Looking back, it’s my hopefulness that irritates me most. I kept thinking that he’d see the light, get what was wrecking our relationship, understand that I couldn’t live with his constant manipulation. He’d placate me with promises but I don’t believe he ever intended...
I find it astonishing, especially as someone trained in literature and focused on the power of the words, that the culture remains convinced—despite a robust body of scientific research—that abuse must be physical.
We develop our mental models of what relationships look like and how they work beginning in infancy and early childhood; these unconscious patterns of behavior become the basis for how we connect to others later in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
When I was little, I hated my mother’s pots and pans. They had copper bottoms and when I was assigned to wash them, they were a prime opportunity for my mother to put me down.
20/20 hindsight is at once empowering and terrifically discouraging. Yes, you see with clarity—how you managed to entangle yourself in the connection to begin with, why you kept hoping that things would get better, how you talked yourself into hanging in—and there are important lessons to be learned from the exercise of revisiting and making sense of the past. But then, too, there’s the painful admission that you just should have left long before.
Those of us brought up in households in which our emotional needs weren’t met emerge into adulthood with significant deficits, although we may not recognize them.
The question always comes down to a variation on this one: “Now what? Now that I’ve recognized that my childhood experiences are affecting me, what do I now?”