Dear LOA: Why Do I Keep Attracting Abusers?

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by Melody Fletcher on April 10, 2014

 

Awesome Tammy’s Burning Question: “Why do I keep attracting abusers? I have brilliant honest, open, respectful, loyal and loving relationships. The problem I have is they want to know why I am so nervey. I explain about PTSD due to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. They all become more loving. Then a while later things change and they then go on to abuse me. Currently my partner is an emotional abuser and cannot see it. My mum was abused my stepdad the abuser. At school I was bullied. At work people shunned me or manipulated me. I have high standards and time and again someone tramples on them when knowing about my past or just because of how I look (I am scrawny and have the body of a ten year old, but my face shows I’m in my thirties). No one, even total strangers, want to talk or listen to me. When someone rolls their eyes and pretends you don’t exist and looks above you to talk to the person behind you, you realize you are being blanked. Why do I attract abusers and how can I accept my true potential of amazingness when absolutely no one listens, ignores me, physically abuses me?

My daughter now copies this behavior. I do stand up for myself only for it to fall on deaf ears. I know I can control personal relationships to a certain extent but people you meet day to day. My daughter copies anyone because she is 2. She doesn’t listen to me anymore despite how assertive, angry, extremely upset I am. I don’t want her seeing this anymore. Please help.”

Dear Awesome Tammy,

Thanks so much for having the courage to write in and ask for help. I want to warn you right here, though. I feel like I need to do an intervention here, so I’m going to kick your butt a little bit. It’s time to stop the momentum you’ve got going, which requires me to be totally honest and well, quite frankly, just a wee bit on the blunt side. I’m going to assume that since you wrote me and not Dear Abbey, that you’re ready for it. Here we go:

Your daughter is not copying others. She’s responding to your vibration and mirroring back to you how you feel about yourself. So is everyone else. You keep attracting abusers because you see yourself as a victim. Pure and simple.

Are you a victim?

Notice that I didn’t say that you ARE a victim. You simply see yourself as one. And the Universe could not disagree more. When you ask people to treat you better because of the abuse you suffered in the past, you’re asking them to feel sorry for you. You’re not asking them to treat you with respect because not doing so is simply unacceptable behavior, because EVERYONE deserves to be respected and you don’t need any more justification than that, dammit. You’re saying “I’m weak and can’t defend myself, so please be nice to me.” Only, that’s just not true. You’re an infinitely powerful being with the power to create entire realities with a mere thought. And the way you feel when you insist that you’re a victim is your message that you’re not one. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

You don’t want to be treated badly. Of course you don’t. But you’re not successfully sending that message to the Universe, and therefore not attracting better behavior from those around you. When you send the false message that you’re weak and powerless, you will attract circumstances and people that will mirror that back to you. They’ll show you just how horrendous that powerlessness feels, so that you’ll hopefully get the message and change your vibration to one that feels a whole lot better. This is not done to punish you, or because you actually ARE weak. It is done precisely because you are NOT powerless, but strong and capable and not in any way obligated to put up with being treated badly. In other words, you don’t have to put up with people’s bullshit and it’s about time you actually said so.

Setting boundaries

You say that you’ve stood up for yourself, but I’m willing to bet money on the fact that you haven’t really. Not in a way that actually sets a boundary. You see, a true boundary is one that gets enforced. It’s not negotiable. If people treat you badly and you tell them to stop (not ask, tell), and they don’t, you have to be willing to walk away from them. You either have to fight or flee. You can’t continue to tolerate being abused and send the message that you’re no longer willing to be abused. You can’t back down. Only then will you actually be embodying the energy of someone who is worth being treated well, since you won’t tolerate anything less. You have to be willing to honor yourself enough to protect yourself, the way you would your child if someone were to mistreat her.

Which brings me to an excellent technique: Every time someone treats you in an unacceptable way, imagine they had done the same to your daughter. Would you react the same way? Would you timidly ask them to stop and then tolerate it if they didn’t? Or would you go after them with the vengeance of a Momma Bear? Chances are you’d cut anyone who made your daughter cry, but you’ll let people get away with far worse when it comes to how they treat you. It’s time for that to stop. Why do you not deserve to be treated equally as well? Why does your daughter warrant more protection than you do? And yes, I know it would be so much easier if only someone were to come along to protect you, but when it comes to vibration, only you can set the tone. You have to be willing to stand up for yourself first, before anyone else can.

