Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And What About Me? Complaining And Resisting Change Doesn’t Stop Abuse Or Bring Love And Respect

Everybody who has that cry going on inside themselves “and what about me?” gets stuck for a while in blaming and complaining and resisting change at first.  Change is uncomfortable and scary.   But staying stuck is worse.

Jessica, 39:
At the moment I and all my friends seem pretty stuck in complaining, and the content of our complaint is all variations on the same theme.  What our partners and guys in general do to us.  What they’ve always done to us.  How they don’t give us any choice.  How they force us to be who we are.  How they make life impossible for us.

What martyrs we are, how hard we try, how much we love them, how they don’t reciprocate or appreciate us.  Sometimes I listen to us and think, what are we doing?  Why is it like this?  Why are we satisfied with just complaining and blaming men all the time?  Apart from anything else, it’s getting boring.

I often wonder, at what point in our history, or our own personal lives, did we start  giving men permission to treat us the way they do, to discount us, hurt us, use and abuse us, take us for granted?  Are we giving them permission?  Are we actually making choices even when they’re abusing or disrespecting us?

Everything we do is a choice, whether we’re aware of it or not.  We all know the dreaded word “enabling”.  It can be hard to see in ourselves, but we can see it in somebody else.  I once lived next door to a young woman who was being abused by her husband – emotionally and physically.   I couldn’t just watch and do nothing, so I told her she could stay with me. 

The first night her husband hammered at my door and threatened to kill me.  I made an appointment for the woman to see a counselor at a women’s shelter, but she refused to go.  I spoke to the counselor who told me there was actually nothing I could do.  My neighbor had to make her own decision and until she did, she would carry on being beaten up.  She said if my life was in danger I had to protect myself.

It was very hard.  I had to tell my neighbor she couldn’t stay with me if she wasn’t going to get help, so she moved back home.  She was so disempowered, and couldn’t see she had any real choices, or that by refusing to accept help she was actually enabling her abusive husband. She couldn’t see that she was as much a part of her problem as he was.  

I’m not saying he wasn’t responsible for his abuse – he was, end of story.  I don't believe abuse of any kind should be tolerated, and I don't believe we should make excuses for people who even just discount us.  I believe we have the right to hold people accountable for their behavior towards us.  We owe it to ourselves to require love and respect.

But trying to force or persuade the person who's abusing us to change doesn't solve our problem.  Our only way to get out of abuse is to face the truth of ourselves.   When we ask that question “and what about me?” we have to answer it.  What about us?  What do we feel and need?  If we don’t know how to protect ourselves, get our needs met, we have to find a way to learn.  It’s harsh, I know.

To buy my ebook And What About Me? Am I Into Him? on how to get real love and respect and be real in relationships,  Click the title.