Did you know......1 in 5 women in Australia are abused in an intimate relationship at some point in their adult life. In addition, 1 in 5 women also experience some kind of sexual violence/assault (ABS, 2006).
In my opinion, abuse, whether it is found in an intimate relationship, family or workplace environment rips out your soul and beats the living day lights out of your heart.While I shackled myself in my toxic relationship, I kissed goodbye to my sparkle, my self respect and most of all, my self esteem. Through shame, I lied to my friends and family, and I lied to myself. My identity departed down the plughole and yet, the very last thing I wanted to do was come clean that I was taking abuse from the very person I was in love with. Emotionally, I was a downright wreck.
Looking back, I am still bewildered to recall how sneakily the abuse seized hold of me. Prior to meeting 'Rob', I was a relatively sane 30 something who, I recall, smiled and giggled a lot. My life seemed to ticking along rather nicely and the biggest drama I had to cope with was deciding what frozen ready meal to put in the microwave. Ok, I hadn’t had a sniff of romantic encounter for a while but I managed to prevent any cobwebs appearing from partaking in a few mindless flings and dare I say it, the odd one night stand. Career wise, I was also on track to fulfil my dream of becoming a successful Life Coach, inspiring people to achieve their life long goals and live happily ever lives.
Then, one momentous day, along came my very own personal abuser who sucked the life out of me and swept me away into an existence stuffed with heartache, tears and craziness. He just sort of appeared from nowhere and turned my life around in an instant. – But oh no, not in a nice way like a winning lottery ticket.
Twelve months in, I was a nervous wreck teetering on eggshells prone to random eruptions of anxiety and anger. My friends thought I was mad and I thought I was crazy. It was my unshakeable belief that I was publically worthless and ugly - oh, and I also felt convinced that nobody, apart from Rob, would ever even consider having the hots for me. To put it in a nutshell, I believed I was fatally flawed and a full blown relationship reject.
In the space of a twelve hour day, I estimate that I squandered 6 hours formulating cunning new game plans to gain 'Rob’s' love and approval, 5 hours trying to configure my own behaviour in order to prevent me from inadvertently doing something to agitate him and maximum 60 minutes trying to convince myself that I would be better off legging it out of this relationship – pronto!
Did You Know………….That a women in an abusive relationship normally leaves her partner an average of 5 times before ending the relationship for good?
Oh, apologies, I forgot to mention that I tried every trick in the book to get 'Rob' to spot the error of his ways and treat me like a normal human being. Needless to say, after what was probably thousands of imaginative attempts, it didn’t work – but hey, I kept clinging onto the dream that maybe just maybe, I may uncover the illusive magic potion to transform him from a crusty toad into my handsome prince.
Thankfully, one afternoon, a fairy godmother friend shrewdly spotted that I was about to curl up in yet another ball of depression, waved her magic wand, and dragged me out for a dose of girlfriend therapy. It was on this day, that I met Sarah, whose words, unbeknown to her, totally blew me away! Sarah had been announcing to the group that she had decided to end her relationship with her long term partner, John. Desperate to hear more, I asked her to fill me in on the gory details. She calmly responded:
‘He informed me that he only loves me 90% - That isn’t good enough for me, so I told him that the relationship was over. I will only accept 100% positive, fulfilling love’
Wow! – I nearly choked on my vino - those words smacked me right in the heart! This was powerful thinking and boy was this chick empowered. There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that Sarah would settle for less than she deserved and she knew that anything less than 100% just wasn’t blooming good enough!
I wanted some of what she had!
I wanted to turn my back on situations and relationships where I was being fed leftover mouldy crumbs rather than being wined and dined on the full scrumptious chocolate biscuit. I wanted to prize myself enough that I was able to make choices for ME which allowed me to honour, protect and most of all, take bloody good care of myself!
At last, the epiphany had arrived:
I needed to take responsibility for my own needs and emotional wellbeing. I needed to love and care for myself enough to only accept 100% positive, healthy and fabulous relationships.
I had to quit depositing all my energy and hard work into saving a relationship which left me feeling exhausted and tormented. I needed to reclaim my life back from 'Rob' and take responsibility for my own happiness. I had to cease putting my life on hold, hanging on in there for the imaginary day where Rob would magically metamorphosis into the caring and loving man I always longed for him to be. I had to bail out from planet second best!
Some people are toxic and there is nothing you can do to change them
It is ok to release people from your life who are not supportive and kind
It is acceptable to walk away from someone, If they continually make you unhappy
Some people are simply not good for you and you need to protect yourself
You are better than all this poop you have been taking