When I was in lousy relationships where I was getting no love and respect, I always did eventually leave, each time. I didn’t want to look at myself or my entitlement and self esteem, though. I didn’t really know how to. But until I did, nothing changed in my relationships with men.
And much as I blamed them for their bad behavior and said men didn’t deserve women’s attention, I was still giving them mine. I was still making that choice. I couldn’t stop myself wanting to. At that time I felt trapped in this place of knowing my unhappiness, but not being able to get away.
Recently I met a beautiful young woman whose partner treated her like absolute dirt. Strangely, when she wasn’t with him she was very independent, doing well in her career, pretty much in control of her life. But as soon as he walked in the door – and didn’t greet her – she became a small child. It was very painful to watch how she tried so hard to please him and he just refused to love and respect to her.
All her friends – even her therapist - kept telling her that he was abusing her, that she should leave him. But she just couldn’t. She even had a copy of “He’s Just Not That Into You” but she hadn’t read it. Even if she had, I doubt it would have done any good. My point is that she was smart, beautiful, capable and courageous in many ways, but she had terrible entitlement and self esteem.
Something about him elicited a need so powerful in her that it over-rode everything else. She was desperately unhappy but she couldn’t admit it. Nor could she admit she was enabling him, or enabling herself by making excuses for him. She also couldn’t face her own emotions and feelings, couldn’t let herself be real with him.
I know what it means when somebody says “I don’t have any choice”. It’s a horrible place to be; the worst in the world. You can’t see outside of the box you believe you’re confined to. Even if somebody points out your other options, you don’t believe they’re real, or that they could be real for you.
You don’t even really understand what enabling means. As a child I had an alcoholic father and a mother who made excuses for him. She left him but hooked up with another alcoholic. When I got older I got into relationships with the same kind of men – and my mother made excuses for them, she kept telling me how great they were in other ways, and that I should be tolerant and that they did really love me.
Verity never thought she was making choices. She just thought choices were being made by everybody else and she didn’t have any options. She learned, though, that she was making the same choices her mother had always made, and that her mother was enabling her boyfriends. That was a painful thing to face.
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.