Ladies and gentlemen: You can't change emotional abusers and physically violent men and women. They have got to want to change and usually without their enablers and victims by their sides.
The newness wears off, the good times don't remain, the promises fall by the way-side, and the pain doesn't stay gone in poor marriages and relationships. All the issues just linger on. I remember feeling so frustrated in an emotionally abusive relationship (cheating, lying, arguing, secrets, etc.) to the point that I felt like on some days I was losing my mind. I think the men who are socially sweet, yet privately cruel can be worse than the men who walk around with scowls on their faces often. You are tricked into thinking that everything is okay when a gentleman smiles even though it was just last week, last month or last year that there were more than a couple of arguments that left you feeling like nothing was truly resolved.
Victims manage their lives as best they can until the next battle and the next. In my former relationship, it was those surprising discoveries that caught me off guard. From the things he hid at work, in closets, bags, etc. to the comments about needing some time to himself and what he thought of me at times with a smirk, my stomach was frequently upset and my head hurt much from it all. I would pray, attend church, meditate, talk to relatives and acquaintances, converse with him calmly, argue with him intensely, distract myself with children, and do what I could to express just how much the man's lying, secrets, exaggerations, etc. was getting to me, but to no avail. Sometimes he would slow down with all his foolishness or stop for a time. The hopeful feeling would arise within me (maybe he is changing), but then he would start right back up again acting sneaky.
He enjoyed watching and talking to young girls and women a little too much to the point that one family member told me she was uncomfortable with the way he looked at her. The player was overly concerned about the men I would talk to and questioned me, yet he felt it was okay to have female friends given his track record. He expected us to look like the perfect family in public and dealt with us all strictly if we stressed him in any way which affected my nerves so I would be stressed as well especially if the children were out of line. He acted meanly when I couldn't do what he wanted and had a short memory when it came to all the things I had already did for him. When I needed something, he did the minimal, made excuses, or nothing at all. Always careful to follow with a compliment or give a gentle rub.
When the writing is on the wall, sometimes you dismiss it or tell yourself, "Don't make a big deal about it...don't act jealous." Looking back, I wasn't nearly as jealous as I was worried that he was going to mess around and have a baby with one of his lovers or worse bring back an STD. Sometimes I was concerned that one of our heated battles would become physical. I had already went through one violent relationship, so the last thing I wanted was another.
I knew when I was officially over the troubled man (no more make up, break up honeymoon stuff) was when I started saying to myself, "I don't care who wants him, I don't. He isn't going to change...I stick it out with him and I might end up in jail." So I made up in my mind to move on before I did something that I might later regret.
I hope some readers were paying close attention to my past experience, because I can feel that someone is very close to making a decision that may cost you your life--choose personal freedom by walking out the door or getting the police to escort your mate out the door.
What some, who have never been in dysfunctional relationships (so they say), don't realize is when a mate or lover keeps persuading you into believing in him or her that's what you do--it's difficult to break programming--it is not a sudden process.
Victims caught in a web of deceit with a controlling person or a tricky charmer try hard to appease their mates when they can. However, some critics overlook the crazy-making, the lies, the abuse, and everything else in their family members' relationships while thinking that victims will remain calm and cool with them as well. Eventually, those relationships fall apart too. A lot of time and energy is taken away from family and friends to do for controlling men and women.
If you are in a messy relationship, you are not going to be the happy-go-lucky nice, calm, sweet person you once were, expect mental, physical and bodily changes. I lost weight to the point that a relative thought I was bulimic in that same miserable relationship. I knew that I was reaching a point where I didn't want to ever do something where my ex could pull out the victim card on me despite my years of experiencing his dysfunctional ways.
In a normal relationship, people can say things like, "We were both to blame and we both did things that caused one another many issues, but we are working on bettering ourselves and treating one another with respect." However, this sort of logic and compromise doesn't happen in dysfunction. It is usually one-sided, one is all in, ready to do what's right while the other is a mere actor so that he can maintain a comfortable lifestyle. I think the more material wealth and children one has, the harder it is to break free. The one thing I did do right in that past emotional roller coaster ride of a relationship was I didn't sign my name to anything with him or any other man. Less is always better!
Stay calm and sane.
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Nicholl McGuire is the author of Socially Sweet, Privately Cruel Abusive Men and other books.