responsibility in this mess, which he refused to do. I couldn't allow myself to be belittled and emotionally battered any longer -- I did what I needed to do to preserve my health, and I left. To this day (5 years later) he still doesn't get it, but it's not my problem. And that is a liberating thought!

When you can, when you're healthier and stronger, do try to step back a bit and look at your dynamic with a critical eye. While you feel compassion toward your partner, what about compassion for yourself? Do the two of you share an unhealthy script that needs to be rewritten? And are you both willing and able to revise that script? If one of you is not, is it time to put the script on the shelf and go in another direction in the writing of your life?

Sending you warmth and white light.....

Tracey
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Old 04-14-2011, 02:30 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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it was moved to the Fireplace because it's not a topic that is specific to poly relationships. abuse and/or healing can happen in any type of relationship.

Carry on folks...
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Old 04-14-2011, 02:52 PM
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Carma Carma is offline
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There are times when certain people in my life are simply too emotionally expensive for me. I can't afford to deal with them. When I'm feeling stronger, I can.

It's ok to take protective measures to keep your sanity. You don't have to swirl, just because someone else is.
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:59 PM
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Hades36 Hades36 is offline
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Although it may sound selfish, I have a really easy time of letting people go who consistently cause me pain - no matter who they are. Family, friends, lovers, children - whoever. My theory is that, if you're causing me pain, even if I love you with all my heart, then I have to get away from you because I'm no longer into martyrdom. Did that with my first wife and got me nowhere except screwed up emotionally, financially, and spiritually for several years - and that relationship was only 2 years long!

I admire people who can hang in there but I know that, for myself, after the pain and abuse reach a tipping point then I am gone - not interested in healing or making amends or building bridges. In fact, I usually nuke the bridge as I'm leaving just to make sure I don't go back over it.
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Old 04-16-2011, 05:41 PM
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Susan Forward has a great book: Emotional Blackmail. Helped me immensely when dealing with emotional abuse. She points out that people use FOG to manipulate us:
Fear
Obligation
Guilt

The book helped me to recognize when it is happening and effective tools to use to stop it.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:07 PM
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Unfortunately for the relationships, and fortunately for my sanity, I've left abusive relationships in the past. Now, I do not suffer them well. Emotional abuse is a little harder for me to get my head around, because it deals directly with the matters of the heart, but through experience of being a survivor, I have developed the ability to sever ties pretty ruthlessly. Some call it being cold, but I call it being responsible for my own.

It is what it is. You hurt me, I walk away. You don't get a second chance.

I try not to judge others who are unwilling or unable to walk away from abusive relationships. God knows I have been there and I have known what it felt like to hope against hope things would change.
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:10 PM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Thank you for the book tip, I will pick it up once my study subsidiary materializes again next month!

This morning they phoned me 24 times, so it was not a great day for distancing myself. But I feel that having so much love in my life as a result of poly and just general opening up my heart for love, I have more stamina for dealing with my more difficult loves, too.
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