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(stopping the abuse)

Being honest with you

Being honest with you, you can start by
admitting the fact what everyone else is
already talking about. The fact is that
your mate is abusing you and it is no
longer a secret any more. Come out of
denial and face yourself and the sick
situation that you are allowing yourself
to live in. It is out in the open that you
are being abused. Stop protecting your
abuser, and pull the cover off him and
his abusive behavior. You have come
to accept this sick action, saying to
yourself that I am okay. Until you
face yourself and realize that this
abuse is really happening to you.
You have bent over backward in
this sick relationship for the abuser.
You have covered his tracks in order
to protect him, it is time for you
to allow him; to be responsible for
his own actions, and accept
responsibility for himself. He can
get along very well without you.
You are right, he needs you, but you
certainly doesn’t need him.

Say yes to yourself

Stop denying yourself all of the
times; there are times you really need
to say yes to yourself and stop
waiting for others approval of you,
in order to feel good about yourself.
Learn to do the things, which are
important to you. You can start by
saying Yes, I am somebody important.
Yes, I do count for something good.
Yes, I am loved. Yes, I am good enough.
Yes, I am beautiful in spite of what my
abuser says. These are just a few
suggestions of how you can become
a yes person to yourself. You have no
trouble being a yes person to others,
so try this for yourself; it just might
work for you. Stop putting yourself
down in your conversation, while
talking about you, remind yourself
to say only positive and good things
about yourself. This will take time,
but you have to try it in order to see
any results.

Believe in yourself

The first thing I'll suggest to
you, is to believe that you are exactly
the way God made you to be, there is
absolutely nothing wrong with you just
as you are. Love yourself the way you
are and stop trying to change to please
anybody. Accept your imperfections,
faults and other things you may discover
about yourself, that you dislike.
Remember that you didn't make
yourself, and neither did anyone
else. All human beings have their
imperfections and limitations,
don't let them become a stumbling
block for you, look for your strong
points and you'll find the weak ones
are not as weak as you thought they were.

Focus on your strong points, and
the things that you do well. It may not
be important to others, but it is to you.
Allow your imagination to take you
places that you have not been, learn
to dream and fantasize. When you
aim high and can't obtain, give
yourself credit you at least tried.
Success is not always measured in
what one accomplishes only, it is how
may times are you willing to try the
same thing before you get the desired
results. Treat yourself well, and stop
expecting this from other people.
Wine and dine yourself, buy gifts for
yourself, remember your own birthday
and do something special for yourself.
Get off the pity pot, for you are not
the first woman who has been
in your situation, hopefully it will be
the last time you allow yourself to be
abused by anyone. Do things that you
have always wanted to, study for your
GED, go to college, get some job skills,
buy some new clothes, change your
hairstyle and most of all get a new
attitude about relationships and life.
The abuse started with you it will
end with you doing something for
yourself, not something for the abuser.

Know who you are

Know who you are don't allow
people to tell you who you are.
Remember people are entitled to their
opinions, but there is only one opinion
that really counts, and that one is the one
you have of yourself. First you need to
start by getting back your own identity,
for you are probably like me, got yourself
lost in the relationship. This caused me to
identify myself only with my abuser. When
I refer to myself when talking to my
abuser, I'd say but I am your wife,
never that I'm Catherine and I deserve
to be respected by you. This will not be
an easy task, but maybe a little more
difficult than the first three. You may ask,
how can I get my own identity back?

Here is something that I'll
suggest, stop talking in terms of us
and we, start referring to yourself by
name, and not the abuser's
wife/girlfriend/whore/bitch, among
other names we've been called. This
can happen around planning your
meals, start cooking foods that you'd
like to eat for a change, instead of
planning your meals around your
mate. This can be used for other
things as well. QUIT! Being passive,
and learn to assert yourself and don't
change horses in the middle of the
stream. Aggression is a power
weapon, that you'll find very helpful
in rediscovering who you are. The
good qualities that you had before
meeting the abuser, you still have
them; they are just buried underneath
the shadow of the abuse.

Don't look to you mate to tell
you who you are, take a look within
and you'll find your lost self. Remember
that all human beings have faults, try t
to accept yours as being okay. This is
the God made you to be. We must first
learn to love ourselves, before we can
love someone else, or have someone
love us. External things are not who we
are, we are who we are internally beings..

