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When do we become so...accepting?

(7 Posts)
sleepingwiththeenemy Fri 05-Apr-13 13:35:02

I was thinking about DD1 last night, and her new relationship, and thinking about how I was at 18. I was out 4 nights a week, very much into the 'sisterhood' of my friends, and generally having a good time with my female friends. None of us ever gave up mates to be with a bloke, and at the first sign of mistreatment said bloke was kicked to the kerb without a second thought. I was strong, wilful, and had a huge sense of respect for myself and my friends.

So how did I end up in several shit relationships, including one which nearly killed me and still has my life in danger now, and destroyed my DCs childhoods? How did I go from that young woman who would take no crap from anyone, to a woman who ended up homeless at the hands of an abuser?

I'm not looking for answers to my own situation, I have a whole other long running thread for that, just wondering how it happens? How do intelligent, articulate, witty women end up as punchbags?

sleepingwiththeenemy Fri 05-Apr-13 13:37:33

BTW, for anyone who isn't familiar with my situation, I am looong out of that last relationship now, had a good stretch of being single and 'finding myself' (ew, I hate that phrase but nevertheless it's apt) and am now in a fantastic relationship with a very sincere, genuine, wonderful man who treats me with the utmost respect. So it's general musings on the psychological processes really.

Chaoscarriesonagain Fri 05-Apr-13 13:42:03

Wholeheartedly agree OP.

Sorry you've found yourself in the situation.

I don't know what the answer is, all I know is the pressure I felt to confirm ; amidst me all my friends and family were settling down, and on the outside my then partner seemed wonderful.

I hid, I lied , I avoided everyone. The person I removed myself the farthest from was myself. I put up with his emotional abuse; hanging up all the time, talking me down, humiliating me , you name it. Inevitably he then got physical.

I take on your point about supposedly intelligent and wordly wise women too. Am fortunate to be in a senior position and I have a strong academic background.

When it comes down to it though, I guess all we ever want is to love and be loved in return. I believed that was the price I had to pay as no one else could possibly want me.

I now believe that I chose to accept that. I no longer want to conform. It makes me sad, and I am lonely, but far rather this than what I went through then.

It's a hard lesson. I don't think I'll ever get over what happened, I just hope ill have a chance at love in a relationship with mutual respect at some point in the near future.


PiHigh Fri 05-Apr-13 13:48:29

I think "intelligent, articulate, witty women" doesn't necessarily mean they have great self-esteem deep down. Also pressure from society to 'find a man' or 'settle down'.

Perhaps also not being aware of early abusive signs and realising when it's perhaps too late to easily just leave (e.g. pressure to be a SAHM because of the costs of childcare, then feeling trapped because you have no access to money)

I'm lucky to have never been in that sort of situation but having read numerous threads on here over the years I do realise that it is perhaps because I was lucky not to meet a man like that iykwim.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 05-Apr-13 15:24:22

I agree about the pressure to conform & settle down being a big problem. Huge pressure still on women to forgive, keep the peace, make allowances... all rubbish.

I also think it's missing the early warning signs in the first flush of romance that is the weak-link for a lot of women. Overt bad behaviour is easy to spot & hopefully avoid but it's incredibly easy for the more subtle abusive traits to get missed all together, minimised as trivial, dismissed as 'out of character' or attributed (often by other women sadly) to 'that's just how men are' <rolls eyes>. A lot of abusive behaviour is also an exaggeration of normal behaviour and, over time, it can creep in almost imperceptibly. The victim doesn't notice this, is flattered that their new boyfriend is a little jealous say, but wakes up one day and he's turned into a full-one stalker preventing her from seeing friends.

garlicballs Fri 05-Apr-13 16:07:50

Boiled frogs. I was already par-boiled by my fabulous (hmm) parents. My massively independent streak was basically a reaction against their relationship, but my standards were all wrong. I'd normalised so much unhelpful behaviour; I didn't find out that not all men hit their wives until I was 35! As I didn't realise just how bad my childhood had been, I failed to realise just how poor my self-worth really was. I suspect a lot of the beautiful, successful, witty, intelligent women who get abused are, like me, overcompensating for their self-perceived inferiority. Bullies, of course, see the weakness as well as the strength and home right in on it.

I do believe emotionally balanced, secure and well-supported people can fall for abusers - but I think it's probably quite rare, as a pre-conditioned target would be so much more rewarding to a bully. Also, that rare target will get rid of her abuser the very second she realises what's going on. The rest of us plug away for too long, trying to 'understand' the abuser and get him to 'understand' us. It's the plugging away - as taught to us in childhood - that does the long-term damage.

garlicballs Fri 05-Apr-13 16:15:26

... also, as Cogito said, popular media and society in general still pressure women to "plug away". However much awareness of red flags & abuse you'd built up, you'd have to be prepared to take a strong position in the face of all that.

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