Antoinette Steenkamp Antoinette Steenkamp blog
Being in a abusive relationship can be excruciatingly painful because there is a sense of it’s my fault and that accompanies guilt feelings, where in essence it is not your fault. The abuser has a way often very subtle to make you feel like it is your fault, abusive men make you feel that if only you were different then things would be different. This is a dynamic that exist in abusive relationships. The abuser never takes responsibility, never admits that it is his doing, that he is at fault ( I write as it the man is the abuser, this does not negate the men who gets abused by women, they exist, but according to statistiques women are the dominant sex being abused.) The tragedy is that the abused often try so hard and is constantly trying to please the abuser and no matter what she does it seems hard to please him. The dynamic is often to keep the abused in a guilt mode, hence the abuser will always blame her. She often lives in a constant or near-constant mode of anxiety, because she feels it is her fault. Sadly he convinces her it is her fault when it is not and she believes him because she has no confidence in herself. Her self-esteem is too low to value herself and walk away or to make very specific boundaries which would not tolerate abusive behaviour.
My free support group offers women an escape haven where they can reunite regularly and not feel alone or at fault, where they can share their pain and loneliness and find support and understanding from other women in the same position. Obviously everything said is held in total confidentiality. My wish is for these women to develop self-esteem and come to a place where they feel they deserve to be in a relationship with a man who treats them with respect, love and trust. There are good men out there who do honour women. Often women stuck in abusive relationships feel afraid to leave thinking and believing they wont meet anyone else. Fear and low self-esteem is a huge factor in these women not leaving. I have witnessed many women who have worked on themselves in therapy and consequently been courageous to leave abusive relationships and then met loving men. Men who don’t blame and make you feel guilty and bad. Women can work on themselves and change their low self-esteem image and start believing in their capacity to be loved. If you truly belief you deserve to be loved and to be happy you can find a relationship that is healing and nurturing. I want to say to the women who read this blog, you have one life, make the most of it. You can be in a good and healthy relationship. Abusive relationships are toxic they hurt and damage us to the very core of our essence. Most of the fear that keeps women in abusive relationships is unfounded.