Post by Susan P. on Oct 4, 2017 15:23:33 GMT -8
From Addiction to Love . . . by Susan Peabody
Of course, knowing why you are in an abusive relationship is not enough. It is important to get out. First of all you have to face your fears.
Before I began my own recovery I had no ability to end a relationship even when it was abusive. I stayed and suffered and I never really understood why. Finally I came to realize the things that held me back and I want to share them.
We have to face our fears:
Fear of loneliness:
I'll never find anyone else
I can't make it alone
I'll be alone forever
Being alone is terrifying
I can't take care of the kids alone
I won't find a job
Fear of being a failure:
Leaving is failing
I can't mess up another relationship
Fear of cultural pressures:
I'm a Christian. I can't get divorced.
Fear mixed with guilt:
I am abandoning him
She can't make it without me
I put up with him this long, why stop now
I can't bear to hurt her
I owe her for taking care of me
Fear of reprisal:
She won't let me go without a fight
He will hurt me
He will hurt the kids
She will tell our friends lies
He won't give me financial support
Fear of suffering. I can't stand the pain
When we are ready to face our fears we need to take the following steps:
Find emotional support (group/therapist)
Be practical. Make plans regarding jobs and housing.
How we leave depends on our situation and what works. Some people, for the sake of their sanity or because they have children with their partner, have to ease off. Some people can only make the separation if they never see the person again. Some of people can become friends, but only after the grief is over.
Facing withdrawal after we have left:
We can make a list of everything that supports our decision to leave, and re-read it when we are tempted to go running back.
We can write in our journal. Express our feelings.
We can stay close to your friends:
To get advice
To remind us of why we left
To listen to us
For assistance in re-entry
We can separate thoughts from feelings. Change "desperate" thoughts to "manageable" thoughts and let go of thoughts that cause fear.
We can deal with our depression:
Depression will be part of our withdrawal symptoms. Emotional depression is experienced when love addicts are overloaded with anger, frustration, anxiety and fear. It is experienced midway between letting go and real acceptance. That is, when we have let go in our conscious state (mind) but are still holding on in their unconscious state (heart), we are apt to become depressed. This is natural and part of the process of moving on. Usually our inner child is taking over at this point and we are feeling "blue" because our need to attach with someone has been thwarted once again. And we are also afraid. We feel abandoned and/or rejected. We feel alone and cut adrift from everybody and everything, so we shut down. Remember that depression is a secondary emotional state caused by the primary emotions of anger, fear, and hopelessness. We can work on letting go of these feelings and the depression will lift.
What to do about depression:
We should check with our doctor to see if we have a physiological problem. But be careful; many doctors are too eager to mask the symptoms of depression with drugs and sometimes it is better to deal with our feelings outright.
We can read about depression. (Try David Burn's Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.)
We can look more closely at the source of our depression. Is it just the ending of the relationship or did that trigger other feelings left over from the past?
We need to face our depression. By this I mean don't worry about it. Just flow with it until it passes.
We should take good care of our health.
We can be especially nice to ourselves
We can stop blaming ourselves and comparing ourselves to others.
We should not look at this as failure.
We should not shut down and isolate
We need to talk about our feelings to someone we can trust.
We can keep busy and keep our spiritual program strong.
We can do something new and look at the bright side.
This is the time to think about what we have learned and what changes we will be making in the future.
Resistance from your partner:
Some partners cry, plead, and promise to change. Some partners threaten to hurt themselves. They make a suicide attempt, or they abuse drugs and/or alcohol. Some partners get violent or at least threaten you with bodily harm. Some partners withhold financial resources such as alimony or child support. All of this is designed to get us to feel sorry for them and change our mind about leaving.
Despite resistance from your partner, we need to hang in there. This may mean changing our phone number or getting a restraining order, but if it is time to move on we have to be willing to go to any length.
Most of all we must remember that if we are in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, and our needs are not being met, it is time to move on and find the happiness we deserve.
Remember: “Success lies in being able to retreat at the right moment and in the right manner. The success is made possible by the fact that the retreat is not the forced flight of a weak person but the voluntary withdrawal of a strong one.” The I Ching or Book of Changes