I was in an abusive relationship once. Probably most of us have. I got out. Part of the problem is once a person does something unacceptable we don’t instantly leave. (Now I would.). Instead we talk it out. If we are normal. The abuser can wait a few months and do it again. Because we’ve already agreed to allow that! After two or three same level episodes they can ramp it up a notch. Not a massive amount. But one good step above. And so on. Until you find yourself in a situation that after you think ‘how in the world do I allow that?’ Here is the key - when you’re not being abused you exaggerate how wonderful the person is when they’re being non abusive. Because it feels Great to not be abused. I had a friend in a lousy marriage. She told me things were much better after counseling. She told me the ‘nice’ things he was now allowing. Things like letting her talk to girlfriends, or even - get this - allowing a girlfriend to come over and visit! He was sooooo kind. I was stunned. I knew the marriage sucked. But I said ‘you’re in an abusive relationship. These aren’t nice things. They’re normal things. These seem nice to you only because the alternate way of acting is really bad. It makes normal pleasantries seem Way way better.’ I’m pleased to say they are now divorced. Sort of. They still live together and they’re divorced. Once their youngest graduates from high school she will leave. It’s a step.

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