Let go of the past

I know this is a lot to ask, but you’ll heal a lot faster if you’re willing to stop telling the story of your past abuse. I’m going to guess that you’ve told that story often enough. It’s time to move on and focus on the NOW. If you want to create a different outcome, you have to willing to tell a new story. How about this one: Once upon a time there was an Awesome warrior chic named Tammy, who realized that she was letting people treat her badly. So, one day, she decided that this was not acceptable anymore and no longer tolerated being the punching bag for anyone having a bad day.

Oh sure, at first the peasants revolted, having gotten so used to vomiting their nastiness all over her any time they felt like it. After all, she had never truly protested before. Like children, they threw tantrums and wailed and bitched and manipulated their hearts out. But when they realized she meant business, as she ignored their protests and gently yet firmly escorted them from the premises informing them that they would be welcome back only if were willing to play by HER rules, they quickly came around. Some, not yet ready to interact on a respectful level with anyone, stayed away. But many came back, humbled and with a much more respectful disposition.

And they all lived happily ever after.

The End.

The rules

That’s a nice story, isn’t it? Well, you can make that your reality, but just like the warrior chick, you have to be willing to stand your ground. This means, first and foremost, that you have to be willing to walk away. You have to be willing to let everyone who isn’t willing to follow your rules to gravitate out of your reality. You have to be willing to prioritize yourself and how you feel over how they feel. If they get upset, so be it. After all, they’ll be getting upset about the fact that you won’t let them be mean to you anymore. Honestly, is that something you want to cater to??

If you’re not sure what kinds of rules to set, here’s an example. Think of it like a dress code or rules of conduct posted outside a night club. If you post the rules and enforce them, all the people who do make it past the bouncer will have a great time. If you let just anyone come in, you’ll soon have a club full of douchebags and the awesome people won’t come anywhere near the premises.

Example rules:

1.)    You must be kind to be in my life in any significant way.

2.)    You must be respectful. You don’t have to love me or like me, but if you disrespect me, the conversation is over. I will assume that this is a sign that we are not meant to converse.

3.)    If you are mean to me, the conversation is over. I don’t care if you have more to say. If you can’t speak to me like an adult, you don’t get to speak to me at all.

4.)    If you start screaming at me, the conversation is over. We can talk about it after you calm down and apologize.

5.)    If you say something nasty to me and then pretend it was a joke, I will call you on that shit. You are not funny and you were not joking. What you did was sling your own pain at someone else and then, too embarrassed to own it, pretend it was in jest. I will be kind in the way I call you on it, though, since I follow my own rules. I will simply calmly ask you “How was that funny?” Then I’ll shut up and will look at you until you explain your “joke”. Yes, it will be awkward. For you.

6.)    My friendship is a precious thing. I don’t give it out easily. You must be as good of a friend to me as I am to you in order to qualify. No exceptions.

Do you see a pattern here? You have to be willing to end the conversation, walk away and stop the abuse immediately. The message has to be: “If you are not willing to respect my rules, you don’t get to come into my club.” People who are abusive don’t get to talk to you. They don’t get to engage with you. And that has to include your partner.

Your size has nothing to do with it

You may be petite, but trust me, that has nothing to do with how people treat you. Some of the most powerful women I know are tiny little spitfires. No one would dare mess with them. But how you carry yourself has a lot to do with how people react to you, since it’s a direct reflection of your energy. Walk proudly, with your shoulders back. Dress in ways that make you feel powerful and attractive (dress to kill). Stay calm (true strength is calm, violence actually represents weakness and insecurity.) Don’t yell but speak loud enough to make yourself heard (don’t ask for permission to speak with your tone. Just launch into it like you have every right to do so. Because you do.) Carry yourself with authority, like you run the place. Basically, get into the feeling of someone who is respected, someone who wouldn’t put up with even an iota of BS; become warrior chick Tammy.

You can actually visualize yourself as a warrior woman in order to get into this feeling. See yourself as tall and strong and yielding a powerful sword. You can even fantasize about lobbing people’s heads off in order to get rid of some anger. Get revenge in your imagination. Empower yourself.

You can also replay past events where people treated you badly and see yourself reacting differently. For example, if your boyfriend said something mean to you, see yourself telling him to fuck off. Yes, seriously. You can disagree with each other, but being mean is not acceptable in a relationship. If he’s not kind to you, there’s no reason for you to be with him. There is no justification for staying in an abusive relationship. Ever. Not even that “he doesn’t realize it”. Make him aware of it and walk away if he doesn’t apologize profusely and changes. He doesn’t have to agree that his behavior is abusive in order for it to be so. If you find his behavior unacceptable, you get to walk away. He doesn’t get a vote. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that emotional abuse isn’t “that bad”. It has the same root as physical abuse. Get out.

