Bonding with the enemy.
Seduction, deception, and betrayal are core components of the abusive relationship.
You fell in love with the most wonderful man you’ve ever known. He adored you. He understood you. He showered you with attention, affection, and gifts. He got into your head, your heart, and your bed.
You were overwhelmed by the love you felt for him. You allowed him into your life because you trusted him. And then he began to criticize, control, and demean you and the cycle of abuse begins.
Your partner’s demeanor changes, suddenly or gradually. Once he was loving, considerate, and patient, now he ridicules you, unjustly blames and condemns you, and erupts in unprovoked, uncontrollable anger. His behavior is punishing, demoralizing, and menacing. It’s as if he enjoys the anguish and tears he causes you.
After each abusive event, he apologizes profusely for his cruel behavior and the “battering phase” ends. He appears contrite. He is quasi-agreeable, considerate, and attentive. He may agree to quit drinking or go to counseling.
In spite of his volatile, harmful behavior, you are grateful for his change of heart and you are optimistic that his remorse is genuine—so you forgive him, you have makeup sex and you enter the “calm-loving-respite phase.”
Having forgiven him, you are doubly-emotionally invested in the relationship.
Inevitably, he begins to batter you again and you are drawn deeper into the traumatic bonding experience.
Your emotional suffering is profound. You are conflicted by the intense love-hate-regret-sorrow-fearful feelings you have for your boyfriend or husband. One minute you despise him and you want him out of your life permanently and the next morning you can’t live without him.
Unaware of the dynamics of the abuse-trauma-bonding process, you describe your acute emotions as best you can—you call it love and you lament to reunite with him.
Your life becomes a constant act of emotional survival.
The cycle of abuse is a roller coaster of tension building, battering, and honeymoon.
The more times you are abused—the more times you experience your abuser’s rejection, cruelty, and treachery. If you try to leave him, he controls you with his threats and insincere and short-lived promises to change and he convinces you to stay in the relationship until his next episode of battering and violence.
Every time you reconcile with your abuser…
- You adapt and learn to cope with his disapproval, rejection, deception, cruelty, betrayal, and anger that progressively destroys your self-worth.
- You are telling him you condone his abusive behavior, giving him the green light to increase the frequency and intensity of his abuse.
- You incur more and more self-doubt, confusion, disbelief, depression, guilt, shame, isolation, anxiety, fear, and hopelessness.
- You become addicted to experiencing the “honeymoon phase,” craving his love, acceptance, and approval.
- Your sense of helplessness and dependency on your abuser increases.
Don’t ignore your oppressed reality.
If you don’t understand the destructive dynamics of an abusive relationship, you might not understand what is happening to you.
Your abusive partner’s centralized goal is to define your entire life’s experience. His abuse gradually strips you of your confidence, ambition, joy, independence, and self-worth, rendering you totally dependent on him for your security, happiness, and welfare.
Recognizing abuse for what it is, an attempt to gain power and control over another is the first step to regaining your personal power.
Learn everything you can about abusive relationships and innately angry men; read books and online articles. Don’t suffer in silence; get counseling and confide in your friends and family. Decide not to stay in an abusive relationship. Develop an exit strategy, leave him permanently, begin your personal healing, and start to rebuild your life.
Guys, flip the dialogue, women can be equally nasty critters.
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Written By Nancy Nichols
Originally Published on knowitallnancy.com
Printed with permission