Is it time to let go, and walk away from a relationship?

Dear Diamond Girl,

If you don’t want to read this post, you can listen to it here. It is Ep#79 of This Podcast is For Women. Apple or Spotify.

This post and podcast episode talks about Verbal & Physical Abuse, and how walking away from a man is difficult for many – no matter the circumstances.

If you are asking yourself: “Should I end my relationship?” – my answer to you is YES, but that might not mean the final ending you’re thinking.

My YES means it is time to let go of the version of yourself and the relationship that is currently unfolding. Feminine Energy is about reinventing yourself and standing in your own power, not changing others.

Earlier this year, in my private coaching group, I coached two women who were both on the fence about leaving their relationship.

With their approval, I am sharing their stories. Names have been changed for privacy.

Rebecca: married for seven years, has two children, she is a full time working professional, earns more income than her husband.

Their problem: Rebecca shares that her husband, Tim, is incredibly immature, fights dirty, withholds affection, is moody and often raises his voice and calls her names.

When I asked Rebecca what Tim would say about her, and how their marriage is experiencing problems, she replied: He’d say, ‘Rebecca is too busy for me, too uptight, is often rude and dismissive.’

Rebecca added: I make him angry every single day with something I say or do. He judges me so quickly! I think it’s because I earn more income that he does, and he is competing with me.

I asked her more about how she was “making” him feel.

“Exactly,” she replied, “I don’t make him feel anything. I’m busy working from home, while he helps with the children and assists me with some projects. I’m in business mode during the day. I can’t ever seem to speak to him the right way. It’s like he’s looking for reasons to blame me.”

She continued: Last week we were reading one of our marriage advice books together, and I asked a few questions – the topic was “Communication,” and he got so angry he actually told me to: STOP YOUR BITCHING!

My jaw was on the floor at how disrespectful he was being! At this point I am ready to kick him out and move on with my life. I can’t handle being verbally abused and placating a petulant child. He’s supposed to be my husband, stable, mature and strong!

I couldn’t deny that Rebecca‘s husband was clearly being moody and abusive. Men often have knee-jerk reactions to their emotions, fight back, and then withdraw. This doesn’t make it right, but it helps to understand how many men operate.

Rebecca had also shared with me that other times Tim was extremely loving, drawing her hot bath, cooking most of their meals, and is a doting father.

I encouraged her to acknowledge how he supports the household by using my “appreciation” script, or powerful A-word.

Even though you contribute more financially, Tim is carrying a load of responsibility. Be sure to say to him, “I appreciated you”… then fill in the blank with his action.

You can say: I appreciate, I appreciated, I am appreciating. If he’s been extra kind or helpful, put the word “really” in front. Add in a positive “I feel,” statement too.

“I really appreciated you filling the car up with gas and getting it washed and vacuumed. I feel so special having your help. Thank you.” Work this powerful A-word into your daily dialogue.

I then asked Rebecca: what would you like to see happen in this relationship? How would you like difficult moments to unfold?

She then replied, “I wish we could just speak like adults. I’m not always in the best mood. I’m not perfect. Tim just seems so sensitive and mean even when I’m being kind. I really don’t know how to act or be around him. My words seem to fall flat.”

What Rebecca is describing is called “walking on eggshells.” Where you are trying to please your partner and be there for them – but you don’t exactly know how. You don’t know what to do or say or how it will land. It’s a very nerve-wracking way to live.

I couldn’t deny that Rebecca‘s husband needed to figure out for himself why he was so moody and upset. it is ultimate ultimately up to him to decide to temper his responses and go deeper into why he’s attacking and laying all the blame on his lovely wife.

I began to coach: Let’s talk about “I Feel” statements. This style of speaking is here to describe how you feel inside your body, and they’re not a loophole to criticize or blame. So be cautious about that.

For practice, let’s use his downright horrible and abusive statement request to: stop your bitching.

Imagine Tim sitting next to you. He’s just spoken those hurtful words. What if you had said, “I feel a deep stab of pain. I can’t imagine what must be going on inside of you, where you would forget all of our love and speak to me so crudely.”

How do you think that would work? It’s one part, “I feel,” another part, “really get him” tool.

The first step is that you’re speaking very succinctly about how you feel. You can then seek to understand, or you can switch them around: “You must be feeling so angry. I want to understand. I feel so sad being called that name.”

Rebecca nodded, “He might get even angrier. I’m not sure.”

I then added: Okay, let’s raise the defenses. What if he says something like, “Well, like I said, stop your bitching and I won’t feel this way.”

“Wow”, she said, “it’s like you’re right inside of his mind.  Tim often turns things on me rapidly when I am being the bigger person.”

How does that feel to you if he said such a thing?

Rebecca replied, “I feel totally confused. My head spins. I definitely feel hurt by what he’s saying but more than that, I’m extremely confused about his reactive mindset. He is angry at me at the drop of a dime.”

I offered: What if you said those words to him? What if you said, “I feel really confused by this anger.”

What if you just said that and stopped there? What do you see him doing?

