You want me to cherish you, adore you and cater to you. And you expect me to do this in the context of you scolding, criticizing and diminishing me. What’s fair about that? Nothing!
Abusive relationships are fertile ground for imbalances in the relationship dynamics. People who abuse their intimate partners often come to the table with a sense of entitlement…(off setting the balance in relationship give-and-take).
They expect their partners to hold up the ground that they stand on. They want their life to be just so as per their liking. And not only do they want you to deliver what they desire, they also expect you to know what it is without telling you. You heard me.
Mrs. Cater in the Abusive Dark
You must be a mind reader in this relationship in order to survive. You are expected to know when to say what to say, how to do what to do, what to be and when… You get the picture.
Part of your job in this relationship is to embrace your partner’s experience so completely that you sense each and every need as it arises. Never should it go unmet for too long.
Unrealistic Job for the Abused
You grow accustomed to delivering in this fashion. It becomes part of your job description and your marital habit.
The problem with this job is that you will not get it right much of the time…maybe not even half the time, because you are not a mind reader and you do not live inside of your partner’s head.
You may know their likes and dislikes, but you can’t know each and every longing as it bubbles up. Can you?
The Declaration of Your Failed Love
Now here is where things get complicated. When you “mess-up” and fail to deliver…or are perceived as being neglectful in your catering function, there is trouble. Your partner will want you to know of your shortcoming in no uncertain terms.
He/she may blast you with a rant of how inept you are, or alternatively throw out a dose of the silent treatment. You will come to learn that you are defective in your “attending and delivery” skills.
Often times, intimate abusers will use your “miss” in serving up just so (i.e. on demand and on target) as evidence that you don’t really love them. You don’t care about them, because if you did…you would have gotten it right.
Sadly, as the abused, you sit on the receiving end of this story doing whatever you can to overcome the assertion. But since the accusation is really not about you, your influence goes without notice.
Verbal Emotional Abuse Abounds
Your partner’s criticizing comments intended to diminish your character become the brick wall that you cannot overcome. You recoil and make yourself less available to tend to his/her needs. And before you know it, the cycle maintains itself.
If you recognize this pattern in your significant relationship, take a hard and fast look at the dynamics of abusive relationships. The more you know about these dynamics, the easier it will be for you to impact change.
For more information about help for abusive relationships, visit https://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/spousal_abuse_tx.php
Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse.
© Dr Jeanne King — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention
I have been a part of such a dynamic and find myself with this question. How do you propose to change that dynamic other than to leave? I was asked to engage, but to do so brings further admonishment, criticism and the ever ending position that you are wrong.
I can’t imagine how to change that other than leaving.
Pamela, It might be that leaving is the healthiest thing to do. Change is an inside job. You can’t control another person’s abusive behavior. You can only control their access to you. Take care of yourself. Dr. King