How to protect yourself from abusers?

happychild

Confident
I hope I am right here with this question?
I am wondering how you learned to protect yourself from abusers? I think it is very common for survivors that they meet again and again abusers in their life. That they start eg relationsships with abusive partners over and over again. Or brutal partners. Or alcoholic partners.
And I already read in some diaries here that you got over this pattern.
I would really like to know how you got there?
I always fell for abusive partners. And I have really NO idea how to change that.
And there are signs/red flags, yes they are there, but I am always excusing the guys. I have tons of excuses for them never thinking about what it does to me!
I am deeply convinced that there a rational reasons for their behavior and that it is not "against me". And it needs A LOT of suffering on my side until I start to doubt this. And to realize the abuse.
Do you know what I mean? Everyone around me already is questioning me intensely but I still cannot allowed me to questioning the guys behaviour.
So, my questions is: how can I protect myself from abusers?
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Some abusers are women.

My abusers have been men and women. I just ignore them or say something that challenges their behaviour so they know I realise what they are doing and that I won't tolerate their behaviour.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I didn't really know it was absuive at the time. But I knew how it made me feel and I made a few concious decisions about what I wanted from future relationships. Which were:

A) that I will never share a bank account with someone again
B) that I will maintain my own friendship group
C) that I will have time on my own
D) that I am having sex on my terms*

I managed the top three, and mostly managed the last one but not really but not because my partner is abusive, but because of my past trauma and not really knowing what my terms are at certain points or how to articulate that in a certain moment.

And then I think it was luck more than anything that I found my partner. Because if she had been another type of person, I think the pattern would have been repeated.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
I think it's basically from deciding what you're willing/wanting to put up with, like boundaries basically. Outside of situations where you automatically appear vulnerable (so kids/homeless/etc.) it's more that things escalate slowly in majority of cases, but once you've been treated "worse" than what is happening at the time, you'll put up with more cos it's your normal. I'm not sure it's fully that you would attract abusive people, more that you're more likely to let them stick around longer.
 

internal

Sponsor
this is some thing that i still struggle with with not in terms of just a relationship (as i do not believe my relationship is abusive. at all. but also i some times doubt my reality and everything dissolves which its a seperate problem. and is mostly my problem) but just in general life.

if i am not actively being yelled at, insulted, hit, or touched without my permission there is still a lot of ways that people can behave irrationally or unprofessionelly that i still don't quite grasp the dynamecs of what is going on. this is less about avoiding abusers for me though and more about social skills in general.

i just literally don't f*cking know things so it makes it hard for me to under stand what is going on some times. or people will say little things here and there and i don't quite get what is happening. but generelly what i tend of noticing is that people start arguing with you.

and twisting things and when things start to get real illogical and unusual sounding is when i realize that this isn't right, something is wrong. in terms of avoiding abusers in relationships it was just luck.

and those are skills which take time of being able to not only recegnize of which you are feeling that way but that also you are willing to stand up for your self and elect not to put up with that behavier. i did not under stand that i was being abused right up until my ex was doing the same exact stuff to me that i grew up with. and i stayed with him despite that because i didn't know how else to survive.

and now i'm an adult and it's different because i'm responsible for my self and i don't feel like things are just randomly happening to me. which is something that is more childish (which i struggled with for many years of feeling victemized that things "just happened" and i couldn't understand how i could act to change it.)

some times i still don't quite know if i am in a healthy relationship. or if i'm around healthy people.

so i go based on how i feel. rather than what they're doing. because i don't always know that. if i'm always upset and scared and defensive with people. there's something wrong. and sometimes i don't even feel those things, i just feel like i am not under standing what is happening-that is also a big indicator.

i'm normally a logical person and i don't get upset and scared for no reason. sometimes i do! sometimes i do. that's true. but i usually know when i'm being irrational.

like sometimes i get scared even of my husband who is not abusive. i'll be like oh my god. maybe he's lying to me! all the time! maybe he's secretly doing things to me! (which is nonsense.) like i know it's nonsense. sometimes he lies because he's a person. and people lie. but his lies are always dumb, lmao.

i'll be like did you take out the garbage and he'll be like oh, i forgot. no you didn't, lmao, you just didn't want to! i'm not going to call him on it but i've caught him doing it before. i find that stuff pretty funny. it doesn't upset me. it's harmless. i think he just is wired to reduce conflict so instead of being like no! i don't wanna!

he'll lie. you know, like people do. "yeah i love that haircut." dude, i looked like leonard nimoy. come on.

i don't think that's abusive. it's just, like, normal. it's just all my brain, you know. and sometimes the reality melts and it gets harder but i can still, like, sort of tell, because the actual feeling of being afraid, is different. like i'm just "afraid that" he "could be" doing stuff. i'm not, like, scared. now. it's not imminent. that imminent feeling is different.

but i am safe and i'm not stressed all the time. i feel good most of the time. i'm not scared. those things are important. if you are stressed all the time and always on edge and always defensive and always afraid and always fighting and finding that everything is illogical and weird.

those are huge signs that there is some thing wrong. it might not be abuse you might just not be compatible with the person. it might just be stressful and anxiety provoking to interect with them. but either way-something is wrong.

and now that i know better that if i am scared like that it's not okay, i am an adult, i am allowed to leave. i do not need to be abused and mistreated, it is not exeptable behavier. especially that i have a child that i am supposed to show an example of a functional adult which is not some one who is just abused all the time with no agency.

and this is appliceble regardless of how you are interacting with some one. romantic or not. i have a non abusive romantic relationship but i still am a person and i deal with people all day every day, like, these are still skills you need! they are still important even if you find a partner who isn't abusive, like, other people can still abuse you.

so i still try to keep learning and understanding how people are working and behaving and what not. which also helps for me so that i also don't go around hurting people.
 
