Stop Dating Abusers!
October is Domestic Violence month, so I wanted to bring this important issue to my Last First Date Radio show listeners. Yesterday’s guest, Diane Tegarden, is a domestic violence survivor. She shared fabulous tips for how to recognize an abuser, and if you’re already in a relationship with one, how to get yourself out of the relationship safely. I’ve included some loosely transcribed highlights of the show. Enjoy!
|1. How can you tell if someone is abusive or will be abusive?
When you first meet someone who’s a little too much into you, it’s not good. He’s probably abusive. Abusers are highly sexualized. It might be exciting in the beginning, but is toxic in the long run. If you’re dating a man who’s too good to be true, he probably is. If he checks your cell phone when you leave your bag on a chair as you go to the bathroom, run away. He is doesn’t respect boundaries. There’s a high degree of alcoholism in abusers. He takes you away from your family and friends. He doesn’t want you to call your mom so much. Then he’ll geographically move you to the other side of town, or to another state. Women are inculcated to be kind and understanding. You excuse his behavior when he cries to you to forgive him. You excuse his behavior. You tell yourself, “Everyone has fights, it just got a little out of control”. He immediately turns back into Mr. Charming. And a woman’s heart tugs. She forgives and nurtures. And then the cycle continues. The next time, he’ll be more violent. Pretty soon, you’re a part of the problem. He’s drawn you in. You don’t want people to think you’ve failed at the relationship. Little boys are taught to be strong. Girls are taught to nurture. You need to be aware of who to trust and who to nurture, but never to excuse abusive behavior. Listen here.
2. What’s the first thing to do if you’re stuck in an abusive relationship?
If you haven’t moved away from friends/family, and you have a friend who can take you in for a time so you can get out of his life, physically separate yourself without tipping him off. Get a PO Box number for paychecks and correspondence. If you are far away from family and friends, call the national domestic violence hotline: 800-799-7233. It’s anonymous, and you can be isolated from your abuser for about 3-4 months. While you’re in a shelter, you have time to strategize your plan to get out of the relationship and move on.
3. Why do women stay in abusive relationships?
Somewhere along the way, you were taught that you don’t deserve better. Quite often, the reason why women stay in bad relationships is financial. You don’t think you can make it on your own. Educate yourself to understand that it’s not as bad as you think. Your life will change, and it might be hard at first, but you must walk the road away from the abuser and get strong enough to become financially independent. Also, emotionally, you’re beaten up. Don’t stay because the kids need their father. That’s a myth. Little boys who grow up watching a dad hit and they often become abusers. The little girls think this is what love is, and they go on to attract abusers into their lives. Break the cycle.
4. How can you attract a healthier relationship?
If you want a better mate, change your hunting patterns. Write down who he was, and where you met. Pretty soon, you’ll see patterns. If you met all your partners in a bar, change where you met him.
Helpful tip of the day: Never choose the comfort of financial security over emotional security.
To listen to the entire highly informative and useful episode, click here.