Controllers, abusers and manipulative people don’t question themselves. They don’t ask themselves if the problem is them. They always say the problem is someone else. This was a huge problem for me when I went into therapy because I was very willing to convince my therapist that the problem was me ~ I believed it so deeply. I went to therapy because I thought I needed help changing. I had tried everything I could think of, and now I wanted a professional to tell me how to change so that I could be acceptable to certain people in my life. I was fortunate that my therapist realized that I had been so devalued my entire life that I believed all those lies I had been fed about how I was the one that needed to change. He was accustomed to this type of victim thinking and he resisted my insistence that the problem was me.
One of the most productive, powerful and freeing things that my therapist and I talked about was the fact that “controllers” “abusers” and otherwise manipulative people never question that the problem might be them. That concept stopped me dead in my tracks and caused me to think about the people in my life that had I had tried so hard to change for. I scanned my memory for clues or indications that I my therapist was wrong about that fact. I think I wanted the problem to be me. I had learned to accept it and I was used to trying harder and If it wasn’t ME then that meant they had to change… and I had lost faith in that possibility.
It turned out that my therapist wasn’t wrong. Abusive and controlling people do not ask themselves if they are being abusive or controlling. What they do is demand changes from other people. They excuse their behaviour by blaming it on the defects or shortcomings that they have decided someone else has.
I could not ever remember a time when someone who devalued me, or someone who told me that I had a problem or that I was the problem had ever stopped to question themselves. The people who told me (usually not in words) that I needed to change somehow had ever looked at their own behaviour. I could not remember a time when one of those people had ever taken a look at themselves the way they thought I should take a look at myself! The only time one of the people in my life that mistreated me ever hinted at some sort of personal change, apology OR regret, was usually when they had a personal manipulative motive for doing so. Like if they were afraid to lose me as their victim or afraid that I was catching on to the one sided relationship.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this revelation. It was eventually one of the major truths that helped me to see that relationships are not meant to be one sided and that I should not have to carry the entire burden of each relationship. The success of relationship does not depend solely on ME. Abusers do not ask themselves if they are abusing. When I realized this truth; that the controlling manipulative and abusive people in my life NEVER looked at themselves while they constantly pointed fingers at me, I turned a new corner in my process and entered a brighter and healthier pathway.
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Exposing truth, One Snapshot at a Time;
Emerging from Broken
Final note: Later on I realized that some people, my mother for instance, changed and adjusted for other people, just like I did for her, but she didn’t for me. That was the beginning of my understanding that there seems to be somewhat of a “pecking order” in dysfunctional family systems and in dysfunctional relationships. The key for me was to decide that I would no longer accept my place in the pecking order.
Related Reading ~Demonstrating Appreciation in Relationships