The King's Gardeners Ministries
Reverend S. L. Gardner
Spokane Valley, Washington U.S.
- The Issue of Abuse -
Learning to Take Care of Yourself
The following excerpt from the book The Emotionally Abused Woman: Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself will explain how you can begin taking care of yourself . It may also help you figure out something that may keep you in an abusive relationship. The book is by Beverly Engel, MFCC. It was published in 1990 by Ballantine Books, is $10 soft cover, and is about 230 pages. Although the book is directed at women, it applies equally to both sexes:
If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you will need to learn how to take care of yourself. You will need to learn how to stop rescuing, to set your personal limits and boundaries, and how to be assertive.
One of the reasons you may have been so attractive to an emotionally abusive person is that it has been clear from the start that you could be manipulated into taking care of him, and furthermore, that his needs were more important than yours. One of the most important things you can do is to begin to put your own needs first.
If you learned as a child
that your needs were unimportant, you may believe that taking care of yourself
is a selfish act. But your highest responsibility is to yourself. When you
take care of your own needs first, you will be able to be a genuinely caring,
giving person, not a martyr. Although it will be uncomfortable at first, and
you may be afraid that others won't like you unless you are giving to them,
keep trying. [Note: the book then gives more specific information on how to
begin this process.]
The following is from
another section of the book:
Some types of people are attracted to people who are emotionally abusive. They complain, blame, and try to control. Yet they continue to allow others to hurt them. In reality, they are more comfortable complaining and feeling resentful than acknowledging how very hurt and angry they are. They push their thoughts and feelings out of awareness by focusing all their energy on other people. They stay busy so they won't have to think about things and face reality. They ignore problems and pretend they aren't happening. They pretend that things aren't as bad as they really are.
The irony is that as much
as a "codependent" feels responsibility for others and takes care
of others, she believes deep down that other people are responsible for her.
She blames others for her unhappiness and problems, and feels that it's other
people's fault that she's unhappy.
Another irony is that
while she feels controlled by people and events, she herself is overly controlling.
She is afraid of allowing other people to be who they are and of allowing
events to happen naturally. An expert in knowing best how things should turn
out and how people should behave, the codependent person tries to control
others through threats, coercion, advice giving, helplessness, guilt, manipulation,
Are you codependent? Author
Melody Beattie (Codependent No More) developed this list:
" Do you feel responsible
for other people--their feelings, thoughts, actions, choices, wants, needs,
well-being and destiny?
" Do you feel compelled
to help people solve their problems or by trying to take care of their feelings?
" Do you find it
easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others than about
injustices done to you?
" Do you feel safest
and most comfortable when you are giving to others?
" Do you feel insecure
and guilty when someone gives to you?
" Do you feel empty,
bored and worthless if you don't have someone else to take care of, a problem
to solve, or a crisis to deal with?
" Are you often unable
to stop talking, thinking and worrying about other people and their problems?
" Do you lose interest
in your own life when you are in love?
" Do you stay in
relationships that don't work and tolerate abuse in order to keep people loving
" Do you leave bad
relationships only to form new ones that don't work, either?
If you answered "yes" to more than half these questions, you're probably codependent.
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