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"Why Women Stay in Bad Relationships"

Old 08-17-2012, 08:33 AM
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"Why Women Stay in Bad Relationships"

An entry in Dr. Laura's blog recently:
Dr. Laura: Why Women Stay in Bad Relationships

This is her version of the article originally found here:
Why Good Women Stay In Bad Relationships | The Stir

So how many of these apply to you? I know I can count at least 3 myself. Fear of failure, leverage, and believing he would change and grow to be a better man.

What fallacies! I didn't fail...I actually succeeded in ways I didn't see at the time. And wrapped up in that...the leverage I thought he had...he really didn't. I overcame that too. And change? Sure, maybe he did, but it wasn't into the kind of man I thought I was getting to begin with and the kind of man I really need in my life. And that's ok, too.

Cheers!
~T
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:49 AM
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Thank you for this. Seems like I have a lot of reading stacking up in my computer "tabs" and a lot of self-exploration to do. Taking this slowly for now but I wanted to pop in and say thank you. Will respond further at a later time.

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Old 08-17-2012, 08:55 AM
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Oh, let me count the ways!

1) "It's not that bad" -- after all, he wasn't beating me. If I could have seen clearly back then what I was doing! I was taking his personhood away from him. I was diminishing him, his abilities, and his responsibility for his own actions, by saying, "he's had such a difficult life" which leads straight into
2) "I believe he'll change" -- sure, because I. Am. Superwoman. And. My. Love. Can. Move. Mountains. Yeah, right.
3) I didn't want to fail. Especially since my friends and family all reacted with a united "Are You Out Of Your Cotton-Picking Mind?" when I met him. I had to continue to prove them wrong. I hadn't made a bad decision. Just wait and see! And then there's
4) Nobody else saw what was going on on the inside. I think my parents had a clue, but they never knew how bad it really was. If I had been honest with my friends and family about what my home life looked like, I don't think I would have lost myself as much as I did. Now it was like I was always facing in, and covering what was going on so that nobody could see it.

I think there's one thing Dr. Laura's missing -- in the blog, haven't read the long one. And that is "We think it's better for the kids to have two parents." That one was HUGE to me. If we had not had kids, I would have left at least 15 years earlier.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:51 AM
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What I like about Dr. Laura is her strident upholding of family values and traditions in marriage, all the way up to what she calls her "three A's": abuse, adultery, and addictions. And then the 'rules of the game change'.

Her three A's invalidate a marriage contract and any promises made therein, according to her books.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:07 AM
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  • Fear of being alone
  • It's not that bad
  • You believe he will change
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by JrsJourney View Post
Thank you for this. Seems like I have a lot of reading stacking up in my computer "tabs" and a lot of self-exploration to do. Taking this slowly for now but I wanted to pop in and say thank you. Will respond further at a later time.

Me too, LOL!
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:03 PM
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Thanks for your post!

At some point I realized that I had been allowing fear to control me and had been making decisions based on fears. I knew then that my own work for overcoming fears was cut out for me.

Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
Her three A's invalidate a marriage contract and any promises made therein, according to her books.
A pastor told me basically the same thing way back before I divorced my x. During a joint marriage counseling session with a loving, wise pastor...and after having been trying to make sense of the senseless and being very confused as to why, like everyone else said I should, I couldn't just adapt and do and love more to accept the x's faults...the pastor said that what we had was not a marriage in any sense of the word and that nobody should be expected to stay in such a union nor tolerate less than being loved and respected, and that my husband was not a husband since husbands love their wives and give of themselves to her as Christ gave of himself.

One of the fears I had was about being a Christian and divorce. I hadn't understood the actual biblical view of marriage and divorce but that pastor cleared up a lot of things for me with scriptures and my further study of the scriptures corrected so much of the error I had previously believed. That was a big chunk of one fear gone!
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:04 PM
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I think the bedrock dynamic underlying most of the reasons is a basic low self-esteem, with the origins in early development. It seems that many of these women have normalized abusive behavior because they grew up in it.

I think that anything that empowers a woman is a step in the right direction.

This also applies to men as well as women, in my opinion.

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Old 08-17-2012, 02:07 PM
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I would like to add one more comment to my previous post---It always saddens and angers me to see how often religion cited at the reason for staying in the abusive situation.

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Old 08-17-2012, 02:46 PM
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An oldie and goodie book , 10 Stupid Things Women Do to Mess up Their Lives by Dr. Laura is as relevent today, as the day it was first published. A copy can be found at Amazon for 1 cent + S/H.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:33 PM
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There's an analogy I heard once and forgive me if i get it wrong in some way but that frogs in cold water stay until they eventually die by being boiled alive if the water temperature is raised very gradually, incrementally. I feel like that's what happened to me. You extend your boundaries gradually, forgive a little at a time until you're way out of proportion with what you want in a relationship.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:29 PM
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Actually, there was one more thing: Fear of what he would do if I told him I wanted to leave. Which, as it turns out, was warranted. But still didn't warrant staying.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:10 PM
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I can relate to several of these but mostly the devil you know is better than the one you don't and relatedly the idea that this is as good as it gets. But the main one for me that she didn't list was that we stay because we think it's what's best for our child.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:08 AM
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I would also like to add that I have to agree with soberkittyCat. Thinking back, I stayed married to my children's father longer than I would have for just myself because my heart came to a standstill when I contemplated the effect of dismantling their family nest.

When I married and had each of them (3) , my highest ideal for them was to have a secure and warm home with the love of dedicated parents. Isn't that what we all wish for our children if we love them at all? This is a powerful motivator and I believe a valid one. It holds families together.

As I learned, though, the problem comes when REALITY must be considered. Unhappy fighting parents, in a toxic atmosphere, makes that valid ideal vanish like a puff of smoke. The two things are not possible simultaneously. It is the toughest reality to wrap your mind around.

In reality, what children need most is a safe, predictable environment where they feel "seen" and valued by their caretakers---a nurturing environment. They don't stop loving a parent just because that parent isn't present every single day. A parent can show love even if not present every single day. Given a nurturing environment, children are amazingly resilient. One consistent, healthy parent--while not the ideal, is better than two sick ones together. I had to learn that. I left the marriage when I realized that they would never have a happy mother if I didn't.

Also, It helped when I learned that children think in the more immediate sense that we adults. We have to see the bigger picture, and their tiny brains can't do that, yet. Their reality comes in small segments--more like 24 hour segments. If they can go to bed at night feeling safe with their day's needs having been met and can predict the same for tomorrow---they can thrive.

One just has to go to the ACOA or CODA boards and read what the adults have to say about growing up with addiction in the home (and other abuses) to see the tragic damage it does to the children. Children should never have to live with that. (or any form of abuse, really).

Sorry for the long-winded answer, but I just had to add this, as it might possibly help some parent struggling with this painful dilemma.

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