WHY IS IT SO HARD TO LEAVE?
People don’t understand why the victim can’t leave or didn’t leave sooner.
They don’t understand the ‘invisible chains’ and what it is like to live in fear and confusion, constantly questioning everything and doing everything in their power to keep the peace, not rock the boat and to ensure the abuser is happy and not triggered into a rage.
Emotional abuse or toxic relationships are cruel… And the problem is, the abuse (which in my opinion is worse than physical abuse – yes I have experienced both) is so insidious.
Each story is different, but I began to see a pattern and started asking my clients what relationship their abuser had with their father. In every case they said it wasn’t close and it seemed to be they didn’t feel good enough or they weren’t living up to their fathers’ expectations.
Power and control are at the centre of these relationships and there is a cycle of three stages of abuse that take place, IDEALISATION • DEVALUATION • DISCARD...
You have been fed lie after lie, because these relationships are manufactured, and there is the promise of a fake future: you stayed in this relationship waiting. You bonded on a level you had never experienced before, you didn't realise you were being trapped and conditioned, no one does; you are not alone, but you do feel empty and very very lonely.
Every time you were discarded, you found it so difficult to let go, and this was part of the game you had no idea you were playing; you found yourself back on the pedestal, you were idealised again and felt safer (so you thought), everything was OK you were back feeling secure again, and each time this happened your focus turned to protecting the relationship at any price... The bonding that took place was so powerful, it's the same bonding that a baby should experience with his or her mother, father and caregivers, this bonding is a connection of love and trust with the person or persons you turn to when your safety is threatened.
On average it takes 7-8 times to leave this type of relationship.
You bonded to the abuser, they positioned themselves as your protector and yet they were your abuser; you turned to them when you were being attacked, by them.
You invested everything in to this relationship, your love, your time, your money, you did everything and this was one of the reasons you stayed so long. You saw the signs, you knew some of their behaviour wasn't right, but those INVISIBLE CHAINS, held you in place. The manufactured relationship gave you false hope. The bonding made sure you couldn't break free. The chemicals kept you hooked.
Have you ever played a slot machine or a penny fall game? With the penny fall or 2p fall game, you drop your coin and it it lands on a metal plate which moves backwards and forwards, it then gets pushed towards the drop, where another metal plate is doing the same. You watch the coins hanging over the edge, you strategically place each coin you put in, and you watch fall and then push other coins towards the first edge, you see the coins building up, ready to fall... You wait.
This is what was happening in your relationship.
Just like the penny fall game, it is hard to walk away. Every now and then you get a few coins that drop down and they give you hope as you watch your coins hover and hanging on to the edge...
The next one, JUST ONE MORE COIN... and you are going to get the payment, the win, the future you had planned together.
You have to remember you didn't know this was going on.
You thought the plans you were creating were real. You forgave them for a lot. And now you are waiting, just like waiting for the coins to drop from the edge, just one more time, this time it will be different. If only and maybe...
And then you run out of coins.Desperate you run round searching other machines in case someone didn't pick all their winnings up, your check all of your pockets, the bottom of your bag. You have nothing left to to feed the machine, just like your relationship, you are empty and broke...
If you have experienced an emotionally abusive relationship, be gentle with yourself. Give yourself time to heal and DO NOT LISTEN to anyone who thinks this is easy to get over and please do not set yourself a time limit!
If you have never experienced this, but you know people who have, be gentle with them, DO NOT JUDGE, instead help them find a tribe who have been through this and can support them.
Sending you lots of love