Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by brainwashed, Aug 11, 2020.
What causes one to stay in an emotionally destructive relationship?
To be direct: low self esteem and self respect. When someone has low self esteem and self respect they are easily manipulated because they do not have the confidence to understand their true self worth. So, any relationship, even if it is emotionally destructive one, is a relationship such person with low self worth may easily cling to for fear of not being loved by anyone. People with low self worth would rather have the attention and negative love of an emotionally destructive relationship than fear or risk having no love at all.
For me, it was some of what OnTheHighway said, for sure, and also the fear of admitting my truth (I AM GAY!). I grew up in an era where being gay was dangerous in a lot of ways, and vilified in others. So, I did what was expected, what everybody hoped for and wanted, and I got married -- to a manipulative, self-serving, deceitful free-rider. For most of it, she never worked, she didn't have my children, she spent every dollar I earned nearly before it hit our bank account, and she was out partying with her friends every Friday, which was my only night off from my two jobs.
I agree with what @OnTheHighway said above. I stayed with my emotionally abusive ex for years and that was partly because the abusive behaviour starts quite subtly, so you get used to it and then are unable to recognise it as it gradually gets worse. Also, my ex made sure that he was financially better off than me - I had no real savings and he had fairly healthy savings - so it was hard to see that there was a way out on a practical level. On reflection, there are services out there to support with this, but like I said, I didn’t recognise that the relationship was abusive.
@NotTooLoud You’re completely right that domestic abuse where men are the victims and women the perpetrators is often downplayed or ignored completely. There should be more awareness of this and domestic abuse in general.
It took me a long time to accept that it was abuse. It was quite hard to accept that an abusive relationship was the reality of my life, particularly when things were good in other ways, and that I’d been oblivious and allowed it to continue for so long. Have you had any therapy since? My therapist and I are going to do some work on helping me to recover.
Any idea for helping those with low self-esteem? Not just about destructive relationships, but in general.
How can I help someone that has a low self-esteem and isn't even aware of it.
I think it is very hard for another non professional person to help someone with low self esteem recognize they are struggling with it and thereafter assist them with working through their shame. In the first instance, the person with low self esteem needs to first recognize and accept that they are dealing with shame resulting in low self esteem, self worth, or self respect. Second, our egos are all very fragile and trying to get through someone's ego I believe can be very difficult.
If a person with said low self esteem is open minded and self aware, then you may have a better ability to assist by being a supportive friend, family member, etc.
By listening, being supportive, allowing such person to be comfortable with you such that they are willing to make themselves vulnerable, you can help them build confidence and work through the shame. The key is to listen, don't be judgmental, have patience and understanding.
Because your self-esteem may not be good enough, you may settle because you may not think someone else will come along.
It's not easy to be alone for most people so they allow people who make ruckus into their lives and then get used to that as a baseline. It takes courage to get up and get out.
Courage, I like that but and I will add drive. The crux is drive and determination to say NO. I will turn to the late Congressman John Lewis for a comparison. He had the drive and determination to do something about inequality in America. Let me call this the "magic.to change".
It is not easy to break the chains that hold one down.
I like the term "Conviction"!
Some people allow this because they are addicted to drama. They might have had it in their family of origin and it feels normal to them. One healthy thing that people who grew up in toxic families do is they deliberately avoid drama. The risk with this is that it can cause them to be more lonely than they should be or they do not let people get too close - or in at all.
It can be exhaustion at times. It takes a lot of emotional energy to end an emotionally destructive relationship.
I have had lots of therapy, years and years, even before I left. But, just today, a friend said "You were one of her possessions." OMG, that helped so much.
During my time at university, I met someone and we were first just friends. Towards the end of our second year there, we actually got a lot closer and eventually they made a move on me. I reciprocated and though it was a little rocky to begin, our relationship was quite ok. We had to be apart for 3 months because of the summer holidays. At first everything was fantastic. I was so in love with them that I never noticed any of their red flags.
Since they felt like the perfect person to me, I never noticed their true behaviour. They would make me beg them for forgiveness, or for them to spend time with me. Manipulate me or change any rules we'd agreed on by moving the goal posts to suit their needs. They would gaslight me. The list goes on.
The emotional unrest and trauma they placed on me lasted for 12 months. To an outsider it could be asked, why didn't I just leave them? The simple answer to that is human emotion is more complex than just upping and leaving. When we're so deeply in love with someone, we only see the best in them. We just accept those nasty, horrible parts of them for just them being who they are. So we see only the good parts because that's all we want to see. We're so blinded by how much we love that person, we don't see much else. Even if it's bad.
I knew what they were doing to me. I knew how abusive they were to me. I let it happen because I was so emotionally tied to them that I let it happen because in my mind I would think, 'They have their good parts too'. I wanted to focus on all the nice things they did for me. Not all the bad.
Yes, it really helps when people on the outside validate your feelings and perception of the nature of the relationship, or even open your eyes to it.
When I was going through the process of leaving my ex, I initially relied a lot on what my therapist and others said to justify why I was planning on leaving him in the way that I did. It’s so easy to doubt yourself, which is itself part of the abuse and also why people stay in such relationships.
Low self esteem, need for external validations, weak support system, poor communication
There is absolutely nothing wrong or lacking in the person, they just need the support to be stronger and more assertive in what they want and this stems from childhood and how we are raised and how our relationships were nurtured as we grew up.
I had a very young mother who unintentionally broke my confidence with being unreasonably strict and punished too harshly without nurturing my confidence to living in fear and need for for approval and validation and then fell into a horribly destructive marriage that bled me out my spirit.
It looks years of therapy and a strong balanced support system to pull me out of my demise and see myself for what I m worth away from the need of approvals and so thankful for that, be vocal to the right people about your situation and assertive about what you want and know you deserve. It takes time but starts with the first few steps