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    • #20461

      I read something today about how certain people ‘shrink us.’

      That is, with dominant and abusive partners who want us to be merely in their shadow, their support act, to be used and abused as needed, we find ourselves shrinking : we bend ourselves in half trying to please them and fit in with their ideal ( we are meant to fit into a pre-moulded pattern, not just be ourselves); we become quieter, afraid to express ourselves; we become less opinionated, as they will laugh at or ridicule our opinions if we express them.

      We say less. We stop pushing ourselves forward. Sometimes, just to survive.

      Sometimes, victims become less sensitive, as a way of protecting themselves. In the end we become less ‘us.’

      But why should we restrain our magnificence?! We were all made wonderfully individual and we are all remarkable in our own ways.

      We were frightened of being ‘too much’ and getting rebuked for it. After all, abusers like to take up all the oxygen in a room. We wanted to be loved, to be wanted by our abusers who started off promising us so much. So for years, we sacrificed ourselves in order to make our abusers happy. We didn’t want to irritate or anger them. We shrunk ourselves to fit the situation.

      But shrinking ourselves isn’t healthy. Such relationships are toxic.

      Marianne Williamson wrote how we are scared to reveal ourselves fully in all our glory, saying to ourselves ‘Who am I to behave so?’ But who are we not to? There is nothing clever, says Marianne, about acting small. It doesn’t serve us or the world. We have as much right to oxygen as our abuser. We are all want to be ourselves and to shine. And we ended up with people who are not good for us, as they wanted all the air and all the limelight.

    • #20466

      Dear Serenity, you are right, I have noticed this not just with my ex, but someone at work too. I am terrified of this person and had had to shrink my personality and change what is left just to be able to survive. Never mind, i will deal with it. My ex, i never felt that I could be myself with him, ever. If i were being myself he would have either not got it, not liked it, been offended or dumped me. It sounds horrendous now. But we all know when your in the thick of it you cannot see anything clearly. This realization now about never being myself is helpful in remembering how awful it was. I do not think in all of the time that we knew each other we had a really good in depth talk when we both were being honest open and enjoying each others company. He was usually pumping me for information but pretending to care and I would normally be telling him about my day but sort of feeling forced, like I wasn’t enjoying it, he was so intrusive. With my ex I always stuffed my feelings down, i were not allowed to get angry or say or do anything negative as he would leave me. Even if he done something really horrible and wrong, i were not allowed to be angry. He would talk over me and dominate every conversation so I would keep quiet and not say anything. I never said anything and just sort of smiled and pretended to listen, i was so miserable inside but he flattened me with his overbearing personality. I was just someone that he could talk at really.

    • #20518

      That is spot on. That is how I’ve been feeling lately now that I’m out of the relationship and have had plenty of counselling both individual and in a group. It’s a few months on now and I’m only now starting to feel like my old self again. When I keep thinking of how I behaved with him in order to protect myself and my son from his temper and fury, I am almost ashamed of myself. How did a strong independent woman like me become a shadow of herself, a weak little muppet, who didn’t have a voice any more? I never argued with him, I let him behave in a very bad way without any consequences for him. He was the lord of the manor and he could behave any way he wished at the cost of our wellbeing.

      I still catch myself with random thoughts of things he did and said to me. Only yesterday I remembered an incident and I thought “how could you do that to your WIFE!?” Which then made me remember other incidents. Thank God we got out! When I think of him I feel numb. I don’t miss him one little bit and I am getting more and more excited about my future. It’s all up to me now how I want to live my life. I am a strong, capable woman full of kindness and I am starting to feel happy again. I now realise that I need to be happy with myself in order to have a happy life. I lived for someone else, became someone else’s property and all the happiness and joy was sucked out of me due to the way he treated us. Never again. I may date one day again but never will I lose my spirit and independence again. I won’t change for another person again. If they don’t like what they see, they don’t deserve me.

      Ladies, if you are not out of your situation yet, I hope you soon will be and you will learn to live your own lives again. It is so good to be out and only then you realise just how bad it was. Happy days from now on. 🙂

    • #20520

      I am beginning to wonder about male/female relationships altogether….I just seem to attract needy losers.

    • #20575

      Dear Serenity
      Your post resonates with me so much – I could have written that ( well I couldn’t as I don’t have your obvious gift for words but !…) that is SOOO my situation. The thing is now I have started talking to a couple of close family members they say they saw the change in me years ago but I have only just woken up to this all in the past few months. I am trying so hard to be strong to reassert myself but it feels so unnatural . It will take me a long time, I think, to regain myself. I so hope I manage to find the strength to leave as I know I will be happier and healthier.

    • #20588

      Your words are so true and so wise, Serenity.
      Today I spoke to someone I have not seen for several years. She asked me why I never said anything to her when he abused me. She said I could have come to her and she would have also helped me to find somewhere to live.
      She was my bridesmaid when I married.
      I told her that I felt so ashamed to tell anyone that my relationship failed and I had found it extremely difficult to admit this to myself. It never occurred to me to turn to her in my time of deepest desperation and need.
      I became so numb, that I accepted the abuse for a while and just got on with it.
      I am still numb, but sometimes I feel glimpses of the real me shining through the fog. And this occurs more frequently recently.

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