People stay in negative situations and abusive relationships for three reasons; fear, social or cultural reasons, and personal beliefs, but at some point, you might decide, "That's it. I've had enough. I'm done!"
Fear is a trauma based emotion. If you suffer a traumatic event, situation, or ongoing emotional, mental or physical abuse, fear will greatly impact your health if it is not dealt with. It can even cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yes, people who survive codependent and abusive relationships can develop PTSD. This is why I thought it befitting to offer up some advice on what to do if you have decided to leave a narcissistic or abusive relationship. But, before moving on I'd like to address sexual abuse.
Abusive relationships can also involve some sexual abuse in many forms and involve all manner of boundary issues, such as neglect (where your needs are not being met physically or are painfully criticized), unrealistic expectations, and even rape. None of these are acceptable. You should never be made to do something outside of your comfort zone or be criticized or abused when you say no. And your need for intimacy (being emotionally and physically close to another) should never be abandoned. See HSP Resources for free support if you have ever been sexually abused.
When You Decide You are Leaving: What to Do Before Going
Most people in codependent and abusive relationships think about leaving for 2-3 years before ever doing so and have already considered some of the suggestions below for leaving their abusive relationship. Hopefully, you'll discover a few new ideas to add to your list of things to achieve before finally walking out the door and never looking back.
Divorce Advice for Women is an excellent place to start if you are looking for legal advice. Although this reference contains valuable information for a married woman leaving an abusive spouse, I would think the advice could easily apply to men as well.
Photograph courtesy of Weebly.com with sepia overlay and ripple-effect.
If your wish to resolve conflicts is not appreciated or respected and your partner refuses to communicate in your relationships to resolve issues or your find that most of what is written in my blog, Is Your Relationship in Hot Water?, is true for you, it could be you are involved with a narcissist.
A narcissist, by definition, is someone who includes you in their life for the sole purpose of making themselves look good to the world. Your wonderful qualities makes them shine to their family, coworkers and friends. This makes them feel great about themselves. Narcissists easily come across as stable, charming, generous, and the answer to your dreams, but it's only a manipulation, a bait. It's not about you. It's never about you, your feelings, your wants, needs or desires. It's always about theirs, what they want, what they need, what they desire.
Oh, life may seem intoxicating and wonderful in the beginning of a relationship with a narcissist, until you realize something doesn't feel quite right. At that point, you may begin to ask your partner questions, which will not bode well with the narcissist. You see, feelings, particularly yours, don't matter to the narcissist. What matters is that you continue to make them the center of your universe and continue to feed them what they need to feel good about themselves. Narcissism goes beyond just ordinary selfishness and conceit. It is the inability to truly have empathy or compassion for others, unless it suits a personal purpose. In other words, they do not know how to love.
Narcissism goes beyond just ordinary arrogance, selfishness and conceit. It is the inability to truly have any compassion for others. And, you cannot teach them. Being a good example will never change the narcissist. You will not win that battle. It will only drain you of what is left of your reserves and kill your self-esteem in the process. It may even make you incredibly ill.
Once the narcissist begins to see or feel you are resisting their antics, your narcissistic mate will begin to show a very cruel side. You may find they become physically abusive.
To demand respect, attention, or appreciation from a narcissist is futile. If they believe you still add value to their lives in some way they might allow you a glimpse of the person you always thought they were for a short time, just to reel you back in. They may buy you something they know you've wanted. More likely, they will try to bribe you to stay by producing something they know you need, whether it's food in the cupboard, a bill paid, or a long awaited hug.
Emotional Warning Signs of Being in a Relationship with a Narcissist
You feel negative and lonely (or like something is missing) most of the time.
You get down on yourself and feel guilty when you think about doing the things that used to do that made you happy (visiting with loved ones, focusing on your career, working out, wearing makeup, and nice clothes, etc.). This can feel like depression or fatigue. It is actually oppression.
