At first your partner appears to be mindful of your needs, kind, reassuring and supportive.  You feel like you've been together long enough to be able to anticipate one another's needs.  You've learned about the others quirks and pet peeves and you are both ok with them.  In fact you might find them endearing and adorable.  You both learn about each other's worst fears and biggest dreams for the future.  Inside and out, this is what love is all about.

...And then, your partner starts doing things, subtle things, little things that you might just dismiss at first as the weaknesses of human behavior.  Little by little though these subtle things start to take on more and more of a cadence and consistent pattern.  There's the set-up....then the performace...then the apology or the feigned innocence when something is done that your partner knows will irritate or hurt your feelings.  You love that person almost more than life itself but little by little that doubt of them loving you in return starts creeping into your heart.  Forgiveness is given quickly and freely at first. Each time a questionable act by your partner is repeated, you become a little more guarded with your forgiveness.  You are so confused by this whole dance of deception because your partner swears that they love you and so many times they seem to prove it over and over again.  Then there are those times that become more consistent then not when their actions are the exact opposite of their words.  The most messed up part is, they don't see anything wrong with this behavior.  They try to throw the situation that you are trying to bring to light and make heads or tails of back on you.  Sometimes they will even go as far as accuse you of imagining things, remembering thing differently or "losing it".

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Welcome, dear friends, to the cycle of abuse.  Not only do you get to experience it first hand but most likely, this is what your partner had experienced as a child or young adult at one point in time or another.  This kind of abuse is typically generational, passed down from the older generation to the younger - whether it be cousin to cousin, older sibling to younger or parent to child.  It's there and almost of such intense force that the cycle cannot be broken without third party intervention who can see it for what it is.  

The abuse to the spouse (now you) is so intense that it's like a powerful storm with tons of electricity.   You never know when and where the lighting will strike next. Will it be another subtle moment that flashes and then it's gone?  One of those moments that you will always question whether it happened at all or will it strike fast and hard and start to burn with the intense heat of past unresolved anger.

The question will start to constantly enter your mind, who is this person really?

...that creeps through the shadow of darkness with destruction on their mind sabotaging you and your relationship with them on purpose? There is no rhyme or reason to it.  You've felt like you had something really good going for the both of you.  You and your partner have talked about that quite extensively and what hope the future holds for the both of you together.  Why on earth would your partner want to sabotage that?

They do it because their past abuse was never resolved or addressed properly. The longer the duration of abuse and the intensity of abuse without any outside intervention as a child the more that it will affect their abuse towards you and any future generations.  As time marches on their sanity will start to unravel and their anger will grow to a more flamboyant and dangerous behavior. If they get as far as ages 35-42 that's when their secrets of the past really become unmasked through their behavior.  Sometimes people cloak this and explain it away with the term of having a "midlife crisis".

You do not deserve this! You should not be around it.  If you are around it long enough, that type of behavior will start to rub off on you, no matter how good or strong of a character that you may have.  It doesn't matter whether you yourself have been abused as a child or not.

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At first you might feel a bit uncomfortable with a few of your partner's behaviors just like the frog sitting in the water.  You might assume that it's because you are two different people and you are just getting used to each other. Once you become a couple or a "thing" the heat is turned on to low as your partner cultivates that relationship and builds that trust.  If done right then your self confidence is slowly broken down as the heat gradually builds up to a slow boil. This starts to alter the frogs very DNA to the liking of our taste buds.  Your very DNA will start to alter if you allow it to through the thoughts you find yourself constantly thinking.  This is called abusive conditioning.  It will alter your self-awareness to your partner's liking if you let it, losing your feelings of self-identity somewhere along the way.  You might also start believing that you are imagining things or that you are making a mountain out of a molehill.  You question your own good judgement and intuition.  This is exactly what your partner wants you to do and is part of that cycle of abuse.  If allowed to go on long enough then your partner will start the process of isolation in convincing your friends, family, and loved ones that you are starting to go crazy and that your partner is trying to "help" you through it.  

I call this the Hamlet complex. In Shakespear's play "Hamlet" he knew the truth about who really killed his father the king and how it was done.  However every character in that play viewed him, Hamlet, as the one losing it.  A lot of the time it was because they themselves were guilty of participating in some form of deceit or treachery against Hamlet.

Help needs to be sought after.  Talk to your closest, most loyal friends about your doubts and your worries. But don't stop there, pursue counseling and stay in touch with your higher power. Learn to trust your gut feeling and make sure that you are dealing with your own past crap through the counseling and different healing modalities.  Write down your feelings.  By doing so it helps gets cloudy thoughts and questions out of your mind and onto paper so that you can think more clearly.

You will start to question your judgement less and believe in your good common sense more.  Really put forth the effort to heal from that trauma, but do so independently without necessarily disclosing this to your partner.  Make sure that when you do pursue counseling, try more then one method.  Meet with more than one counselor that you connect with to gain different perspectives.  Alongside this pursue natural methods of healing using all of the gifts of this earth that we are blessed with to help us on this journey.  Always take each new concept pursued after before your higher power to double check whether this is something meant for you and your healing.  Some things might seem promising at first but turn out to be more deceptive and destructive than healing.  After all, we are all imperfect people that can be highly trained in one area of expertise but will still see things from an imperfect, human perspective.   This is based on personal experiences of the therapist or counselor that you are meeting with. Certain viewpoints might be different then someone else's are gained through that persons personal journey and ok to take into account.  However, like in the Bible 1 John 4:1 it says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:".  In other words use your gift of discernment and that gut feeling when in pursuit of healing. Compile for yourself that knowledge of how to heal and process through past, present and future emotions.  This is called taking back your power and learning to stand your ground or grounding.  If done so with humility and patience with yourself you most definitely will be greatly rewarded with that inner peace that is greatly sought after.

If you follow these steps your self-awareness and confidence will grow.  You will then be able to make some sound judgement calls as to what the next step is for you and your future to make it brighter and more fulfilling, not just for you but for future generations.

If you would like to learn more about abuse, children, depression and how to heal from it, check this out.  May peace be with you on your journey!