Abusive relationships, in which you become victimized, are an easy cycle to get into. Perhaps you are in a toxic relationship where you feel stuck and disrespected. Or maybe you find yourself going from one person to the next, always feeling mistreated.

It can be hard to recognize the signs of emotional abuse, but your role as the victim of emotionally abusive relationships with men or women likely started with your parental figure of the gender you’re attracted to.

Because the parent-child relationship involves such an imbalance of power, it is easy for a dynamic of abuse to develop from an early age — even if you weren’t raised by emotionally abusive parents.

This can cause trauma and lead to a wide range of problems down the line when you’re trying to create healthy relationships as an adult because, once you’re accustomed to emotionally abusive relationships, you’re more likely to attract them.

See Also: 7 Signs you enjoy being in an emotionally abusive relationship

Here are 5 signs you’re a magnet for emotionally abusive relationships, plus what you can do to put emotional abuse behind you and start attracting healthy relationships instead.

1. You seek out abusers

If you grew up in an abusive dynamic, it can become a “familiar” environment. Without meaning to, you can end up actually seeking out these negative people because they feel comfortable to you.

You don’t want to be abused, but you keep finding reasons to stay. Excuses to give. Explanations for why he or she isn’t as bad as all that.

But you’re likely just following the same pattern in relationships that you’ve been taught since you were young. You might even choose to stay in a familiar environment until it becomes so difficult to endure that you simply must try something new.

2. You frequently play the “victim”

A coping mechanism for living in an abusive environment is that you take on the “victim” persona. It can feel like an easy way to manage the abuse, and even be a way to garner sympathy from your abuser.

Perhaps there was some acknowledgement of your victimization at some point that felt really good — like someone being kind and helping when you needed it — and you want to hold onto that feeling. Maybe you saw other victims getting sympathy, and you wanted that sympathy, too.

Whatever the reason, you continue to seek the reward that made you feel good, especially when you’re dealing with the very real pain of attracting abusive people in your life. This reaction typically happens on a deeply subconscious level, so you might not even realize that you’re doing it at first.

Once you understand it, however, you can make the choice to change, and put the power back in your hands.

See Also: Women: Lies we tell ourselves when we’re ‘stuck’ in relationships with controlling, manipulative men

3. You’re afraid of being single

One of the first things that get you into trouble is being desperate for love, acceptance, or even physical intimacy. You might feel this desperation and subconsciously project it out to the world around you.

This can result in picking up the wrong kind of people who think you don’t deserve anything other than their bare minimum. You might also not pay attention to big red warning flags in a relationship because you don’t want to be “alone.”

If you recognize these behaviours, don’t judge yourself too harshly. It’s an easy pattern for abuse victims to fall into, whether it’s been going on for a few months or even decades.

Instead, observe and learn from your mistakes; unfold the pattern until you understand it and can choose what kind of relationship that you want.

4. You don’t feel you deserve love, even though you crave it

When your self-esteem is damaged, you’ll start to put more weight on emotions like sadness, anger, worry, and fear. These emotions start to create an energetic vibration that you’re “broadcasting” out to the people around you.

In terms of your energy, like attracts like. So if you don’t feel that you deserve love, how will you convince someone else to love you properly?

If you’re putting this negative energy and vibrations out into the world, you’ll also be attracting people with the same vibrations. This gets really problematic. You will attract a person who feels like they can attack you verbally, physically, or even emotionally. They’ll likely project their own abuser onto you, and treat you accordingly.

These situations can make you feel like you are stuck in a threatening, hopeless situation you cannot escape, but the great news is that when you start to recognize what’s happening and your role in it, you can turn the tables on the situation. You can take control of your life, your emotions, and even your relationships.

5. You feel like you deserve the abuse or unhappiness

People who are stuck in victim persona tend to lack self-esteem and self-love, and it starts with learning to love yourself as you are.

Changing this dynamic is the key to getting out of an abusive situation and into a healthier one. Loving yourself can be a long process, but it’s about shifting your focus over time, giving yourself grace for mistakes, and learning to accept yourself for who you are, right now, mistakes and all.

If you grew up with emotional abuse, you’re probably overly critical of yourself. Perhaps you’re projecting the love you should be giving to yourself onto others, and the wrong people are answering.

Become aware of how you speak to yourself. If you judge your own actions harshly, ask yourself, “If another person did that same thing, would I judge them in the same way? Do I really want to be judged like that?”

We are all learning and growing by making mistakes; it’s a lifelong process! Go easy on yourself.

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