A child is doted on for a lifetime growing up. Once grown he/she expects to be doted on and while not coming right out and saying so, this child will want more of the same and why not.
So I ask why we would ever expect an abused child to grow up saying, I want something different? It seems so predictable that we would want better for ourselves because abuse and lack of respect are so painful and who wouldn’t want to change that?
As the survivor of such treatment I can only relate my own experience in breaking a cycle of abuse and reprogramming from expectation to creation.
First there must be recognition of what your expectations are. This can prove to be difficult as we all suffer from some sort of denial about where we have been. Most of us like to fantasize about the life we know and becoming brutally honest with ourselves about that is crucial to recovering and becoming comfortable with the new experience.
In my own experience it wasn’t so much the denial of where I had come from, but of whom I had become as a result of my experiences. You see the experience forms us and we tend to identify with the emotions that surface as a result of things like verbal abuse and abandonment.
The best way to describe this is to share a reflection that I was mulling over just recently as I took a long ride with a friend of mine to Key Largo from Orlando. My friend and I were talking about past relationships; mine more specifically since she had just lost her partner of 26 years to cancer. I in turn have been through a couple of long term relationships along with a couple short term relationships.
Don’t get me wrong, in 16 years of being in relationships, two were 7 years long and two were a year long.
Using the long term relationships as my guide I began to tell my friend of my experiences and we both agreed that I am probably ill equipped to engage in anymore of that.
You see as I reflected on those individuals, I found many common denominators. Both of my partners were controlling, belittling, verbally and financially abusive.
What struck me as curious in the duplication weren’t so much the individuals themselves as much as their behavior in other relationships.
Neither of these partners treated partners before me or after me like they treated me. I had to be brutally honest about why.
First I had to note that no one in their right mind would put with a partner who drew frowning faces on the calendar when they perceived that you made them sad, and happy faces on the days you made them happy. This put in full vision an account of how many days you made your partner sad as opposed to happy. And like a good controller, the sad days always outnumbered the happy ones.
No one in their right mind would agree to let someone go through your glove box every time you left them in the car to go into a store. To read through your journals or to tell you that if you go out with friends on your own they will leave you, even though they do it all the time.
Who wants to be with someone that if you earn nothing its okay. If you earn $200 a week so you need to give $180 to the household and if you earn $600 then $580 is due. Someone who is asked by a therapist if it is really fair to expect your partner to pay half the expenses even though they earn 10 times more than you and the answer was yes.
Unfortunately I saw this too late but it was me that created this environment. Why did I put up with it? Well in my mind if I didn’t I would be left alone. I never once stood up to this behavior because I was convinced through my experiences that it was the best I could do.
It didn’t even hit me when I saw one of these exes ask her present girlfriend “is it okay if I smoke a cigarette?” and her girlfriend responded “what part of no don’t you understand?” It was what I considered a moment of victory for me and yet it made me question what had just happened. This same ex kicked me out of the house when we broke up while I had an eight year old in tow, left her house and paid the bills while her present girlfriend, who also had a child, figured out what she was going to do. Her reasoning was that it wasn’t fair to displace the child. Hmmm? Was it that or was she extending the hope that her partner would stay?
What happened was a transfer of insecurity. My confident and superior partner was now me.
They were now insecure of being left alone and had handed power over to the one they feared would leave them, just like me once.
My point is this…
…your expectation of being less than, will produce the result of how you will be treated.
Can you change your expectation? Or should you instead rely on what is true and fair?
If anything were to happen to either of these exes I don’t think I will dwell on any of these facts. Instead I will always remember the human that I loved and will miss.
Stay in the love, in the now and most importantly in the human factor which we all share.