7 Real Ways To Stop The Cycle

Q: After several miserable years I finally divorced my husband who was verbally abusive. Now I find myself dating a man who is not that different. What’s wrong with me?

A: Verbal abuse is as harmful as physical or sexual abuse and you can become more educated about this through the Internet. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a good place to start. The first order of business for you is to get out of the present relationship and, hopefully, you have family and friends to turn to for support. By talking to others who care about you and whose opinion you trust, you will gain the momentum to walk away from a situation that you certainly don’t deserve to be in.

Trying to understand your personal dynamics and what motivates you is the first step toward changing your attitudes and behavior. There can be many reasons why you allow yourself to be treated this way — perhaps you were raised in an abusive family or maybe you had a father who did not show you respect, or you don’t feel deserving of a partner who values you. Consider joining a support group or seeing a therapist who can help you identify and work through the unresolved issues that are holding you back. Many women (and men) who have been physically or verbally abused can find great comfort and actionable steps forward by seeing a therapist.

Some men, and women too, can be manipulative — nice to you one minute, then vicious. This is often followed by guilty feelings, which then cause them to be ingratiating again. If this is your situation, know that you are not alone. Many women are seduced by a covert method of control and get caught up in a web of deceit. Women’s feelings of low self-esteem and fear of leaving or fear of being alone can be the source of their toleration of abuse in a relationship.

Make this the time in your life when you refuse to be under any man’s dysfunctional influence any longer. Buy a journal and begin to write about the thoughts and feelings that relate to what you are now experiencing. You have the inner strength to move forward for yourself — you just have to access it. Affirmations are strategies that you develop, visualize, repeat and act on, in order to build self-esteem and confidence. These exercises are subjective and the ones you create need to resonate personally for you. What follows are some ideas to help you begin this important process of self-growth:

1. I avoid dangerous and toxic people.

2. The moment I hear something hurtful I speak up, quickly and firmly.

3. My unfolding requires a nourishing atmosphere.

4. There are those who value what I value.

5. I can ask for assistance as others have solutions I haven’t thought of.

6. I have the courage to actualize my intentions.

7. I know I can reach my goals.

Take these suggestions to heart and keep working on them until they feel as if they are a part of you. And before long, instead of asking what’s wrong with you, you will be more focused on what’s right.