Ever wonder how someone you know who used to be confident and vital has now become a supplicant, acting like a victim and not standing in their power? That is what happens when a person lives and or works in an abusive environment for any length of time.
First, a story. When I was in my early twenties I worked evenings at a pizza place (great tips). My boss was a D-bag of the sexual harassing variety. On my first day one of the female coworkers pulled me aside and gave me the rundown. “Don’t let yourself ever be completely alone with Jon. Don’t walk too close or he will grab your behind, and when he yells at you don’t take it personally. Oh, and have one of the cooks walk you to your car at the end of your shift, he’s made girls feel uncomfortable in the parking lot before.”
Most of us who worked there were 20ish young and we didn’t like it, but we accepted that Jon’s bad behavior was part of the job and each day I got more and more used to it. About a year later they hired a new server who wasn’t a kid, 24, and when she got the “How to deal with John” speech, she was not impressed. I remember her yelling at someone, “Why would you guys put up with that? It’s crazy!” When he did grab her behind and ask for a date, she said no then called the corporate offices with her complaint. To their credit within a day he was gone. But you know what, all of us could have done that. But why didn’t we?
Here’s why. Each and every day of being in that abusive environment we got a little more desensitized to how bad it was. It took an outsider to make all of us really see what was going on.
That’s what happens when you spend too much time in situation like that. It starts to seem normal. For me when I looked at what I had been allowing that past year I realized that I had started to allow that kind of behavior into my personal life as well. I had accepted not so nice behavior from boyfriends, and had allowed my boss at my other job to start treating me with disrespect without complaining.
It’s easy to miss this kind of change in yourself, which is why talking to girlfriends and a therapist can really help. You might get mad when someone points out “that’s abuse.” You may even feel embarrassed that you didn’t see it or that you allowed it to happen but that’s an emotion you can get past. What’s hard to get past is the daily damage done to your self-esteem when you stay too long at that bad party.
At some point, you stop trying to make things better and just accept those actions but then you become a part of the problem by enabling it.
So, what to do if this is happening to you?
First, rather than just “trying to get out” you need to look at your mindset, your self-esteem, your life situation to see why you allowed this to go on, or how you missed seeing bad behavior was abusive.
Then, it’s time to create a plan. You can stay and fight, call the corporate office if that’s an option, but in the case of a bad relationship who are you going to call? Their mom? Good luck with that … A counselor? Yes, do that. The police? If it’s ever that bad, then call them and everyone else I mentioned including a clergy member.
Rebuilding that self-esteem can take time and work. If you go to my website, I have a new free 8-minute meditation that will help you call back your power and help you turn that negative energy into something new.
Love yourself enough to know when your power is being sucked away.
Jill K Thomas CHT
Soul Connect Hypnotherapy
Author of the books “Tales from the Trance” & “Feed your Real Hunger”
Appointments available Globally by Video Chat