“It’ll never happen again”
Updated: Mar 1, 2020
“It’ll never happen again”
“I didn’t mean it, I was just angry”, “You’ll never find someone who loves you like me”, “I’m doing it because I want the best for you”, “You made me do this”, “You are just being paranoid”. These are just some of the comments that I’ve heard some clients relay to me as excuses they’ve been given, to explain away coercive and bad behaviour they’ve experienced. Perhaps these comments seem harmless, remorseful, loving. Actually, these are controlling comments, designed to justify unreasonable behaviour and manipulate the next actions of the person hearing them.
On the face of it, a harmful or abusive relationship can seem perfect, flawless and enviable. Behind the scenes, when nobody is watching, quite the opposite. When we think of domestic violence, we picture the broken partner – bullied, black eyes, flinching at the slightest noise, scared of their partner. All too often, these are the tell-tale signs of an abusive relationship but not all abusive relationships are violent. If it is in someone’s nature to abuse, control, degrade and manipulate – physical violence will likely be just one tool in their arsenal. What about the more discreet methods; intimidating stares, degrading smirks, punishing silences, financially cutting off a dependant, deliberate humiliation, threatening gestures from across the room?
These are not normal or obvious behaviours but they are more common than you’d think. Women/wives are most certainly not the only victims of domestic abuse – husbands, sons, daughters, ex-partners, in-laws, sisters, brothers - they can all be on the receiving end of coercive, controlling, abusive, violent behaviour from someone who is meant to love and care about them.
Walking away from a long-term relationship or cutting off our sibling, parent or child can seem impossible but the truth of the matter is that relationships that turn abusive, rarely reverse to go on and realise happy endings. When the spiteful name-calling doesn’t have the desired effect, then the threats start. When the threats don’t make you conform, then a little slap or hair pull might just do it. No? What about strangulation or threatening to harm your loved ones instead... Notice a pattern forming?
If you recognise any of these behaviours, however minor, it’s vital you get support quickly. Many of us don’t feel ready to involve family, friends or the police and want to manage the issue ourselves, for fear of embarrassment or the consequences of speaking out. As long you suffer alone, in silence, you subject yourself (and potentially others e.g. your children) to ongoing abuse.
For confidential guidance, support, and help building the confidence to make a change, get in touch.
Before you forgive yet another episode – remember this, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”.