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why we can love someone abusive

Why We Can Love Someone Abusive And Why We Stay

why we can love someone abusive

 

Falling in love happens to us; usually, before we really know our partner; It happens to us because we’re at the mercy of unconscious forces, commonly referred to as “chemistry.”

Don’t judge yourself for loving someone who doesn’t treat you with care and respect, because by the time the relationship turns abusive, you’re attached and want to maintain your connection and love. There may have been hints of abuse at the beginning that were overlooked because abusers are good at seduction and wait until they know we’re hooked before showing their true colors.

By then, our love is cemented and doesn’t die easily. It’s possible and even probable to know we’re unsafe and still love an abuser. Research shows that even victims of violence on average experience seven incidents before permanently leaving their abusive partner.

It can feel humiliating to stay in an abusive relationship. Those who don’t understand ask why we love someone abusive and why we stay. We don’t have good answers. But there are valid reasons. Our motivations are outside our awareness and control because we’re wired to attach for survival. These instincts control our feelings and behavior.

Why We Love Someone Abusive

Denial of Abuse to Survive

If we weren’t treated with respect in our family and have low self-esteem, we will tend to deny the abuse. We won’t expect to be treated better than how were controlled, demeaned, or punished by a parent. Denial doesn’t mean we don’t know what’s happening. Instead, we minimize or rationalize it and/or its impact.

We may not realize it’s actually abuse. Research shows we deny for survival to stay attached and procreate for survival of the species. Facts and feelings that would normally undermine love are minimized or twisted so that we overlook them or blame ourselves in order to keep loving. By appeasing our partner and connecting to love, we stop hurting. Love is rekindled and we feel safe again.

Projection, Idealization, and Repetition Compulsion

When we fall in love, if we haven’t worked through trauma from our childhood, we’re more susceptible to idealizing our partner when dating. It’s likely that we will seek out someone who reminds us of a parent with whom we have unfinished business, not necessary of our opposite-sex parent.

We might be attracted to someone who has aspects of both parents. Our unconscious is trying to mend our past by reliving it in the hopes that we’ll master the situation and receive the love we didn’t get as a child. This helps us overlook signs that would be predictive of trouble.

The Cycle of Abuse

After an abusive episode, often there’s a honeymoon period. This is part of the Cycle of Abuse. The abuser may seek connection and act romantic, apologetic, or remorseful. Regardless, we’re relieved that there’s peace for now. We believe promises that it will never happen again, because we want to and because we’re wired to attach. The breach of the emotional bond feels worse than the abuse. We yearn to feel connected again.

Often the abuser professes to love us. We want to believe it and feel reassured about the relationship, hopeful, and lovable. Our denial provides an illusion of safety. This is called the “Merry-Go-Round” of denial that happens in alcoholic relationships after a bout of drinking followed by promises of sobriety.

Low Self-Esteem

Due to low self-esteem, we believe the abuser’s belittling, blame, and criticisms, which further lessen our self-esteem and confidence in our own perceptions. They intentionally do this for power and control. We’re brainwashed into thinking we have to change in order to make the relationship work.

We blame ourselves and try harder to meet the abuser’s demands. We may interpret sexual overtures, crumbs of kindness, or just absence of abuse as signs of love or hope that the relationship will improve. Thus, as trust in ourselves declines, our idealization and love for an abuser remain intact. We may even doubt that we could find anything better.

Empathy for the Abuser

Many of us have empathy for the abuser, but not for ourselves. We are unaware of our needs and would feel ashamed asking for them. This makes us susceptible to manipulation if an abuser plays the victim, exaggerates guilt, shows remorse, blames us, or talks about a troubled past (they usually have one). Our empathy feeds our denial system by supplying justification, rationalization, and minimization of the pain we endure.

Most victims hide the abuse from friends and relatives to protect the abuser, both out of empathy and shame about being abused. Secrecy is a mistake and gives the abuser more power.

Positive Aspects

Undoubtedly the abuser and the relationship have positive aspects that we enjoy or miss, especially the early romance and good times. We recall or look forward to their recurrence if we stay. We imagine if only he or she would control his or her anger, or agree to get help, or just change one thing, everything would be better. This is our denial.

Often abusers are also good providers, offer a social life, or have special talents. Narcissists can be exceedingly interesting and charming.  Many spouses claim that they enjoy the narcissist’s company and lifestyle despite the abuse. People with a borderline personality can light up your life with excitement . . . when they’re in a good mood. Sociopaths can pretend to be whatever you want . . . for their own purposes. You won’t realize what they’re up to for some time.