Quit people pleasing

Stop, people will get along very
well without your help. Are you trying
to please others or yourself, is the question
you need to ask? Work on building your self-esteem and you'll have less time to please
other, for you'll be too busy with yourself.
Care - taking and people pleasing go hand
and hand, and they can become unhealthy
for us when we spend too much time care
taking other while neglecting ourselves.
When taken to the extreme, this can
become sick behaviors. Get it
thorough your head that these
special peoples as you call them,
survived before they met you, and
they are capable of surviving now
that they have met you. People will
never be pleased with the things that
you do, so you can take a break now.
You have to be the one to know your
limit when it comes to doing things
for other people. Are you doing things
to be stroked, praised, loved or accepted,
in the hope of holding on to your abuser,
because you're afraid to be alone?

Get a grip, it's not such a bad
thing to be alone, the bad thing is being
lonely. I bet you didn't know there is a
difference between the two. If you find
yourself in an awkward situation when
another person request that you do
something for them, here is a little test
for you to try on yourself. "Ask yourself
do I really want to do this?" before you
give an answer, always take time to think
about what is being asked of you
by others.

If you refuse to do what is
asked of you and you lose a friend,
lover or job, than it wasn't for you
any way. Take back you power, stand
up for yourself, and by all means be
yourself, not who others want you to
be. You don't need another person to
validate your values and your beliefs.
We have to rid ourselves of the negative
things we've learned to live with, from
our childhood until our adult years. We
must learn to think and speak positive
words to ourselves. Your feelings are
who you are, don't be afraid or
ashamed of them, they are a part of
you. Stop others from dictating to
you about how you're suppose to feel.

You are to feel whatever it is that
you're feeling at this time. Learning
to express our feelings in a healthy
manner is another thing we must work
on as we go and grow. Stuffing our
feelings will only keep us ill,
emotionally, physically and
spiritually. Whatever relationship
we are concerned with, we need
not to put too much focus on the
other person, for this will cause us
to lose focus on ourselves, and this
will cause us to lose our identity
even more.

Setting boundaries

You may ask, what do you mean about
setting boundaries, and how do I go
about doing it? First let me make a
ew suggestions as to what worked for
me. I was in an abusive relationship
for five years the first time, the second
time for 21 years making a total of 26
years of mental, emotional, and physical
abuse. No woman should have to endure
this type of behavior from no man or
anyone else. My first abuser would fight
me all of the time, my second abuser
would abuse me emotionally and both
of them are bad. My second abuser was
an alcoholic; I was a moderate drinker
when I first met him, then I became an
Alcoholic, co-dependent and depressed.

After being with him for a while,
I found alcohol would ease the tension
between us and help me to feel better
about being in the situation. In this
relationship as well as the previous
ones, I did not know how to take
care of myself and be good to me.
I always felt and thought that other
people were important and I wasn't.
I spent my entire life in a relationship
with a man that cared nothing about
me, yet I was forever trying to do
things for him, hoping that he'd be
pleased and the abuse would stop.

Well everything that I tried to
make it better, failed. I didn't know
where I started and stopped with
other people, I was always bumping
into myself trying to fulfill the wishes
of others, it was crazy and nerve
racking for me. I was always stressed
out trying to do what others wanted me
to do. I didn't know it then, that I was
obsessed with wanting be loved,
accepted and cared about by men.
I think this happened in my childhood,
because I lost both parents when I was
around two. I didn't get the proper
nurturing that I should have had
growing up. While in this crazy
relationship, I would sneak and buy
me things, treat myself to my favorite
foods by eating out. For this man
didn't want to see me have nothing.
He was always doing things to keep
me from progressing. I would go to
the Landing and treat myself to my
favorite ice cream (black walnut)
from Topsy.

I would go shopping for myself
only, many times, I would just buy
myself a small gift, such as a bottle
of finger nail polish, for you see
I didn't have much money. I had the
"US",“WE” syndrome and it kept
me upset and angry all of the time.
While I was thinking about us, he was
thinking about himself and his so-called
friends, but never about me. Start treating
yourself to small things according to what
you can afford.

The more you gain interest in
yourself, the less interest you will have
in your abuser. This step deals with
taking your power back, and gaining
control of your own life again.
Somewhere along the way I relinquished
my power to my abuser and he made me
feel less than, and he had me thinking
I could do nothing without him. This step
may look difficult, but if I can do it, ladies
so can you.

