05 Apr Why Mel B may have stayed in her abusive relationship
Mel B has filed divorce papers stating her husband, Stephen Belafonte, subjected her to psychological and physical abuse. Allegedly it dates back to the first year of their marriage, in 2007. It made headlines when she was a judge on X Factor and she turned up for a show with obvious bruises on her body. She now has finally left him and has restraining order against him.
Yet she went back to him time and time again. It may seem crazy to us that someone can stay with a partner who abuses them, whether it’s emotional or physical abuse, or both. I see it every week in my clinic and I also have first-hand experience of what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship. So why do we stay?
- Fear of the consequences of leaving. In abusive relationships, you find yourself walking on egg shells and tip toeing around your partner so you don’t upset them. You may be scared of how angry they will be or of what they will do to you or your family if you leave. The potential repercussions make it terrifying to leave.
- During an abusive relationship, your confidence and self-esteem will have been chipped away at so that you doubt your own ability to survive without your partner. You will be fearful of never finding love again as you may well have been told you are unlovable and led to believe that you are lucky to have them.
- You may have given away your financial control and not have ready access to money. It’s a common trait in abusive relationships and many of my clients have no idea about family finances or access to funds.
- You can become co-dependent and become addicted to being in a relationship no matter how toxic it is. We would rather stay with what we know than leave and face the unknown. We compromise our values and beliefs to stay to the point that we lose direction and a sense of self.
- You believe that you love your partner despite the way they treat you. You may even hope that they will change.
- You don’t want to break up the family unit and believe the children are better off living with both parents. The reality is that children are better off out of a negative environment and will be looking at you as their role model. They will be learning what love and marriage mean from you so be careful what they are witnessing.
- Abusive partners can be extremely persuasive and after outbursts of unacceptable behaviour can become charming and appear apologetic in order to win you back.
- Denial is a way of protecting us until our body and mind is strong enough to deal with it. Downplaying and excusing bad behaviour is very common until you have that “switch flicking moment”‘ when you can’t tolerate it anymore.
It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and one that can be both humiliating and degrading. It’s important to remember it can happen to the most intelligent, successful and confident of people, both men and women.
In fact, abusive partners are often attracted like to a moth to a flame to empathetic, kind, happy and successful personalities. They want what you have. Remember that to be that unkind to other people they cannot be happy. They are hurting and want what you have and represent. But as time goes on they realise they can never be the way you are. So, they begin to resent you for it and this leads to the controlling and punishing behaviour. In fact, every time they look at you they become more and more resentful and so start out to destroy you and the very things that attracted them to you in the first place.
There is a way to bounce back though. I know as I have done it. I’m not saying it’s easy but there are many simple things you can do to grab back your control and claw your way back from this. Sign up to my newsletter on my website homepage for more info on reclaiming your life and being happy again after an abusive relationship.
Here are 3 of my top tips to get you started reclaiming your life again are:
- Educate yourself about personality disorders as getter a deeper understanding of what you are dealing with will help you to realise that it is not your fault. It will also show you that you are not alone and empower you to find ways to move forward.
- Spend time with friends and family who make you feel good. Surrounding yourself with positive people who care about you will have a big impact on how you feel.
- Take small positive steps forward every day. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to let go and move on all in one go. You have to go through a healing process and deal with the negative emotions one by one. Be kind to yourself and take small steps every day to keep your momentum in moving forward.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you can be happy again. I have developed lots of techniques and strategies you can use to help you bounce back. I’m not saying it’s easy but there are many simple things you can do to grab back your control and claw your way back from this. Sign up to my newsletter on my website homepage for more info on reclaiming your life and being happy again after an abusive relationship.