You don’t have to be a bitch

While a little bitchiness is preferable to being a doormat, you don’t have to become a total ballbuster in order to have boundaries. You can enforce your limits gently yet firmly. You can walk way, or kindly call people on their BS. Just as long as you don’t back down. But here’s the thing: you won’t have to confront for long. As soon as you become totally unwilling to put up with being mistreated, as soon as you respect yourself enough to really draw a line, as soon as you truly begin to see yourself as strong and powerful (for which you need no evidence. Just start looking at yourself that way), you’ll shift into a completely different reality where those who would abuse you no longer have access to you.

What you can’t do is worry about how people will feel. Or about what they’ll think. Or about fitting in. After all, would you let someone mistreat your child just to spare their feelings? Of course not. Be just as strict about protecting yourself.

Bottom line

Although changes in your behavior will have some effect, the real difference will be made by the shifts in your vibration. As you begin to honor yourself and your own boundaries more, you’ll begin to send the message to the Universe that you are now worth respecting. You’ll become an energetic match to people who feel good enough about themselves not to feel the need to abuse others. You’ll become a match to kindness and courtesy. You’ll feel stronger and more powerful. And your daughter will have a powerful female role model who commands attention and respect.

Remember: You are amazing. You are worth getting to know and spending time with. Those who don’t honor that or who abuse the privilege, don’t get to have access to your fabulousness anymore. Period.

More Resources

Here are some additional blog posts and coaching calls that explore this subject:

Quiet Strength – How To Stand Up For Yourself Without Being A Bitch

Grow A Pair! Overcoming Your Fear of Confrontation

Overcoming Your Fear Of Confrontation – A Coaching Call

Coaching Call #037 – Learning To Set Boundaries With Men

Coaching Call #085 – She’s Afraid of Speaking her Truth Because of How Others Will React

Coaching Call #088 – Her Belief of Not Being Good Enough Has Kept Her Stuck for 10 Years

Coaching Call #091 – Leaving an Abusive Relationship

{ 22 comments }

kim phelps April 11, 2014 at 01:29

Love, love, LOVE. period.

fs April 11, 2014 at 02:13

best post ever!!!
go warrior women!!!

Rev. Roxanne K. Cottell April 11, 2014 at 02:53

Well hello Snarky Puppy Chick…you HAD to know that I was going to jump on in here and have a bit to say regarding this latest and most awesomely explained stuff here about no longer being someone’s victim. I would like to add something here to this way, way kick ass blog post that you KNOW I will be sharing on my twitter feed…awrighty…here we go…

Melody, girlfriend if there is anything that anyone who is anyone’s victim at all NEEDS to know and more than that, NEEDS to believe is that what they are experiencing is temporary, and also that what they are doing, as you always eloquently state so marvelously is that EVERYTHING we see somehow mirrors ourselves. The one thing that I tell a whole LOT of people is that they can tell what their inner worlds are like by recognizing the traits-in-common with themselves that they also can see and point out in the person who is being awful to them and also within the group of people who they hang with. That alone is VERY telling for all of us, to see what is in existence within us by seeing what is in existence that is exactly like us, or is the exact opposite. The ‘exact opposite’ thing is all over the domestic abuse thing. I know this. I lived it. it is not fun, neither pretty, and hell yes, it is dangerous as anything. But, it is also NOT something that any person cannot survive.

If I can survive…beatings, guns pulled on me, baseball bats, wheels from cars….and of course, everything else that comes with being abused (see that? I called the action what it is, and to HELL with calling me even a FORMER victim…no no no…not okay…being abused is awful…and no, you are not required to remain anyone’s temporary victim for any reason at all…keep reading…)

I tell a lot of people who are in such situations is -

(1) So long as you believe it will be over with – NOT “eventually,” but rather and ONLY “(insert date here…and be reasonably logical about it because leaving a violent situation is NOT easy and it REQUIRES LOTS OF TIME TO PLAN YOUR ESCAPE!!)” and INDEED put a date on it. As Melody stated – you need to set a boundary, with everything, good or bad, no matter what, because the Universe only knows what it is that we want to have in our lives but when you leave Her to Herself to decide for you, decide for you the Goddess most assuredly will. So, yeah…give yourself time to think about this one, and know that it really is only an example.

