“How to recognize abuse??” you’re thinking… ““Are you kidding me??”

Well, no I’m not.

I lived in abuse for over twenty years before I accepted that I was living in an abusive relationship.

It developed slowly…I made excuses…”It’s not that bad” I told myself…”It’s only sometimes” I thought…  It was bad.  It wasn’t all the time.  I would have been better off not to play head games.

Head games are a common occurrence among abused women.

I think I’ve mentioned that I didn’t recognize living in abuse until I watched a movie about the subject:  It hit me like a 2X4.  I still stayed, but my eyes were more open.

For several years I told myself “next time I’m bruised I’ll leave”. I told myself that same thing every time I had a new bruise.  Which, by the way, was not every day, or even every week.  Frequency depended on his moods, or how the business was doing, or if I pissed him off.

I was not in an abusive situation where I was threatened with guns and knives.  There were no guns in the house; there were times I hid all the really big and sharp knives, but I was never directly threatened by them.  Those facts probably made it easier to play the “this is normal” head game.

My childhood home was not abusive.  I was raised in the ‘50s and early ‘60s when girl children were still trained to be co-dependent.  My brothers each had learning disabilities and behavior issues when they were young so I was taught to make allowances for the poor behavior of males.  My Mother was a strong woman, but her primary mode of control was an illness.  Then, as the oldest girl (and child), caring for my younger siblings fell to me.

I’m not complaining.  My childhood taught me to make decisions, to be strong, to voice my opinions.  It also taught me to be co-dependent and make excuses for wrongdoing.

I am looking for the evidence of why I was drawn into and stayed so long in an unhealthy relationship.

I’m wondering, so I’m able to shine a light on other women; to help myself and others know how to recognize abuse early on.

It’s not normal. It’s not OK…even one abusive occurrence is too many.  Once is just the beginning, no matter what the abuser says, how many apologies are received, how sorry the abuse appears.

WHY we got into the relationship and why we stay is not really the issue.  The issue is to recognize the choice you’re making to stay.  It’s not your responsibility to make his life OK.  Your kids will be better off getting away from the fights, the attitude, the stress, and anger.  Your life will become Yours.

It’s not easy.  I know. It took me a long time to recognize abuse.

Life is so much better without it.

I’m going to stress again;  if you don’t change yourself you’ll go back or you’ll choose someone else who is abusive.  We, humans, tend to migrate to what is comfortable.  If you’re living in abuse, the energy of that person is comfortable to you.  You know what it feels like.  Even if he appears to be perfectly nice…he’s probably an abuser.  Maybe verbal abuse rather than physical.  Maybe financial abuse.  If you don’t change yourself, you’ll walk right back into it.

Strange as it sounds, good men, kind men, truly loving men frightened the heck out of me at first.  I say that I put myself in the Repair Shop for 5 years.  I was determined to change ME.  I was determined not to attract or be attracted to another abuser.  Now I’m married to a kind and loving man.  I had to change to become the kind of woman a good man would be attracted to, as well.  The Law of Attraction.  It works 24//365.

I’ve come a long way. I’m not who I was when I lived in abuse.  However, it would be a head game not to admit that the abusive experiences still haunt my behavior today.

I have personal growth blog posts and podcast episodes on my web page www.FiguringItOutAfter50.com.  I invite you to check it out.  It’s an easy first step.

Recognizing abuse is the first step.  The next step is regaining your confidence and personal strength.  You’ve got this!