Any form of abuse in a relationship is unacceptable, yet there are those who continue to accept the ugly repetition in their lives. “Why?” some may ask. What could possibly induce anyone to remain as a verbal or otherwise punching bag?

As with any seemingly unfathomable situation, there are many possibilities that can lead people into believing that they are worthless and thus not worthy of respect; or that they are not good enough to carve out a successful life, or even survive on their own; or that they are not deserving of their birthright which is happiness.

Casey (pseudonym) was terrified of going it alone as she had adopted the belief promoted by many fairy tales, movies and the media, where couple equals complete. So even though she was financially secure within her own right, attractive and intelligent, the fear of being ‘out there as a desperate Dan’, as she put it, compelled her to remain in an abusive marriage and confine her experience of life to one devoid of any sense of fulfilment.

Nina (pseudonym) stayed with her abusive husband ‘because of the children’. However, what the children were learning from her, was that it’s okay not to respect or value oneself, not to mention how to mistreat a wife.

Jake (pseudonym) continued to behave like a puppet on a string with his intermittent girlfriend executing master puppeteer tricks. And when she wasn’t paying attention to the strings, he was, as the analogy would prescribe, slumped and lifeless.  During the early phase of their relationship, when she was playing a usual girlfriend role with a fair share of reciprocal affection, Jake blossomed, but when her affection waned, he continued to pursue her with more showers of adoration, driven by the desperate hope for her full-time return.

What Jake really sought was the good feeling that he had experienced during their early days together – a feeling of being special, prized, and therefore happy.  From his upbringing he had adopted the belief that he had no value, that he was a ‘disappointment’. Then along came girlfriend and suddenly he felt validated and as a result exuded an air of ‘I am significant’.

Most of us have fallen into that beguiling trap where we place the responsibility for our validation and happiness onto someone else instead of seeking it from within the self.

No matter what the past dished up for us, we can, with a little honest probing and self-questioning, discover the spectacular essence that is always within each and every one of us. A foundation of honest self-value and appreciation tends to radiate a magnetic appeal.

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