Hello everyone! Yesterday, I talked about the difference between loving and enabling. I want to expand on that today as I talk about my part in the madness of my last marriage. I want to start by saying I was not responsible for my late husband’s actions or behavior towards me. I was not responsible nor at fault for his abuse. He alone was responsible for his own behavior, attitudes and actions in our relationship. I alone was responsible for my behavior, actions and attitudes in our relationship – my own part of the madness.
Allow me to explain.
At that point in my life, I hated confrontation so I just didn’t confront him. I wanted everyone to be happy, please them and for them to like me. That ladies and gentlemen will just not work, I don’t care who we are trying to be in relationships with! No one is ever going to be 100% happy with you or like you all the time. You will never be able to please people at the level of their expectations! I also thought silence and “being the loving, good wife” was best and that it would change someone who in reality did not want to change. This version of the Stepford Wives will not work, been there, done that and have the t-shirt – no matter how good it looks to the outside world. Believe me, I made it look good too! Where finances were concerned, I kept enabling him to spend more money because I did not want a confrontation and I thought I could love him out of it – he did not change and I almost went bankrupt.
Are you seeing where my part of the madness is coming into play? The relationship was madness and we both had a role and responsibility. His role was choosing to be abusive and overspend. My role was not confronting him and speaking up when it was badly needed – in essence continuing to enable his behavior. I was into people-pleasing at a very destructive level. This was not only destroying me, it was destroying our marriage and our finances. I was people-pleasing my husband into no responsibility! Hear me and listen! This does not and will not work! Ladies and gentlemen, we both must take our own responsibility in a relationship, both for the problems and the good in that relationship. We can’t blame the other person. We have to own what is ours. Again, I am not saying his abusive behavior was my fault or that I caused it. What I am saying is for a long time, I did nothing about it. I sat there and I took it without a word. This was my addition to the madness if you will. The madness only stopped when I began to stand up to him and speak what he did not want to hear. The madness of this type of relationship will only stop when you speak up too! Why do I say “when you speak up?” I say that because an abuser is not going to speak up for you. They will only speak for themselves and they will never be at fault nor take any responsibility of their actions. I will not add to that kind of irresponsibility with silence – not anymore!
What can you do for your part to end the madness of a relationship you are in? Do you need to speak up more often or for the first time? Do you need to break your silence? Do you need to stop being the door mat or the “sweet person” all the while being run over by someone else?
Think on these things today and do not add to the madness as I did. The very act of speaking up and owning your part will allow you to be free and the other person can’t take that from you! I am writing to you on the other side of the madness, you can get there too! Love always, Elizabeth *For more of my story see my book The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Pain, Hope and Everything In-Between. You can find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.