The Original Leaving the Abusive Relationship
Backstory to this post:
The GPYB website has been here since 2007 and its predecessor was the GPYP blog which was on the internet from 2005 – 2007. In 2019, the website was given a long-overdue revamp and I have been re-running posts from the original (GPYP blog and this website).
There have been over 2000 articles written for the blog and website. Many people in the Facebook group were not familiar with the old blog so I’ve been running posts, from the beginning, to show people how it evolved over time and led to the publication of 4 very successful books, a YouTube channel and a podcast.
However, some of the posts are being republished out of order if they are referenced in a podcast or another article or someone requests a rerun. For each of the posts, I’m telling the backstory as well as any important comments or commentary that needs to accompany it.
This post has been pulled apart and made into parts of other posts and had a few different versions. If you know someone who may be in an abusive relationship, PLEASE get this to that person.
I originally wrote it in 2007 a year before my husband Michael, the love of my life, got sick. There still may be some references to him and our relationship in there. I have talked a lot about abuse and being with personality disordered people on the Mean Lady Talking podcast.
I rerun this post – originally written in 2007 and – once upon a time posted on Psychology Today before they decided to enable abusers. I received a TON of email from people trying to leave abusive relationships when this ran on Psychology Today, but they decided “the hell with abuse victims” to side with cyberbullies because I called one who was attacking me, an idiot, one exasperated night on Twitter.
It took me by surprise that a major magazine would side with people who attacked and defamed me and wrote horrible, terrible things about me. They empowered them and they continued to go after me based on Psychology Today’s asinine decision. It was truly outrageous. When many of my readers wrote to the Editor in Chief to protest it, Jo Coleman wrote back, “Yes, she has an important message.” But they never reversed their decision. ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE that they would side with and empower cyberbullies OVER a former DV victim and the people she was trying to help. To know more about the story go to Mean Lady Talking Podcast episode 13. The link to the MLT podcast website is after this post. Please go there and learn all you can about abusive relationships.
For this article, I’ve changed a few references to Michael that were in the present tense, but may have missed some, but the point is that you CAN leave abusive relationships and get happy and whole and find REAL love with a REAL person who will not abuse you and who will treat you wonderfully every single day. Michael was always in an annoyingly happy mood. When I asked him once why (as I was having a complete sh&t storm of a day and in a foul mood), he said that every day he woke up and I was in the world, was a good day.
He was absolutely serious about it as he treated me EXACTLY that way, as if I was an incredibly special person who made the world a better place. And it took me years to develop the attitude that I deserved to be treated that way and believe that a person like that existed…but he did…which is why–when he got sick–I turned myself inside out to provide as much comfort and joy and peace as he could possibly get while being terminally ill.) But I found REAL LOVE after abusive relationships…and you (or someone you love) can too. You can read my story in the introduction to the GPYB book and our story in the back of GBOT and our story on RopeBurns and my story on the GPYP YouTube Channel. (for links to any of those, go to the bottom of the page and click on the GPYB Resources button or click on the GPYB Resources link above.
I have written other articles on abuse and gaslighting and will post them soon.
Leaving the Abusive Relationship
by Susan J. Elliott
Abuse can be physical, mental, emotional, verbal and sexual. It can be but doesn’t have to be all 5. Just because someone isn’t hitting you doesn’t mean they are not abusive. Name calling is abusive, cheating is abusive. Feeling as if you’re walking on eggshells is abusive. Being put in no-win situations is abusive.Gaslighting is a tool of the narcissist/sociopath and
If you know someone in an abusive situation, it is imperative that you get them to understand all the things they might not know. I lost friends as a DV victim. I had people who truly cared but then were so put off when I went back.
What they didn’t know was what to tell me. These are all the things I needed to be told. Some are quite rudimentary and you would think a smart person like me would know them, but I didn’t. And chances are, if you are or know someone who is a DV victim, they don’t know them either.
I am a pretty smart person. Fairly high IQ, well-educated and born and raised in New York City. Street smart and book smart, yet I didn’t know that being a DV victim was not my fault or that it didn’t have to be that way. Not knowing is not stupidity. It’s just not knowing. Here are things to tell someone you love who might be in an abusive relationship. Abuse of any kind – physical, mental, verbal etc.
As I wrote about in a previous post, I was in abusive relationships from the time I was 13 until I was 30. That’s a long 17 years.
My first boyfriend, in Holy Cross school, Bronx, New York was abusive. Catholic school, 8th grade, abusive boyfriend.
I went to Holy Cross from 1st to 8th grade. I was friends with all the smart boys since 1st grade.
I have touched base with a few of the good, smart guys over the years. Some have said they had crushes on me, but they knew, instinctively, that I wasn’t interested. No, I wanted the bad, dumb boys, the abusive boy. And boy did I get one. A little punk moron. The other boys were so much better, smarter, nicer. What. the. hell. Abusive punk wrote me once to apologize and to wax nostalgic for our making out sessions behind the school. When you’re a 50 year old man waxing nostalgic about 2 12 year olds making out, you’re still very much a CREEP. I never answered. Sheesh.
I immediately gravitated, from my first junior high boyfriend, to abusive boys then men (although I shudder to label an abusive male a “man” since he is nothing of the kind. Coward is more like it.) I have come to feel, over the years, that any man who hits a woman or threatens a woman or even pretends to threaten…is not a man. Most of my relationships were physically abusive but all of them had verbal components of criticism, scapegoating and control. I remember my first boyfriend, in 8th grade, criticizing what I wore. The second boyfriend made up names and spread them around for others to call me. It was humiliating and awful. Both were physically abusive after the psychological tear-down was complete.
There were several factors that led to me being a domestic violence victim and I am going to write a series of articles on these factors. This is the first installment.
1. I didn’t know that I didn’t know.
2. My lack of self-esteem.
3. My lack of boundaries.
4. Abuse was a COMFORT ZONE.
5. Even if none of 1-4 was true, I had NO IDEA what to do about it and no belief in myself that I COULD do it.
This article covers point 1. All the things I didn’t know. If you know someone in an abusive relationship, make sure they KNOW these things. They probably don’t. But it’s not their fault. Just gently let them know.
What I Did Not Know
I didn’t know that I didn’t know that someone should not put hands on you. No matter what.