Posted by: Anonymous | 2009/05/11

do certain characters attract abuse?

Hi I never had a healthy relationship with my father growing up - I seemed to be the black sheep in his eyes and was mentally abused by him. I was in a long term relationship for about 4 years and this was also abusive (physical &  mental). I have now been married for 22 years and there is the same pattern of mental abuse..... what am I doing wrong, is it my type of character??. I do not have a a strong character and do have a soft nature... Do you think this is the problem? How does one change your character and become strong? Please help!

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Our expert says:
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Some behaviours may be more likely to encourge abuse than characters as such. You found your father's behaviour to be unpleasant and menaly abusive, and now, you seem to be saying, you find that YOU are similarly abusive in your two long-term relaionships ? Or are you saying that your partners in both these relaionships are mentall abusive towards you ? Seeing a counsellor / Psychotherapist can help you to learn from these experiences about how to respond to such behaviours when you encounter them, and how to be assertive without being affressive, how to improve your self-esteem , and how to defend yourslf effectively. Its not that you have to change your whole character, which sounds like a nice on, but to change your skills and some behaviours
Nobody deserves abuse. You can also usefull learn about how to avoid choosing to spend time wih and link with potentially abusive people.
The over-all strategy Liza outlines makes excellent sense.

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Posted by: Liza | 2009/05/11

Do not for one instant think that you ' attract'  abuse. Its one step closer to thinking that you ' deserve'  the abuse.

You certainly have had bad luck and perhaps the choices you have been making are not the correct ones, but this can be changed. Contact Lifeline and find a good psychologist to help with your self-esteem issues as well working on better ways to make choices. When you are feeling relatively secure after some therapy, try and get your husband to go for couples counseling to stop the mental abuse. Perhaps he is not aware that he is being abusive. And if he doesn' t want to go for counseling, try and tell him that he needs to go with to help you with your perception that he is abusing you. Even if that isn' t really true. With some well placed questions and comments from the counselor, the truth will come out and he will have to admit that there is a problem.

If that doesn' t work - you either have to accept the situation, or leave the situation. And I think that you deserve better than just accepting the situation. If you need help and support in leaving - you' re always welcome to rant and rave as well as request help right here.

Good Luck

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