Intermittent Reinforcement and Trauma Bonding

When we receive occasional and unpredictable positive and negative intermittent reinforcement, we keep looking for the positive. It keeps us addictively hooked. Partners may be emotionally unavailable or have an avoidant attachment style. They may periodically want closeness. After a wonderful, intimate evening, they pull away, shut down, or are abusive. When we don’t hear from the person, we become anxious and keep seeking closeness. We mislabel our pain and longing as love.

Especially people with a personality disorder might intentionally do this to manipulate and control us with rejection or withholding. Then they randomly fulfill our needs. We become addicted to seeking a positive response.

Over time, periods of withdrawal are longer, but we’re trained to stay, walk on eggshells, and wait and hope for connection. This is called “trauma bonding” due to repeated cycles of abuse in which the intermittent reinforcement of reward and punishment creates emotional bonds that resist change.

It explains why abusive relationships are the most difficult to leave, and we become codependent on the abuser. We may completely lose ourselves trying to please and not displease the abuser. Bits of kindness or closeness feel all the more poignant (like make-up sex) because we’re been starved and are relieved to feel loved. This feeds the Cycle of Abuse.

Abusers will turn on the charm if you threaten to leave, but it’s just another temporary ploy to reassert control. Expect to go through withdrawal after you leave. You may still miss and love the abuser.

When we feel completely under the control of the abuser and can’t escape from physical injury, we can develop “Stockholm Syndrome,” a term applied to captives. Any act of kindness or even absence of violence feels like a sign of friendship and being cared for. The abuser seems less threatening. We imagine we’re friends and can love the abuser, believing we’re in this together.

This occurs in intimate relationships that are less perilous due to the power of chemistry, physical attraction, and sexual bonding. We’re loyal to a fault. We want to protect the abuser whom we’re attached to rather than ourselves. We feel guilty talking to outsiders, leaving the relationship, or calling the police. Outsiders who try to help feel threatening.

For example, counselors and Twelve-Step Programs may be viewed as interlopers who “want to brainwash and separate us.” This reinforces the toxic bond and isolates us from help . . . what the abuser wants!

Steps You Can Take

If you feel trapped in a relationship or can’t get over your ex:

  • Seek support and professional help. Attend CoDA meetings.
  • Get information and challenge your denial.
  • Report violence and take steps to protect yourself from violence and emotional abuse.
  • When you miss the abuser or are longing for attention, in your mind substitute the parent whom you’re projecting on your partner. Write about and grieve that relationship.
  • Be more loving to yourself. Meet your needs.
  • Learn to set boundaries.

©Darlene Lancer 2019

The post Why We Can Love Someone Abusive And Why We Stay appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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physically fit on a single mom

How to Stay Physically Fit On a Single Mom’s Budget

physically fit on a single mom's budget

 

Staying in shape is not easy when you are a single Mom. Either you cannot go out because you need to look after your kids, and when you actually can those fancy fitness classes are just too expensive. However, even if you cannot afford a gym membership it is time to dust off your sneakers.

There are so many free ways to work out and burn those calories, so just pick the one you like and work those muscles!

Staying Physically Fit on a Single Mom’s Budget

Download an app

Instead of listening to your trainer telling you what to do, you can listen to an app. Although some apps you will need to purchase, there are fitness apps that won’t cost you anything. Whether you prefer running or full-body workouts, you will definitely find an app that meets your needs.

Join a club

Not like a fitness club, those can be pricey. These days a lot of people are searching for like-minded individuals online and forming fitness groups anybody can join. There are all kinds of clubs, from marathon training teams to yoga clubs. The best thing about working out in a group like this is that you will receive support and encouragement that can positively influence your exercise habits. Peer pressure is not always a bad thing, you know!

Go hiking

Were you going to the gym just so you could spend some time on a treadmill? Well, forget about paying for a membership and explore the great outdoors for free. There are so many trails just waiting for you to discover them, so pack your backpack and hit the road.

Use your bodyweight

Did you know that short, high-intensity bodyweight workouts are more efficient than never-ending cardio routines? Training with a resistance band is a cheap yet really effective way to get in shape. With just a band (that can easily fit in your bag) and your body, you will be able to exercise anywhere – at home, work or in the park.

Exercise on your way to work

Even if you are a single Mom who spends all of her time with her precious babies, you still have to put the food on the table, right? Since you have to work anyway, you might as well exercise on your way to the office.  By walking, jogging or biking to work, not only will you get in shape, but you will save money on gas or public transportation while doing our planet a favor.

 Search for free fitness events in your town

If you live in a city, there is a good chance you will be able to find at least a dozen free fitness events in your area every month. You can track them down on Facebook’s events page and since plenty of them are indoors, you will be able to sweat your worries away even during those cold or rainy days.

