By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The attraction of being drawn to something familiar causes many people to remain in or come back to abusive relationships. This article takes a look at steps women can take to recognize if/when they may be making harmful choices and how to change.
Tribune News Service
Every now and then, we may unknowingly allow someone into our lives who does not have the best intentions.
It can be hard to spot these people, because they put on such a good act and they can keep it up for a very long time. But once they have gotten what they want or see a way to gain advantage in the world (even if it means stepping on you), they will take it, and all you will see is a stack of bills left behind in the dust.
If this has happened to you, please accept my sympathy, as these kinds or traumas change lives, sometimes forever, but there is always a way to create a normal future. After you’ve picked yourself up and also realized that you are responsible for picking the person who tried to ruin you, you can then take the necessary steps to never make the same mistake.
Many people are attracted to a certain type. If you find that this type of person always breaks your heart and leaves you broke, then you need to stop dating that kind of individual. Sounds simple, but old habits are hard to put to rest, and it’s hard to change what you are attracted to, so many people just give up. While not the best of choices, this is a safe one, and sometimes feeling protected is better than feeling loved. The most important thing here is to take care of yourself.
If you have brought more than one person into your life who has hurt you, and you still see that kind of person as attractive, you really shouldn’t trust your own judgment. Caring friends may be the best place to turn if your heart is broken and your head makes you want to go back to your same old ways. They can talk you out of it and keep you entertained in the process.
Wanting to be with someone is normal. So is returning to something familiar, and that is why so many people keep coming back to abusive relationships. No, the devil you know is not better than the one you don’t, they are both awful.
What you need to do is take a break from dating and relationships for a little while. See what other things you can invest your time in, and find something that fills your heart. It isn’t the same as a relationship, but if you can’t pick a good partner, it sure is a lot safer.
When you inadvertently draw the wrong kind of person into your life, act sooner rather than later to end things. Don’t try to smooth over what happened with texts, talks, or emails, but just let it go. Responding will only keep the unbalanced person in your life.
Lastly, if the other person persists, please let other people know, so they can make sure you are okay. And if you feel threatened, you should speak to law enforcement. You will live through this difficult time, but if you let things get out of hand, it can suck years out of your life.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)