Rebecca: That’s really amazing because I actually see him looking downward, and pausing for reflection for a moment. I usually keep talking but if I stopped there, wow it has an impact.  I can still see that he’s upset, but I’m remaining calm and I’m not trying to fix him or counsel him on how he’s speaking to me.

This was going to be a key take away for Rebecca in that she would remain calm but also know her boundaries. If her partner continued to berate her, she would get up and leave the room immediately and let him know why.

Going forward she was loosening her control over the correct response her husband “should” say.  This doesn’t mean she would tolerate abusive comments, but that understandably she cannot control his moods or what comes out of his mouth. She can only control how she responds.

When one of you changes, both of you can evolve and change.

This takes a lot of practice and commitment , but ultimately if you loosen your grip on your partner, and make no attempts to control what they are experiencing the pressure falls off. The man stops struggling in defenses and you speak with clarity.

You want to maintain your boundaries, and speak “I feel” statements, and really get him, even if you disagree. You don’t need to agree on how he feels. Verbally appreciating a man will go a long way too. Doing these things give you the best chances for your partner to wake up, and at the least realize you’re not sticking around for drama and conflict.

Keep in mind with some people, your response and engagement is a type of ATTENTION that a hurt individual or conflict driven person seeks and desires. You don’t want bickering to be how your partner receives your attention.

Three weeks had passed since Rebecca and I had connected in my private group.

She reported things were going a lot better.

“Tim isn’t as angry and blaming. We’ve had a few moments but they diffused quickly. I think it has a lot to do with loosening my psychological grip on him and outcomes. I used to tense up when I would get around him, but now I try to soften and relax, I breathe, and I open myself to any possibility. I’ve also set a solid boundary for when I am working so that when I’m in business mode, I won’t hurt his feelings. He knows to not interrupt me during certain hours of the day, even if we cross paths in the hallway when I’m on my way to the bathroom. And when I’ve completed working, I go for a quick walk outside or listen to one of your videos. I get myself back into my Feminine body, into loving wife mode, instead of businesswoman mode. It’s really helped us so far!

To recap: Rebecca loosened control of outcomes and what her man did or said. She spoke clear, succinct “I Feel” statements, and used my Really Get Him tool. She stands firm in her boundaries, removes herself promptly if Tim gets aggressive, and does not engage with drama. She keeps her partner motivated and acknowledged using Appreciation Scripts.

My next client, Irene, was a very different story.

Irene: married two years, has two children from a previous marriage, has no income other than her husbands, and no nearby family.

Their problem: Irene’s husband is verbally and physically abusive when things are out of his control.

Irene had been confused where in other blog post and videos I have mentioned that a woman can help a man heal, and that we learn nothing by walking away.

She had taken some things out of context because ultimately, she loves her partner and didn’t want to give up on their marriage. She was also in a difficult living situation and dependent on her husband financially.

I do believe a woman can help a man heal, but in this case, if Irene’s man were to heal at all, it would require that she walk away. Walking away from a man is not something I encourage anyone to do hastily, except in regards to physical abuse and ongoing emotional abuse.

Irene‘s husband was being verbally abusive on a daily basis, and throwing objects in the house, driving recklessly, and had struck her twice.

It is always up to a woman when to walk away, but physical abuse is a deal breaker, it is a crime and punishable by law.

It is not only a crime, but it ravages a woman’s emotional and physical stability. Again, there is no excuse for physical abuse, ever! This includes children and pets as well. I reminded Irene that if she “allows” the abuse to happen to her children, she too is implicated, and if you tolerate it once, it will continue.

I encouraged Irene to seek out a safe place for herself, children and pets foremost.

With physical violence, it’s important to immediately disengage and get yourself to safe ground. Even if it’s you and the kids going to a friends house, or a playground. Get away from harm immediately.

Sometimes a woman must plan in advance when and how to leave an abusive partner.

I suggest that all women have some money that their partner either does not know about, or cannot access. Whether this is $200 or $2000, all women need their own money for emergencies.

Know your rights! Pay cash for one hour with an attorney and learn all your rights -even if you’re not married. Ask all the important questions. Who owns the house? Do you have access to the car, shared bank account and any other valuables? What could you leave with now, even if later you must settle in court?

It’s concerning to me that some women have gotten confused about when to walk away and when to stay regarding physical abuse.

In my opinion, the ultimate deal breaker is always going to be violence. While someone who hits you might love you, if they cannot control themselves, you are willingly becoming their punching bag.

Abusers are masterful at apologies, and making promises. If it happens more than twice, no apology or promise can be trusted. If they blame you for their actions, learn more about DARVO here.

Men who respond with violence rarely if ever change. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it is improbable.

You will also be dealing with a hot temperament and reactive personality for a lifetime.  As long as you stick around as their victim, this type of man will NOT heal.

Some abusers thrive by keeping their victims around. Don’t become a handy instrument for abuse, even if you do love that person, love is how you treat someone.

I hope this blog post has been helpful. Navigating a relationship can be very challenging. If you need additional support and advice, my private coaching group is here for you.

If you are experiencing abuse, please use this link.

You can also reply to this email if you have any questions or comments.

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