Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Are you into a slavish relationship?

Are you into a slavish relationship?

By Bob Garon
TODAY Newspaper
Wednesday, February 9, 2005 1:12 AM

Second of 5 parts

It isn’t easy to let a woman that is caught up in a slavish relationship where she is overpowered and dominated by a man see the contradiction of it all. The man says he loves her, yet he abuses her emotionally, verbally and perhaps even physically. Still, she makes excuses for him and insists that he loves her. He is very possessive of her as he dictates what she can and cannot do, often even up to some very detailed matters that she could and should easily decide for herself. He makes himself her whole world and she accepts it even if it seems like madness to her family and friends.

How can you tell if you are caught up in a similar relationship? Remember that if you are, you don’t usually know it because, if you did, you would have gotten out long ago. You’re trapped and you can’t figure out why, except that you are unable to break free. It is almost as if you like to be abused.

Dr. Susan Forward, who has worked with many women in such circumstances, has come up with a list of questions to help determine if you are into such a situation.

Here are some of them. The more yes answers, the greater the chances that it is so.

1. Do you apologize all the time?

2. Do you willingly accept the blame for everything that goes wrong in your relationship?

3. Do you watch every word that you say or rehearse what you will say so as not to set him off?

4. Do you constantly tell the children to be careful so that they don’t upset Daddy?

5. Do you cry a lot more than you used to?

6. Do you repress your feelings, especially your anger?

7. Do you constantly try to figure out how to get your partner’s approval? Do you twist yourself into a pretzel trying to suit his ever-changing demands?

8. Have you given up interests, activities and people that were once important to you?

9. Have you let go of opinions, ideas, attitudes, hopes and dreams you had for yourself?

10. Do you hold yourself back in your vocational or educational advancement?

11. Do you constantly excuse your partner’s behavior to yourself and to others?

12. Have you let yourself go physically? Have you gained or lost a great deal of weight? Are you paying less attention to your personal appearance than you used to? Do you find excuses not to leave the house?

13. Is your life based on trying to please your partner so as to avoid his wrath or disapproval?

If you have answered yes to a number of these questions, chances are that you are into a slavish relationship and almost surely you are not a happy woman. No amount of pretending can change that. It isn’t easy to look honestly into your relationship, especially if you are convinced that you are loved even if just about everyone who knows your condition strongly doubts that you are.

Tomorrow I’ll have more questions for you, this time about your partner’s behavior.


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