Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

You make me so MAD!!

One book that helped me out of abusive relationship

Before my husband deployed, we had some ferocious arguments. He was very angry most of the time. During one of the fights, I said, “I can’t MAKE you angry!” He retorted, “Well, if it’s not YOU, then who IS IT?!”

I meekly answered, “You are making yourself mad.” I said it meekly because although I’d heard the phrase “no one can MAKE you feel ANYTHING,” I didn’t really understand it. I mean, one of the fallback positions of victimhood is blaming my abuser for my own thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

You know, thoughts, feelings and behaviors like

  • “He makes me sick!” or
  • “He makes me so upset that I can’t think straight!” or
  • “He makes me too sad to function!” or
  • “He makes going back to school impossible!”

One book that helped me out of abusive relationshipIn reality, he doesn’t have the power to control what I think, feel or do. I GIVE him power over me when I blame my own inabilities on HIM. I am a victim as long as I continue to give him power over me, and that’s that.

I’m reading a book called How To Keep People From Pushing Your Buttons by Albert Ellis, Ph.D. and Arthur Lange, Ed.D. (Citadel; January 1, 1995; ISBN-10: 0806516704). The authors do an excellent job of explaining WHY no one can make you feel, do, or believe anything. They explain why I am completely in control of myself and give examples as to how I can ALWAYS (or nearly always – I’m not a robot!) control MYSELF.

The authors explain that there are three points that take me from an aggravating event to the way I act and feel.

  • Point A: Activating event
  • Point B: My thoughts and beliefs about the event
  • Point C: My feelings and behaviors

The reason I’ve said, “He makes me…” so often is because I’ve been ignorant of (or learned to ignore) Point B. I’ve given up my right to control my own thoughts and beliefs. HE didn’t “take” the power to do so from me; I willingly gave control over to him, passed off my power like a baton in a relay race, allowing him to run in circles with MY mind!

The key to keeping my power is to PAUSE at point B and evaluate what I’m thinking about whatever “Activating Event” just happened. (a.k.a. Mindfulness)

I know that pausing to take control of my thoughts after he has said or done something “unbelievable,” “horrible,” or “unforgivable” may be extremely difficult. I’ve conditioned myself to skip over my own thoughts and run straight for the gold – the “gold” is my ability to react to him in a way that may make him STOP. (Did you catch the element of control there? Can I really do anything at all to MAKE him stop when he is in charge of his own Point B?!)

Unfortunately, my reactions to his behavior do not make him stop. So why do I keep on trying them?

What good has it done to cry? to scream? to remain silent? to become excessively angry? to slap him? to plot ways to avoid him? to hate him?

What good has it done to attempt to control him through my reaction to him? No good has come of it; now I will retrain myself.