(2) My biggest thing when it came to myself was agreeing with my abuser, albeit silently, that indeed I was his victim. I didn’t like that thought, not even a little bit, so, when it came time for me to do what I had to do, I came up with a new word, and that new word was “Survivor.” When I thought about the energy behind each of those words it became clear to me, on a daily basis, that what I needed to do was NOT wait for my abuser to change his ways, but for me to change my mind about how I felt about myself.

How we feel about ourselves will ALWAYS reveal itself in our relationships. It never won’t. This is that mirroring thing that we do, meaning that anyone in any sort of abusive relationship, while they are planning (I emphasize planning an escape rather than just bailing…I mean, yeah, you would find that a lot of people would just bail but the planning thing for those who are extra-special scared need to plan their escape and yes, Melody, you can feel free to send them to me via private email if they need help with a plan…that’s what i am great at lol) their “freedom list of things to do” might want to, while they are planning, ALSO begin to do what they are learning here in “Manifestation University,” and BEGIN TO CHANGE THEIR THOUGHTS about THEMSELVES FIRST. Once this happens, and it has been practiced, the next thing that NEVER DOESN’T HAPPEN is the changes that we can see with our own eyes.

If I didn’t do one simple thing – no longer call myself his victim but instead gave myself a new energy and a new “thing” to call myself – My Own Survivor – I would not be here right now telling all of you fine and lovely readers of my girl Melody that there is a way out, and there is also a permanent way to never have to encounter yet one more Overlord of Douche-land, because you will have taught yourself to believe YOU first and NOT some egotistical windbag of a human being. Once it was that I got into the habit of changing the word “victim” to “Survivor” I noticed fairly quickly afterwards that I was never anything that I was called, never anything that he thought described me adequately, and most of all, that I needed to love ME first, or else how would anyone else know how to do that when the time came for it? (Mel…the time came for it…his name is David…he has the most glorious singing voice…I did EXACTLY what you wrote about and made that list and dammit if he is not just everything I thought about and more…SO much more…I will clue you in through a private email….you are going to LOVE this !! )

And that really is where this all begins, with ourselves, and the sooner the better. We cannot hope that someone else will change who they are for real all and only for lil’ ole us. We were granted upon arrival in this lifetime this silly thing called Free Will, and that one thing is what allows us to have the WILL to go on, and is the thing that also makes being a human being so, so, so rewarding in terms of what it is that we each are learning in this lifetime.

Once a person learns to change how they feel about themselves, they will notice, too, that other people – people who will give a damn about how we feel about ourselves, too – will also take notice, and sooner than later, what happens then is remarkable. We begin to believe what WE tell ourselves, and again, other people take notice, and this just keeps happening and happening and then one day, we realize that the reason that we felt like a victim at all was not because we couldn’t change someone else, but because we didn’t think that maybe if we change how WE think about us, that others will follow suit…and then one day, a new person shows up, thinks that you are just the best thing on two legs and cannot stop thinking about you…this is really what happens…

All you have to do is learn to rethink what it is that YOU want to think of you as being, and to hell with what anyone else thinks.

I wouldn’t say it if I, myself, did not survive this madness called domestic violence and emotional abuse.

Thanks for letting me invade your space for a moment, Melody…girlfriend YOU ROCK !!

Aloha nui loa….ROX, the Feral Rabid Kitten in Los Angeles lol

\m/ Metal Horns Way Up for my girl Melody…the world’s smartest, snarkiest puppy \m/
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fs April 11, 2014 at 03:23

this brought tears to my eyes Roxanne. You write so beautifully .
thank you from bottom of my heart!!!

Amanda April 11, 2014 at 02:54

You read my mind every time, Melody. This is exactly what I needed right now. The universe must like me a lot to have sent me to your kickass awesome blog. =)

