Monday, December 12, 2011

A Home Must Support You

The above graphic illustrates what I mean here. Just how much respect is Mr. Arrogant showing for his wife? I use the word respect here even though I have written on respect before because it is nearly impossible to separate respect from support in a relationship. The advertisement this cartoon comes from has a happy ending. The washer they end up with is one with exactly the features she wanted a machine to have. In real life however, Mr. A is unlikely to be any more supportive of his wife in the future then he is depicted here.

When you are trying to recover from an abusive relationship the last thing you want to do is trade one kind of abuse for another. If you’re here and reading this I’m willing to bet the look on her face is all too familiar… and so is his. Although the artist has done a good job of illustrating the hurt on her face, there is no way to show the pain in her heart. The kind of man who will laugh at your ideas, will laugh at you. In his unthinking heart you are just one of his “things”. “Hey Bob, how ya doin.” “Oh, fine. Say, what you think of my car, my house, and my golf clubs and… oh yeah, my wife”.

If you are still in a relationship like that you may survive, but you will never thrive. You need to have the dreaded “we need to talk about our relationship” discussion. You need to let you partner know that you need his support not ridicule. If he refuses to recognize what he is doing or laughs it off, then you have to decide what kind of life you want to live.

Harsh words perhaps but I’ve been down that road. There are more kinds of abuse than physical. If you stay with a partner who belittles you then every day a piece of you dies. That’s what happened to me and I wouldn’t want anybody to go through that. I was so sick after years of feeling worthless that I was literally dying. The only thing that saved me was my partner left me. A week after, a friend found me on the floor in my bathroom, unconscious, and took me to the hospital. After a short time, I was stabilized and in ICU but I didn’t improve. Why?

Because I just…didn’t…care.

I won’t bore you with the details but it was six months before I left that hospital. So full of drugs that nothing mattered. So I muddled along, taking the pills the shrink gave me, still not caring.

What brought me back was a CB. On the radio you are anonymous, the 70’s version of chat rooms. You can be anyone you want to be. You can talk only to people who don’t belittle you. And, like the story with the happy ending, I met a person, a wonderful person. A person who accepted me just as I was, “warts and all”. Someone who didn’t laugh at my dreams. Someone who didn’t say “I told you so” when they didn’t work out.

Someone who supported me.

You are unique, I’ve said it before. You deserve a partner who supports you, who respects you, one who, unlike Mr. Arrogant up there, doesn’t laugh at you or your hopes, dreams, or ideas. As I said above, if you don’t have that kind of support from your partner, you need to decide what kind of life you want to live. If you are recovering from that kind of relationship, find something, anything, that you like or wanted to do, and do it! If Bozo isn’t around anymore there is nothing to stop you. But it will help you to start feeling good about yourself again. It will help you to see that you have value in the world. And, if you get to the point where you are thinking about a new relationship, remember to look for someone who helps you realize your hopes, dreams, and ideas.

Someone who helps you to thrive.