In estrangement, various stories all have the same underlying content; a power play gone wrong. Love and kindness is seen as a weakness to be exploited. The kindhearted person is used as a supply for love, attention, financial gain etc. Controlling and manipulative tactics are used to keep the submissive “doormat” personality in check while feeding the needs of the dominant, power seeking personality.
Healing, in life after estrangement, has a lot to do with working on the underlying content, recognizing the imbalance in the relationship, which has the dynamic between abuser and victim, or between bully and target. The second phase of healing is then to look deep within to discover the source of the imbalance and to take steps to change those personality traits that allow the submissive personality to be exploited.
Learning about this relationship imbalance is the first step to recognizing it.
In the first place we must become able to look back in hindsight and to see where we were being used, taken for granted etc. We have to learn how our actions of caring and peacekeeping were seen as weaknesses to be exploited.
Then in the second phase we have to develop a different way to see and evaluate new relationships with awareness so we can take steps to stop exploitative relationships from forming or to extricate from them sooner.
For the most part when kind people become "doormats" in an effort to "keep the peace" the users and abusers of that kindness get too much power in the relationship.
Healing is learning how to continue to be kind without having that kindness be abused or taken for granted. Healing is learning how to “stand up for oneself” and learning that “peace” is about equality not about backing down.
Learning about how to take steps to not "act like a doormat" empowers us to find and maintain relationships where we are among equals and limit relationships where we are not seen as equals.
We need to internalize that as important as it is to give respect to others we deserve equally to be respected in return.
We need to recognize and truly believe that being treated with dignity and kindness is our right not something we have to earn through submissive behaviour.
Learning to correct the balance is changing how we think of ourselves, how we talk to ourselves and how we treat ourselves. When we start to expect better treatment, when we truly believe we deserve better treatment we send out different vibrations to the universe. Most importantly, we become less useful to the users and takers when we don't offer them an easy target.
Renate Dundys Marrello
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