Even when things are going well in your relationship, you can't stop the feeling that, at any minute, things are going to become bad again and your world is going to come tumbling down. And, it will. Narcissist automatically sense when you are too happy. Your happiness makes them feel vulnerable (as if they have lost the upper hand) and they will hurt you for it one way or another. When you feel this way and are treated this way for any length of time your self-esteem suffers terribly. You can begin to doubt yourself in ways you never have before.
Also see How to Move Safely Away from an Abusive Relationship.
Photo Credit: Mask (iStock.com #174917746) with sepia overlay.
Most people value being in a close, loving relationship. This is wonderful and healthy. However, if you are the soft-hearted type and have a need for peace (which is often an underlying need to feel secure, by the way) you may attract the wrong people.
You know, if you throw a frog in hot water, it will surely jump out and run. However, if you place it in cool water and slowly heat it to boiling, it will stay put, stew, and die. You might say "dumb frog". Guess what? There are dumb people too. I know. I've been one. Well, maybe not dumb, but, certainly, gullible. I've also kissed more than one toad while looking for my prince charming and ended up with my share of emotional warts.
We enter relationships when they are cool. In the beginning, our partners may seem to balance us and make up for what we feel we lack. Sadly, the result is that we end up making decisions for ourselves based on emotions that are not always in our best interest. As our relationships "heat up" (become increasingly unsatisfying) we often stay anyway, allowing them to drain us of our precious energy and our self-esteem, making us ill, and, sometimes, even killing us.
It's a good idea to check the temperature of your relationships and situations often. Emotional tension or physical suffering of any kind may be a clue that you are in very hot water. Constantly being stressed or fearful is hazardous to your health. And, it should be OK with your partner to ask him or her how they feel the relationship is going if you are uncertain. Questions such as this are welcomed in healthy relationships.
Relationship Red Flags
Red flags are those emotional alerts that are demanding our attention. They tell us when something is not quite right about a person, place or thing. Pay attention. Trust your gut feeling and the emotions you experience when you are around others. Walking around on "eggshells" all of the time is a sign of abuse. Meaning, if you do not feel comfortable or safe being yourself around another person some sort of abuse or neglect is most likely involved.
Signs of Being in a Toxic Relationship
If your wish to resolve conflicts is not appreciated or respected, this is another red flag. Perform an evaluation of your relationship and establish some boundaries and priorities. Lets' face it. Sometimes, we can all be a bit of a jerk, but if this attitude from your partner (family, coworker, boss, etc.) continues, seriously consider breaking off this relationship before it breaks you. Do not make the mistake of thinking it is easier or safer to stay where you are.
Photograph courtesy of Weebly.com with sepia overlay.
There's so much that goes into a love relationship, your heart, your soul, your dreams and wishes, your worst fears, and any leftover emotional baggage, that it is important to consider what goes into a healthy relationship in order to continue nourishing the relationship you already value or before starting another.
If you are in a mostly difficult, unhappy, or abusive relationship you can almost expect to have more frequent breakouts. And, it doesn't matter how old you are. You may have heard that herpes breakouts tend to appear less often as you age. This is not true for the person suffering from ongoing emotional stress. In fact, herpes can become chronic when you are under ongoing stress and one source of ongoing stress is a poor relationship with your mate. Below, you'll discover the three cornerstones of a healthy relationship; one you can relax and feel secure in.
Most people could probably go longer without water than without unconditional love.
If love or joy go missing from your life for a prolonged period of time your energy levels will suffer and you will be more prone to dis-ease.
All people, sensitive or not, need unconditional love, but, it's not just love from others that's needed, although that is an important factor. Self-love has to exist as well. When you love yourself, wellness follows. When you love yourself you are able to allow others to love you too.
Love isn't just something you feel. After all, if you love someone and never tell them or show them, it's highly unlikely they will know. No. Love is an action. It's something you do.
Without love and joy you are being held back from living through your senses because that is how love is experienced.
