When your partner has made critical comments about you, have you ever entertained the sneaking doubt that he, or she, might be right?.Any abusive relationship is a brainwashing relationship. It is a relationship in which one person's best interests are served by denigrating another and reducing their personal power and self-worth.
Often the abuser does this by leveraging an old feeling of inadequacy.Possibly one of the most shameless examples that I've seen recently was at a family wedding, last week, where the groom used his speech to tell the assembled guests, in some detail, how his 'beautiful bride' drove the wrong way up a road. Her driving, he said, taught him to pray?.Had the bride not been used to being put down by her family, she might just have crowned him with at least one tier of the wedding cake.Instead, she failed to react. It's only conjecture on my part, but I'd guess she was thinking: "Well, I know I don't drive too well, so it probably is funny.
" Well, maybe.The moment may, or may not, have been funny. Her groom's unilateral decision to 'share' it with 200+ people on what's meant to be the most special day of her life is, quite simply, out of order. It was the groom using shorthand to let everyone in the room know that his bride is an idiot.
Actually, some of us thought that the groom was an oaf.But the fact remains, if, like the bride, you are used to being treated with a lack of consideration, you will probably justify the person making the criticism. Your conditioning has taught you to believe that if you are less than perfect ? and you are, inevitably, because 100% success rate in all areas of your life at all times is impossible ? then you are fairly worthless.Now this is a key belief of victims of abuse on which the power of an abusive partner hinges. Your errors, failings, mistakes, shortcomings ?whatever you care to call them ? never affect your human worth. They only make you fallible.
Fallibility does not affect worth. It's that simple. Our mistakes etc. do not in any way undermine our unique, inalienable value as human beings.
However we mess up in any given situation, we are still okay, worthy, lovable human beings.Since this is always the case, it is the behaviour of our critic that merits scrutiny rather than our own.Deliberately disregarding or undermining another human being is out of order. Expanding a comment from the particular to the general is out of order.
Using one instance of fallibility to challenge your ability or worth in every area of your life is out of order.Weasel words like: "you always, "you never" are out of order. Shifting blame for your responses or behaviour onto another person are out of order.With time you become so used to being blamed and criticised for everything that you accept it as your lot.
Before you can question criticism, you have to have a yardstick to measure it by. Often that yardstick is: is it, or isn't it, abusive? If it is then you are justified in challenging it; if not, then you are not.Other, much used criteria are: 'is this criticism fair? and "is this a deliberate attempt to hurt me or shift blame onto me?".The thing is, if you don't have a clear sense of your own acceptability, how can you possibly judge accurately? Instead of reacting, you can find yourself puzzling about the rights and wrongs of the case.What we're talking about here are fairly crude behaviours.
You are quite justified in assessing them by a fairly crude rule of thumb. If your instinctive response to them is to feel humiliated, hurt and disregarded, then the other person is out of order. Voilą! That's all there is to it.Sometimes people are out of order in their behaviour towards you. And not just your partner.
If that's the way it feels, that's the way it is.Contrary to what a partner, or other, may have told you, you're no diva constantly on the lookout for imaginary slights. You're an extraordinarily long-suffering person. Not least because, in the past, you've always started from the flawed assumption that the other person is bound to be okay and you must be out of order.
Not so.You're okay. That's a given.Whenever anyone attempts to diminish and challenge your human worth they are out of order.
It may not always be worth your time and energy to point this out to them, but it's certainly worth your while to internalise this thought.(C) 2006 Annie Kaszina..Annie Kaszina Ph D, is a coach and writer who has helped hundreds of women to rebuild their confidence and their life after an abusive relationship. Annie is the author of "The Woman You Want To Be". This ebook will teach you how you can love yourself first, so that you can create strong self-belief and build the fulfilling future you're looking for on firm foundations.
To find out more and sign up to Annie's free bi-monthly ezine visit http://www.joyfulcoaching.com You can email Annie at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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By: Annie Kaszina