Getting a backbone

Ladies stop bending over in the
relationship, our mates can't ride our
backs when we're standing up, think
about this. We need to QUIT being a
floor mat, allowing people the
opportunity to walk all over us, and
we just lie there and wait for the next
person to come along. Get up, look up
and dress up. Start by getting your
personal appearance up to par, as you
once had it. Come out of all of those
funny sweats and oversized clothing
that you have hid yourself in.

There is nothing wrong with you;
it is something wrong with the abuser.
Sure you've gone inside yourself as a
way to protect yourself for the abuse,
but I must tell you this will not work for
you, it will only keep you from seeing;
and recognizing the good qualities that
are in you; it will only keep you trapped
in this God-for-saken relationship. In this relationship we've been robbed of our
selves. We find that the oversized clothes
give us a sense of protection from men.
We have just as much to offer as we did
the day we met the abuser, if not more.
I wore men clothing, baseball caps, and
whatever as long as I wasn't sexually
appealing to another man.

I cared nothing about my appearance, because I felt that my abuser didn't want me
and not other man wanted me either. I thought
he was the only one that wanted me,
for I was not good enough for anyone
else. If and when you get married hold
on to your father's last name for that is
your true identity. Before our mate walks
on us again, lets ask him to please take
of his shoes.

Setting attainable goals for you

This is one of the things I did
while still in the relationship. I had a
dream to become a licensed beautician,
I got fired from my job, and I decided
to go to beauty school. I went to beauty
school and earned my licensed by doing
1220 hr of study. I tried to work in shops,
but things were so chaotic at home, until
I couldn't concentrate on my work. I
wanted to open my own shop, but my
abuser was not supportive of me at all.
Having a family made it difficult for me
to do this. Follow your dream and make
it come true, reach for the moon, if you
hit a star, you're still on high ground.
Remember when you are setting goals
for yourself, always, make sure they
are within reach, so that you wont
become discouraged. Don't set goals
that are not realistic and something
that you have no real interest in.
Begin with something small at first
and then move into the larger arena
of goal planning. Good luck with the
new ideas and the new attitude you
have acquired.

Letting go of the past

Letting go of the past is easier said
than done. My abuser has been gone for
four years, and I am still holding onto the
negative things he did and said to me.
This is not going to be an easy step, but
it is a necessary step, if we expect to move
forward with our lives, heal and become
whole human beings again. After four years
out of the abuse, I still have a real problem
with this step. Sometimes I am overwhelmed
by the emotional abuse I suffered and it can
be painful.

There are times I wonder will I
ever heal and get over the abuse?
Letting go is getting rid of the
resentments that cause bad feelings.
I find that I find strength in my
spirituality, and I have found some
power to think about forgiving my
abusers for the way they treated me,
and the pain they brought into my life.
I had come to a point where I began
to look at myself to see what part I
played in the situation. Holding on
to the past will only hinder your
growth, both spiritual and emotional.
This is a hard thing to do, but for us
to move on with our lives it is
something that we must do.

Learning to say no

Abused people are yes people, we
say yes to our abuser, because we want t
o be loved and accepted by him.
We don't want to make him angry, for
it will be hell to pay if we do. This
small word ( no ) is very, very, very hard
for most people to say, and really
mean it. When I found myself saying
no to my abuser, I'd soon change my
mind and say yes. He was very pushy
and persistent, he'd continue to ask
over and over until he'd wear me down.
I'd give in and do whatever he wanted
me to do for him, then I'd get angry
with myself. I was so blind to this
relationship until I could not see that
this man was abusing me.

When I'd say no I would always
feel very guilty about it, then I'd crash
and burn again. I found that I had this
problem with not only my abuser, but
with other people as well. I thought I
was here to serve others and not take
care of myself when I was in the
relationship. Stand in the front of the
mirror and practice saying NO until
you can become comfortable with it.

Saying NO is one way to begin
taking care of you, instead of taking
care of other people all of the time.
I am learning to do things when I am
willing, and not allow people to force
me into doing things for them, when
I really don't want to do it. I have not
perfected this step, but I've come a
long way with it, and so can you. It
does not make you a bad person,
because you say NO. saying NO will
help you gain your self-confidence
and self-respect back. We have to
stand for something, or we'll fall for anything.
STOP giving until it hurts.