YouTube to the rescue

Every day we use YouTube to learn all kinds of things, from how to make a fishtail braid, do our makeup to how to make the best chocolate chip cookies for the kids. Therefore, why not use YouTube to get fit? Nowadays so many personal trainers have their own channels and are regularly posting videos to YouTube. This is a great option for all you single Moms who need to keep an eye on your children during the day. So, skip the expensive fees and go straight to sweating.

Hit the road, Jack

The best thing about running is that it is completely free and you can do it almost anywhere. Whether you live in a village, small town or a huge city, you can find an interesting route through your neighborhood, or do a quick Google search and see whether your local high school or college track is open to the public.

Do Yoga at home

What do you need in order to do yoga? Just a mat, right? So why should you pay for a yoga membership when you can easily find thousands of free yoga resources online, and get fit from the comfort of your living room.

Getting fit and burning those calories doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you cannot afford the gym membership or leaving your home for more than 15 minutes is not an option, with these tips you will be able to easily get in shape.

The post How to Stay Physically Fit On a Single Mom’s Budget appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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getting divorced is hard

Getting Divorced is Hard: Here’s How Women Can Stay Healthy

getting divorced is hard

 

There is no denying that divorce is an incredibly painful experience. The range of emotions you might feel, from anger to depression, can be similar to the kind of grief that accompanies a physical loss. Fortunately, there are ways to find, and maintain, your emotional balance during this difficult time.

According to US News & World Report, self-care can have both immediate and long-term benefits. It can reduce your risk of chronic health problems and keep you mentally sharp. Here are four tips for staying healthy during a divorce.

Getting Divorced is Hard: 4 Ways to Stay Healthy

Get Exercise

Staying fit doesn’t need to involve anything fancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, any amount of physical exercise can have immediate benefits. You can improve your mood, maintain your weight, and help you get better sleep. All of these are important during a divorce, when things may feel really out of whack. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator at the office or walking around the block during your lunch break. Exercise can also be a social experience.

Get your friends together to power walk at the mall or commit to a regular spin class. Getting out and staying social can help you avoid falling into a mental rut in the midst of your divorce.

Eat Healthily

Maintaining an exercise routine and eating healthy go hand-in-hand. We all respond to stress in different ways. Some of us might stress eat or avoid food entirely, which can cause our weight to fluctuate.

Take control of your diet by eliminating unhealthy foods like chips and soda. Try your best to eat three square meals per day that balance carbs, protein, and healthy fats. You might feel like eating is the last thing you want to do. Something simple like a smoothie or comforting like a grilled cheese sandwich can give you the nourishment you need when you’re hungry without the effort of making a full meal.

Stick to a Routine

Mental Health America advises against going through a divorce completely on your own. A smart smoke detector can send you alerts on your phone so you can focus on your daily routine knowing your home is protected.

Make sure to get up and go to work at the same time every day and do your best to maintain connections with the friends and family that care about you. It’s also okay to give yourself permission to grieve and be angry or frustrated. Emotional healing takes time. It’s perfectly normal to not rebound immediately.

Explore your interests away from the activities you enjoyed with your partner. Invest in yourself and the things you’ve always wanted to do. Sign up for a painting class or volunteer at a local charity. Things might not feel the same anymore but broadening your horizons can help you focus on the future as you begin to build a new life for yourself.

If you have children, take time to listen to their worries. Reassure them that the divorce is not their fault. Keep their daily and weekly routines as stable as possible. If there were activities that you all did together as a family, you can either adjust them or create new ones.

Create a Mind-Body Balance

Self-care isn’t just about tending to the physical body; our emotional bodies need love and support, too. Work either on your own or with a counselor to build a mind-body practice that makes sense for you. It might involve meditating, yoga, prayer, or deep breathing.

Most importantly, remember to value yourself. You are important and worthwhile, and nothing can change that. These tips can help guide you towards finding your equilibrium in the chaos.

The post Getting Divorced is Hard: Here’s How Women Can Stay Healthy appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Should You Stay Together for the Children’s Sake

Should You Stay Together for the Children’s Sake

Basically, when it comes to divorce and children a parent should do what they know to be in their child’s best interest.

The post Should You Stay Together for the Children’s Sake appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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How to Stay Motivated at Work While Going Through Divorce

How to Stay Motivated at Work While Going Through Divorce

When your divorce is finally over, you can remain rooted in your career and find fulfillment in how you were able to stick with it even through one of the most difficult times of your life.

The post How to Stay Motivated at Work While Going Through Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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