Understanding & Intimacy
Understanding and intimacy are vital factors in developing healthy relationships and keeping them that way. Intimacy isn't sex, although it can be an expression of intimacy. Intimacy is the ability to be close, to be yourself, and to feel safe in that closeness as you reveal yourself to another. You cannot have intimacy without kindness. And, kindness takes understanding. Acts of understanding and kindness allow your body to remain relaxed (without tension) and emotions content enough to be intimate (close).
The Ability to Share Simple Pleasures
You can't truly live your life or feel alive without using your senses. Enjoying the simple things in life; a golden sunset, a puppy bounding clumsily across the grass, or cuddling beside a loved one during a movie lifts your spirits and fills us you with love and joy. Why? Because you are getting the chance to react to your senses in a positive way that promotes wellness. Healthy relationships are one of the cornerstones of emotional and physical wellness and to share simple pleasures is healthy indeed.
Photography Credit: Holding Hands (iStock.com #641831648) with sepia overlay.
Mari J. Dionne ~ CHP, CLC
"The older I get the more sure I am that one's thoughts create one's reality. They say home is where the heart is but I have found it is the mind that that determines where one's heart resides."
Forgotten English Health Terms
Fish-Whole - as sound as a fish or healthy
Blind Cupid - the backside
Accoucheur - a male mid-wife
Kingsevil - a disease or swelling of the cervical lymph nodes
Valitudinary - subject to sickness; crazy
Chime-Child -a child born on Sunday who was immune to witchcraft, could see ghosts, and was a natural healer
Periblepsis - a delirious stare of the eyes
Wormland - churchyard
Green-Sickness - a disease incident to virgins; sickly paleness, with green tint of complexion
Tissek or Tissicky Cough - a tickling faint cough
Multiplying Medicine - an elixer of the alchemists, used in making and multiplying gold
Peat-Reek-Whisky - highland whiskey, distilled over peat fires
Belly-Brussen - a distended stomach or having a protuberant stomach
Oint - to smear with an unctuous substance (usually having to do with painting or disguising something)
Farbed-Up - confused
Nyctobasis - somnambulism; to walk in one's sleep
Roozles - wretchedness of mind and body
Coolth - coolness (opposite of warmth)
Pharmacopolist - an apothecary
Laver - to wash (before dinner)
Gothicism - to be rude or rudeness
Desuetude - lack of use
Splay the Bream - to cut up that fish
Doctor of Skill - a physician
Dendranthoplology - the theory that man sprang from trees
Fash - to care, to trouble one's self, anxiety
Satisfy Colon - to satisfy one's hunger
Neurasthenia - debility or impairment of the nerves
Trollibags - the intestines
Cothish - faint, sickly, ailing
Fogo - a disagreeable stink, stench, or smell
With Squirrel - pregnant
Pottinger - a cook, apothecary, druggist (Scotland)
Pomster - a quack doctor; to treat illness without knowledge or skill
Bleflummery - vain imaginings
Venefice - a practice of poisoning
Weaponsalve - a salve that was supposed to cure the wound by applying it to the weapon that caused it
Overset - to recover from mental shock
Fordolked - wounded
Wamblecropped - humiliated
Peffle - in a nervous state
Measondue - a hospital or poor house
Dead-Nip - a blue mark on the body not caused by an injury or any known cause...sometimes called a witch's nip
Sadly On - expressing that a person is ill or in a bad way
Whirligigs or Tallywags - testicles
Betwattled - to be surprised, confounded, out of one’s senses
Bone Box - the mouth
Dicked in the Nob - silly, crazed
Head Rails - teeth
Hickey - tipsy, hiccupping
Knowledge box - a term for the head
Sugar stick - the virile member
Pimpish - Dainty in the matter of food (taking in small quantities)
Witchify - to bewitch
Naufrage - shipwreck
Artwork & Photography Credits
Side Bar: Pen & Ink, Old Door, and Star (iStock.com ~ All rights reserved.) with sepia overlays.