I would give away things that
I needed for myself, and say oh I'm
okay. Well I was lying to myself, I
was not okay with it, but I wanted
to give to this person, so I could be
recognized, well it never happened.
When I ended up with no money, and
no husband, I had to take a look at
my life, and make some necessary
adjustments for me. I used to cook
big meals and have my girlfriend
come over to eat; well she'd bring
her whole family. I thought by doing
this it would take away the abuse,
but it only enhanced it. It is good to
give, but it is also good to take care
of your own needs; because you are
the one that has to do that. I had to
learn to do things for people without
expecting any thing in return. I find
by doing this, it lessen my chance
for being disappointed by others. I
would work like a dog to try and help
my abuser have nice things. There was
nothing he said he wanted, that I
wouldn't try to work and help him
get it.

In return I'd get nothing. He
wouldn't remember my birthday or
our wedding anniversary or any other
holiday. The whole time we were
together I can only say he bought me
one thing, that was an old granny
pink and white pin-stripe dress.
I would dress him in $300.00 t
hree-piece suits, and I would dress
myself from the thrift store. The
whole relationship was one-sided
for the 21years we were together.
I worked like a dog to keep the
house going, all of the responsibility
was on me, he was an irresponsible
person, and would do nothing but
work and throw the money away
with other women, and his so
called friends. When he'd bring
any money home, he'd come back
and get what he gave me and I'd
end up giving him my money, then
I'd have nothing for myself. I was
the one handling the money, but
when it came to me, there were
never any money for me to buy
me things, or take a trip. He was
always going to his hometown;
I came to realize that he had a
woman down there.

Help yourself

Help yourself, (stop looking for
others to pat you on the back, for what
you do for yourself, it will not happen).
If you are currently in an abusive
situation, or getting out of one, or has
been out of one for a period of time,
the key to recovery is helping yourself.
Sure you'll be afraid and have doubts
about your thinking and making decisions
for yourself. If I can do it so can you, it
will not be easy, but it can be done.
I experienced the same things. I had
anxiety attacks, couldn't sleep at night
and was very fearful of people, especially
men. I find that I had to baby-step myself
back into taking care of myself, building
my self-esteem and self-confidence.

The name of the game is to help
yourself and not depend upon others to
do things for you. Begin asserting
yourself in the relationship and take
back your power, this will help you
become the whole person you were
meant to be. Don't start out trying
to conquer the world in one day.
When in a relationship, always set
aside some time alone for yourself.
We spend too much of our time
taking care of others while we're
neglecting our own needs. I am a
very independent woman, as most of
us are, but the abusive relationship
caused me to become co-dependent
on my mate, much to my disliking.

In the relationship I felt helpless
and hopeless, felt that I could do nothing
for myself. I was so afraid of looking
pretty, for fearful that some man would
make a sexual pass at me. My first
project was to work on my self-esteem,
self-confidence and later
self-improvement. I did this through
going back to college, and getting
professional help. I must tell you
these things worked for me. It is okay
to do for other people, but quit putting
yourself last all of the time. We are
important people also. I use to think
that other people were better than I.
I am not good enough. My thing was
to serve and protect my abuser, and
I did just that, only to find later that
he could care less about the efforts
I put forth in the marriage.

Become that independent person
that you were before you got in the
relationship. You have not lost those
good qualities that you had; they are
just hidden under the smoke screen
of the abuse you have suffered. Learn
to stand up for yourself, until you do
this, no on will respect you and your
confidence will not be strong. Have
faith in God and yourself and the sky
is the limit for you. Learn to do things
alone that you like doing, regardless of
the abuser objections to your idea. How
much abuse is enough? Well I had 26
years and decided that I'd had enough.

I got in a twelve-step program
and my abuser left me five years ago.
I am now trying to find my healing
and move forward with my life. 26
years is enough for me. Last but not
least, you are the only one that can
help you because, you are the only
one who knows exactly what has
happened to you. Roll up your
sleeves and put on your boxing
gloves, for you have a though fight
ahead. Good luck and God bless
you my sister. Perhaps one day you'll
be able to share your experience
strength and hope with another sister.

Catherine Oxner

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The following comments are for "STEPPING OUT OF ABUSE"

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