Relationships, denial and abuse


I’m having a hard time with the Relationships workbook and not thinking of examples of denial.

For example, my first boyfriend was verbally abusive to me. I choose not to see it that way. He was manipulating me with the cycle of abuse then “love” and I was in denial about it. I now have boundaries so no one can talk to me that way, and I have an amazing husband who has never been mean or verbally abusive in anyway. But I learned all of this after that relationship.

When I was young, I believed that unconditional love was ignoring what you don’t like about someone – in that case him regularly insulting me. I told myself that was about him and is childhood trauma and not about me. Then he got physically abusive with my dog and that’s why I left. I wish I had known then what I know now – that people don’t get to insult you time and time again. You can leave, you can set a boundary.

But I’m confused with the teaching. I read the part on boundaries, but it can be hard for someone to know appropriate boundaries, especially if they were never modeled healthy relationships. (In my family, it was acceptable to “lose your temper” and yell at someone. I thought that was normal, so it wasn’t a red flag when my abusive boyfriend did it to me).

From the workbook:
“What if he cheats on me, or yells at me, or
hits me?”
This is where the brain goes.
And the truth is, this is rarely the issue. This is a
boundary issue, and we will talk about this in a
minute.”

I would disagree this is rarely the issue. Domestic abuse is very common, goes unreported, and often women are told “this is how men are” and to just deal with it.