How to Article-"How to Cope with an Abusive Relationship"

Essay by melberg05High School, 12th gradeA+, April 2005

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If you are in an abusive relationship, you are already in trouble. By now, you are probably so used to doing what you can to avoid the next act of abuse against yourself that you really think there is a way to avoid the abuser's anger.

Here is a list of escalating countermeasures. They represent the distilled experience of thousands of victims of abuse. They may help you cope with abuse and overcome it.

First, you must decide:

Do you want to stay with him - or terminate the relationship? In any relationship you may think you can his state of mind but you can't. He/she will always be tempted to hit you or abuse you. There's very little you can do to stop an abusive relationship other than terminate the relationship and get him professional help.

If you stay, you can decide to walk on eggshells the rest of your life and try to predict what they will do next or what may set them off and to circumvent anything that will cause those problems so they do not become enraged again.

Your other option would be to give your partner an ultimatum. Either they seek help or you walk out - and mean it. There are places you can go for low cost anger management courses and counselors. Many United Way charities will direct you to places that can help when money is an issue.

Another option, give up. If he/she is not willing to change and you do not want to be abused any longer, things are not going to get any better if you stay. It won't be an easy decision to make, especially if you still have feelings for your mate, but it has to be what you feel is best for you.

Abusers react to the slightest provocation - real or imagined - with disproportionate wrath and, often, violence. It is important, therefore, never to openly and repeatedly disagree with your abuser or contradict him. If you do - your abuser is bound to walk away, but only after he has vilified and harmed you in every way he can. Abusers feel threatened by real sharing and common decision-making. Never offer your abuser any intimacy - it is a sure way to turn him off and his aggression on. Abusers perceive intimacy as the prelude to manipulation ("What is she getting at? What does she really want? What is her hidden agenda?").

Abusers are narcissistic - so admire and adore them openly. But do not lie or exaggerate - this will be perceived as cunning and will provoke your abuser to feats of paranoia and jealousy. Look awed by whatever matters to him (for instance: by his professional achievements or by his good looks, or even by his success with other women). The abuser tries to transform his personal space into the exact opposite of his real life. At home, he is the master of a fantasy of perfection and harmony and the undisputed recipient of adulation and obeisance. Any reminder that, in reality, his life is a drab dead end, that he is a failure, or a tyrant, or a swindler, or a wannabe, sometimes hated by his own oppressed family - is likely to be met with unbridled hostility. Never remind him of life out there and if you do, connect it somehow to his sense of grandiosity. Reassure him of the permanence of your obedient and self-sacrificial love for him. Do not make any comment, which might directly or indirectly impinge on his self-image, omnipotence, judgment, omniscience, skills, capabilities, professional record, or even omnipresence.

Listen attentively to his words and never disagree, or contradict him or offer your point of view. You are there to witness the abuser's train of thought - not to derail it with reminders of your separate existence. Be saintly patient and accommodating and endlessly giving with nothing in return. Never let your energy be depleted or your guard down.

To your abuser, you are an object, no matter how ostensibly revered and cherished, hence the battering. He monopolizes your time and your mind. He makes for you even the minutest choices: what to wear, what to cook for dinner, when to go out and with whom. In extreme cases, he regards even your body as his to share with others, if he sees fit.

It is an onerous existence, consistently tiptoeing on eggshells. Neither is it invariably successful. The submissive posture delays the more egregious manifestations of abuse but cannot prevent them altogether. Choosing to live with an abuser is like opting to share a cage with a predator. No matter how domesticated, Nature is bound to prevail. You are more likely than not to end up as the abuser's next meal.