Posts Tagged ‘emotional healing’

If a person has been involved in more than one abusive relationship, healing can feel even more challenging. They will often say things like, “How do I keep getting into these situations?” or “What is it about me that attracts abusive partners?” These feelings of self-blame or guilt are normal, and if you’re experiencing them, you’re not alone. However, you definitely don’t deserve to feel this way. Because abuse is never the survivor’s fault and definitely not caused by the survivor. 

There are many people who have never experienced an abusive relationship that feel that those who have been in multiple abusive relationships should have seen the warning signs and should have known better. However, to say that someone chooses to enter into another abusive relationship is not necessarily an accurate description of what goes on in a survivor’s mind and emotions when navigating dating and intimate relationships. Placing the expectation on victims to always recognize red flags for potential abuse is not as easy for them as it is for us who are looking from the outside in.

Trust is an important part of any relationship, and it wouldn’t be healthy for a survivor to go into every new relationship expecting that their new partner may become abusive Especially when there aren’t yet any obvious behaviors that should concern them.

It can also be hard to identify warning signs at the beginning of a relationship because abusive partners are typically on their best behavior until a bond has been established, hiding their controlling and abusive tendencies. How many times have we heard a friend say, “He/she was so sweet in the beginning, and then they just changed overnight”? 

For survivors who experienced abuse in a previous relationship are subject not only to more confusion, but also to the effects of their self-esteem having been torn down by their previous abusive partner(s). And because their self-worth was taken away, they are more likely to believe that they are unlovable. They may believe that no healthy partner will ever want them. Those who have been abused in past relationships may even believe that they deserve what their abuser chooses to do to them. Nothing could be further from the truth! 

Unfortunately, some abusers recognize this, and may seek out to form new relationships with survivors of past abuse to more easily manipulate them. Once they bond to their victim, they will isolate them from friends and relatives, control their phone, emails, and finances so that eventually they have to rely totally on their abuser. (This type of abuse happens more often to women than to men)

If you’ve had negative feelings like these about yourself, you have to understand that feelings lie and emotions are unreliable. Nothing a partner or anyone else chooses to do is ever reflective of your worth or your value as a human being. And you are not responsible for someone else’s decision to control, hurt or manipulate you. 

Society misses the mark when it comes to normal, healthy relationships. Some of us are lead to believe that unhealthy relationships and behaviors are normal—or even romantic. (Especially with young people with no experience in relationships) Constant declarations of love and grand gestures of affection early in the relationship is seen as sweet rather than too much too soon and a possible violation of boundaries. Jealousy may be seen as caring or protective when it can actually lead to controlling behavior. Characteristics such as persistence in the face of rejection may be thought of as cute, but this can also be warning sign of a form of control.

It can be hard to reconcile what we think we should be excited about in a new partner with what may actually be triggering concerns about abuse. When things like open, honest communication, healthy boundaries, equality and trust are not taught as the norm, we can’t expect survivors to identify them as such—especially if they have never been in a heathy relationship where these things existed.

There are some who have been abused for so long that it’s difficult for them to differentiate between a healthy and abusive relationship. Below are a few behaviors that you can look out for: 

  • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
  • Isolating you from friends and family 
  • Controlling money and refusing to give you any for expenses 
  • Preventing you from working or attending school 
  • Blaming you for the abuse, or acting like it’s not really happening 
  • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets 
  • Threatening to harm or take away your children 
  • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons 
  • Shoving, slapping, choking or hitting you 
  • Threatening to commit suicide if you leave 
  • Attempting to stop you from pressing charges 
  • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to 
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

There are some who believe that thoughts of low self-esteem and low self-worth are the result of a person’s upbringing. That is true to a point. But outside influences, (school bullying, social media, peer pressure) also play a big part on how a child thinks of themselves. 

1 Timothy 3 in the Bible tells women positive attributes to look for in a man:

He must be above reproach, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not dependent on wine, not violent but gentle, peaceable, and free of the love of money. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same condemnation as the devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the snare of the devil. Additionally, the Bibles says that they must first be tested. These qualities refer to a leader in the church, but they can also apply to someone you are considering being in a relationship with. 

Therapy and aftercare support go a long way in restoring a person’s self-worth. Many treatment programs discourage people from pursuing romantic or sexual relationships for at least one year. Yes, it may be lonely at times, but with therapy and support you can find many other things to fill up your days. And in the end you will be stronger, healthier, and ready for a heathy relationship.   

If you’re concerned about some of these things happening in your relationship, please feel free to give contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7/365 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat at www.thehotline.org.

This is not the end of your story. You can still be a warrior!

Post Script:

Children are also affected by domestic violence and abuse. It has been proven that children who witness domestic abuse suffer the same trauma as if they were abused themselves. And sometimes will defend the victim of abuse (a parent) as well as their abuser.

That is what has happened in my own family:

In 2013 my wife and I discovered that our oldest granddaughter Seana, was sexually abused by her then step-father, Case Cline, when she was only 11 years old. My wife and I were able to be granted guardianship of her and get her into therapy. We spent most of our retirement savings on attorney fees and therapy for her. My granddaughter is now 20 years old but is still struggling mentally and emotionally. My daughter, Leah Cline, blames us for her ex-husband’s legal problems and her divorce and has not spoken to us or allowed us to see her other three children for almost four years. The only contact we have with her children is through Facebook.

Since then she has had one live-in boyfriend that was on the sex offender registry for having sex with a child. He was later he suffered a tragic brain injury when he crashed his scooter into another car while he was drunk. She is now living with an even more abusive man, Mathew Kochen. 

On April 11, 2019 Mathew Kochen was charged with kidnapping and domestic abuse and using a weapon against another woman. The police said that he told the woman he was going to “bury her in Crescent” (Iowa) after refusing to let her out of his car. Fortunately, she was able to escape. The police discovered later that he was waiting inside the woman’s house, but when he saw the police he ran out the back and was watching them from the nearby woods. That’s where the police arrested him. Then on May 30th, 2019 a Sheriff’s Deputy in Council Bluffs, Iowa was dispatched to the same house and arrested Mathew again for violation of a No Contact Order, and Contempt of Court. He was held in the Pottawattamie County Jail and later released on a $25,000.00 bond. This all happened while my daughter was living with him with her three children! Click HERE: https://dcs-inmatesearch.ne.gov/Corrections/InmateDisplayServlet?DcsId=74185

Mathew also talked my daughter into using drugs. We convinced her to get into treatment, but after only a week, Matthew talked her into leaving treatment. He recently began making lewd comments toward my 13 year old granddaughter, Rebecca Cline, and has admitted to being sexually aroused by her. And my daughter blamed Rebecca because she was wearing shorts! Mathew has been emotionally and physically abusive to the kids too—With my daughter’s approval! 

After seeing Rebecca’s photo she posted on Facebook, I reported it to the Plattsmouth police, where they live now, but they refused to do anything and said that there was nothing they could do unless Rebecca files a report herself. Mathew has isolated Leah her from friends and family. He has made Leah take down her Facebook page because he believed that she was communicating with other guys. He also took Leah’s phone away from her and then pretended to be Leah and texted all of her male contacts asking them if they wanted to have sex! Many of them contacted my granddaughter Seana and asked her what was going on. It’s like Casey Cline all over again—only worse! Because  my daughter has succeeded in turning her three children who lives with her against us by filling their heads with lies about us. All we have ever tried to do to help them and protect them from abuse. But I would do it all over again in order to save one of them from abuse.