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happychild

Confident
na
Some abusers are women.

My abusers have been men and women. I just ignore them or say something that challenges their behaviour so they know I realise what they are doing and that I won't tolerate their behaviour.
Oh, yes! Definitely! Sorry for not being precise here! My mother is my biggest abuser - so definitely women AND men can be abusive!!

But thats exactly the point: how do you REALIZE what they are doing??
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
But thats exactly the point: how do you REALIZE what they are doing??
So this is actually really personal.. Like where is your line at? Like know what you're willing to put up with, and know when to ditch someone that crosses that line.

My line is vague AF when I explain it, but it's clear in my head (with friendships/potential partners), with family it's murky.
 

Friday

Moderator
I’ve only been in 2 abusive relationships.

After the 2nd, I looked up the stats for people in my situation*, and waited 5 years before I started dating, again.

Less than 2 years single = Most people** choose abusers
2 years = 50/50 chance
5+ years = Most people choose healthy relationships.

* The numbers wiggled around a bit depending on the situation : male or female; short term abusive relationship -less than 2 years- or long term; married or dating, kids or not.

** Who have already been in at least 1 abusive relationship
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
I attract them. This has to do with social queuing and other verbal and non verbal communications. I also seek and find them or I’m attracted to them.

This was proposed to me early in my therapy when in fact subconsciously I knew it already. I knew I was living in a repetitive pattern and no matter what I did I’d end up in the same old place.

I was right.

Now I know and I’m somewhat better. I’m in process still I suppose but I don’t see the end of the rainbow where this doesn’t go on anymore. So I isolate mostly.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
na

Oh, yes! Definitely! Sorry for not being precise here! My mother is my biggest abuser - so definitely women AND men can be abusive!!

But thats exactly the point: how do you REALIZE what they are doing??
controlling behaviour, like with your money or trying to stop you spending time with people that you want to see. Constant negative remarks about you personally. Bullying behaviour. Physical abuse. Emotional and psychological abuse.
 

happychild

Confident
I didn't really know it was absuive at the time. But I knew how it made me feel and I made a few concious decisions about what I wanted from future relationships. Which were:

A) that I will never share a bank account with someone again
B) that I will maintain my own friendship group
C) that I will have time on my own
D) that I am having sex on my terms*

I managed the top three, and mostly managed the last one but not really but not because my partner is abusive, but because of my past trauma and not really knowing what my terms are at certain points or how to articulate that in a certain moment.

And then I think it was luck more than anything that I found my partner. Because if she had been another type of person, I think the pattern would have been repeated.
Clear decision! Good point!
I tried that. I realized that I get weird panic attack with these people.
BUT: I had to realize this time that it is too late! When I got this panic attack I am already "in the whole shit" so I have to finde something "earlier" for me!

I think it's basically from deciding what you're willing/wanting to put up with, like boundaries basically. Outside of situations where you automatically appear vulnerable (so kids/homeless/etc.) it's more that things escalate slowly in majority of cases, but once you've been treated "worse" than what is happening at the time, you'll put up with more cos it's your normal. I'm not sure it's fully that you would attract abusive people, more that you're more likely to let them stick around longer.
unfortunately at good point: it is our normal! But I dont want that "normal" anymore!!!

but i am safe and i'm not stressed all the time. i feel good most of the time. i'm not scared. those things are important. if you are stressed all the time and always on edge and always defensive and always afraid and always fighting and finding that everything is illogical and weird.

those are huge signs that there is some thing wrong. it might not be abuse you might just not be compatible with the person. it might just be stressful and anxiety provoking to interect with them. but either way-something is wrong.
Thanks so much again for your honest answer!!!
Stressed, illogical and weird - very, very good points! It felt illogical and weird. I got stressed more and more. There arrising more and more questions in my head. I cannot make a compete picture. and that drives me deeper and deeper - trying to understand, to adapt, to get close! This is something I have to think about! Thanks @grief

I’ve only been in 2 abusive relationships.

After the 2nd, I looked up the stats for people in my situation*, and waited 5 years before I started dating, again.

Less than 2 years single = Most people** choose abusers
2 years = 50/50 chance
5+ years = Most people choose healthy relationships.

* The numbers wiggled around a bit depending on the situation : male or female; short term abusive relationship -less than 2 years- or long term; married or dating, kids or not.

** Who have already been in at least 1 abusive relationship

Thats a very interesting thought! Do you have an idea why people choose healthy relationships after a longer period of single being?

I attract them. This has to do with social queuing and other verbal and non verbal communications. I also seek and find them or I’m attracted to them.

This was proposed to me early in my therapy when in fact subconsciously I knew it already. I knew I was living in a repetitive pattern and no matter what I did I’d end up in the same old place.

I was right.

Now I know and I’m somewhat better. I’m in process still I suppose but I don’t see the end of the rainbow where this doesn’t go on anymore. So I isolate mostly.
That is what frightens me the most: the idea of repetive patterns.
I was very proud recently as I realized it in a friendship! And I finished this friendship. First I was proud - but than I got frightend that I will end up lonely if I finish every friendship/relationsship...
 
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