How do I gain street smarts to protect myself and my children?
May 29, 2014 3:08 PM Subscribe
How does one overcome thought processes and the resulting bad decision making from a lifetime of abuse and poor examples.
posted by tenaciousmoon to Human Relations (18 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I was sexually, physically, emotionally and verbally abused as a child from as early as I can remember up until my teenage years. All of my partners and a number of friends since have been abusive. I have been taken advantage of and under definition, raped, by a few dates over my lifetime.
I have no filter for whats appropriate behavior from a relationship or any kind of sense to tell me whether someone is dangerous or has poor intentions.
I have never known a "good man" or one who has not been predatory or abusive. I'm almost inclined to say at this point in my life I don't believe it exists. I often feel embarrassed and ashamed by my poor relationship choices that have often put me into dangers way. I am tired of being told, "Well, what did you expect?" I am completely naive to it all.
I am considering not dating at all until my kids are grown and gone and potentially never, due to one of my daughters being autistic. This makes me really sad as I have a lot to offer a partner, but I can't even show my children what a good relationship looks like.
My ex(31) pursues barely legal teenagers not much older than my daughter and I feel like a complete and utter failure for not having the skills to recognize that in him to begin with or potentially protect my kids from him into the future. Is he a threat to them and their friends, was he always a threat? What did I miss? Am I overreacting? My head spins.
Some things I wonder about:
How do I gain these skills? Why don't I have them? Is there reading I can do or support groups/forums?
I think my internal programming was written incorrectly in a bad way. I don't even know what a good way would look like. How do you imagine something you've never seen?
How do I avoid having either doom-like or fantasy expectations of future relationships based on all of this?
Do you have any advice or personal experiences you feel may help my understanding?
I feel dumb for having to ask these questions. This is common sense, right? Why doesn't it click for me?
(I was in therapy for 1.5 years and it gave me the ability to recognize abuse and understand that I didn't and don't deserve it. Before that I had no clue. Unfortunately, the low income option where I live has increased their minimum fees by $25 a session and I can no longer afford to go. I have friends, but it seems wrong to burden them with heavy conversations like this. I'm looking for self-help suggestions.)