Closing the Door on Abusive Relationships

The door is closing – Image courtesy of Brad Mongomery at Flickr

“You show others how to treat you.” ~ Dr Phil

This week I have seen two of the people I love most in the world finally end abusive relationships.  One walked away from a long-term love relationship.  One walked away from their ‘dream job’.

The woman who closed the door on an abusive relationship had been in that space for decades.  For many of those years she was blinded to just how abusive the relationship was.  There was never any physical abuse – it was all the sort of emotional and verbal behaviour that isolates, dis-empowers, controls and terrorises, mixed in with a few dashes of charming, and a few sincere-sounding apologies and cries for help.

Finally, with some help from good professionals, and by listening to the strong and determined voice inside her that had been pushed down for so long, she bravely ended things.

‘Joan of Arc’ by Howard David Johnson

I hope that she doesn’t spend her time grieving over what could have been.  I hope that she now grabs life with both hands and honours the beauty and vibrancy within her that was stifled by that man. There is still time to be all that she might have been.  There is still time for love and laughter and soul freedom.

My other dear friend is a man, who has suffered seven years of physical, emotional and verbal abuse as a regular part of his work day.  He was employed in his dream job, as an advisor to a woman in a powerful position.  He’d believed in her and helped grow her career. She’s a woman who is adored by many. It was strictly a work relationship.  My friend has had a few romances during this time, but life on the road with his work has usually ended them prematurely.  He’s given everything to his job.

The woman he advises and assists has ‘issues’.  But most people don’t know that, and the entourage around her work tirelessly and often thanklessly to make sure that the world doesn’t see that side of her.  In that time my friend has known bruises, cuts, scratches and broken bones.  When finally ended it was a large crystal ashtray to the mouth, which knocked out four of his front teeth. It took a doctor in an overseas ER to make my friend see that this level of abuse was unacceptable. The doctor, also a man, arranged for a police escort to go back to the hotel where the group had been staying so my friend could collect his things.

Despite the woman’s emotional pleading, apologies and offers of more money, he packed up his things, restored his dignity and closed the door on her.

2012 is really shaking relationships of all kinds up right now.  So take a moment and check in.  At home, at work, in love and friendships:

  • are you valued?
  • are you respected?
  • is there part of you that worries, modifies your behaviour, or spends time avoiding potential triggers?
  • does the relationship help you feel good about yourself?
  • do you question your worth and who you are, because of this relationship?

Life is precious.  Life is short.  You cannot be happy in an unhappy relationship.  You cannot know love when your lover gives theirs conditionally, or perhaps doesn’t even know how to love at all.

Take a moment and check in on the relationships in your life.  If they’re not what you need them to be, take action.  Happiness might be just around the next corner.

You might also find these posts helpful:

Knowing When to Let Go

What to Do When You’re Forced to Let Go

Don’t Play the Rescue Game

Oh, and my friend with the minced-up mouth?  He was offered a terrific job two days later, by someone who had admired his work for years and always wondered how long it would take before my friend left the position he’d been in. As soon as he’s had a decent holiday, my friend is stepping up into a whole new life. And I just know it’s going to work out well…

Image from www.pathtowellness.com.au

22 thoughts on “Closing the Door on Abusive Relationships

  1. How poignant this post is…from the moment I saw “Joan” I had goosies…and before long tears.

    Funny as just earlier I was thinking how happy I am alone right now…I have never felt like this before…complete and whole…and from this place I know I will eventually meet a loving man who honours and lovingly respects me….life is definitely short and is to be lived…thank you & big hugs…Happy Sunday Sweetheart..XXXX

  2. I want to reply to this but I can’t find the right words to fit my situation without sounding like I’m crying out for sympathy. I understand the situation your female friend has lived, I’m living in a similar world and time is what I’m counting on to get me through….. maybe the situation will change. It’s awesome to read of people who have made a decision that enough is enough and have walked away…… and succeeded! arohanui xx

  3. Perfect, Nic. This morning I thought of you while I caught myself dwelling on my own decision to be honest and to let go. I wondered to myself what Nic would suggest as a ritual to seal the deal, that might help bring the phase of processing/ruminating more quickly or thoroughly to completion. Because while there was a definite sense of rightness and relief and freedom to my decision, there remains a residue that is washing around and around in my brainpan. I’d like to wash it on out. 🙂

  4. Thankfully I made this decision 5 years ago and I have never regretted it for a second. My life is now richer and more magical than I ever could have dreamed. To those of you who find themselves in this situation, great love to you as you find the courage to step into your own power. Making the decision may be difficult… after that it gets easy xx

  5. Thanks i’ve been struggling with toxic relationship between two siblings for a few years now.You have thrown me a lifeline of what i should do now.I will always have love and respect for them held in my heart,but i need to put me first.Thank you !xx

  6. Yay for your friends Nicole!! How great for you to see their transition into a more peaceful life. I am so happy for you all what an awesome story to start my day.. <3

  7. I think the part of this that had me cheering the loudest was when you told us that your friend was taking a holiday and then accepting the new job. Self care is so crucial and it’s not a one shot deal. My heart aches for each and any of us who are living with or dealing with toxic, abusive relationships. it takes courage to walk away and there are even times when we need to say “I love you…………..over there……..not here, in my life”.

  8. This is what i needed to hear today, i have just relised that i hav been in an abusive businness partnership that have drained my savings and my health and almost cost me my family, as i write this tears are runing down my face, i dont know who i am anymore. but this post has helped close that door. Thank you

  9. Nicole, you among few other bloggers helped me end my life as a victim of domestic abuse and violence. Some have done through direct contact, others just through their writings, but i am grateful for all of you. Thank you

  10. Pingback: Healing Old Hurts | Cauldrons and Cupcakes

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