Rose April 11, 2014 at 04:20

SO AWESOME! IN EVERY WAY. And to dearest darling Tammy, you really came to the right place and now please stay here. Don’t give up the fight. Just like Melody said, just isolate yourself from anybody who doesn’t respect you. Make it a habit. Practice dialogues, just say things like, I’m sorry, you don’t get to talk to me like that or Would you please calm down? or I don’t like the way you’re talking to me. And then, just walk away. Refuse to participate and get sucked into any negativity or drama. Just go to another room. And repeat your dialogue. Over and over again. Sometimes, the person will come back saying, oh I was just being funny, or can’t you take a joke? or OMG, everything makes you upset. Or you’re such a killjoy, softy, you’re so sensitive, gosh I don’t even know what to say anymore, you’re so difficult blah blah blah….just pay a deaf ear. You’re an awesome person and you have been taking A LOT of shit. It’s time for that to stop. And it will with time, just give it some time and keep standing up for yourself. In any case, you have Melody now. Melody is the HERO AND THE BIGGEST WARRIOR WOMAN IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Melody is on your side. (Nationwide is going to sue me) ha ha. I too am petite and have had the same experiences even when I didn’t think I was the victim. It was because I was too empathetic and then people would just keep throwing up all over me but after reading Melody’s posts and scheduling calls with her, OMG, I have become somewhat of a warrior chick. I just don’t take shit anymore. I take it to some extent because I’m still learning and growing. Just keep telling the universe you are not willing to volunteer to be treated badly through your actions. (Don’t get violent. Release your anger in constructive ways.) If possible, you should totally schedule a call with Melody. Sorry, if I am sounding preachy, and I hope what I said didn’t come off like that because I am no teacher, I am just a big fan of Melody and one of her monster clients and have had similar experiences. Your question was very personal to me. Sending you a bigggggg tightttttttest hug your way if you read this and just keep standing up for yourself. As much as you can. If you choose to let go of something just because it makes it easier for you based on your situation, you can do that but please don’t take anybody’s shit. EVER. If they refuse to improve or grow, then they don’t care about you or care about getting to know you. They don’t care about knowing what hurts you and what doesn’t. Why hang out with them anyway. Big hugs, darling Tammy. I promise you it’ll get sooooo much better when you isolate yourself and refuse to take any shit. Just draw the line when it doesn’t feel good. Just hang up, say gotta go. Or excuse yourself. Do whatever but don’t take anybody’s shit. It’s not worth your time and I am so happy for you that you attracted MELODY in your life. Lucky lucky YOU! Yay!!!!!!!

SK April 11, 2014 at 07:07

consider this old wisdom.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength.
Loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Many of us rely on another person to like us and to love us. If they withdrawn their love, we will feel weak and powerless.
Most of us automatically loves someone deeply, we just do. I am sure many of you experience the courage you feel when you protect someone you deeply love. If there comes a day when we have no one to love, we may as well loose the will to live.

You may be wondering, is there a way have both?
Yes

If you truly love yourself, you have will both courage and strength.

It’s that simple.

tammy April 11, 2014 at 09:52

Thank you so so much. You have made me realise so much. I am too empathetic in all sorts of ways. When I thought I was standing and defending myself and fighting, I was fighting the wrong thing. I thought it was abuse directed at me because of past issues. I notice things differently now. I am not being abused because of my past, it is like one of the comments I just read. It is because I set boundaries and it is not liked. This is where they dont like it, throw a tantrum with hurtful words and sometimes fists, then I am manipulated because of my empathy. I am so thankful that all of you guys were able to help me clear that one up. I refuse to be abused or manipulated or taken for granted any more. The first thing I am going to stick with is I will only allow people into my life if they are able to be loyal, respectful, honest, loving and caring. Also they must bring as much of this as I give, or more. I was always of the view point that I gave myself wholeheartedly to someone or something and expect the same in return. Obviously life and trauma made me somehow relax this but no more. Thankyou. And a massive hug to all those survivors. It is not a word I like and today I am going to make it my plan to become the warrior. I see the woman I want to be now. I need to confront my fear of confrontation and regain control of my own life. I intend to become I warrior. I like that phrase. There is no connotation of victim in warrior. Thanks melody and everyone else. I do not feel so alone, confused or victim like. Thanks xxx

Moonsparkle April 14, 2014 at 20:25

Good luck Tammy. :)
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Dominique April 11, 2014 at 15:15

It’s amazing what happens here. Tammy has shifted, right before our eyes :) . I love this place :) . Go Tammy :) xxx

Kelli April 11, 2014 at 16:31

Hey Melody
This was a REALLY GREAT post that I think will help a lot of people. This is an issue that many of deal with to some degree; while it may not always be something involving outright abuse, a poor self image is a major contributor to lots of problems we face with other people in our lives. A saying I have heard before was something like ”we teach people how to treat us,” and it is so true. Getting past that victim mentality can be a challenge, but reading something like this can be a major step in the right direction.

Caitlin April 11, 2014 at 18:05

Love you Melody. Thanks for this post. My name means “Warrior” and yet… it seems I forget too often. So glad your influence is in my Life. ???

Caitlin April 11, 2014 at 18:07

Boo. .. those are supposed to be hearts !!! <3 <3

Za April 11, 2014 at 18:23

Hi Melody,
Indeed, this post is great !… But did anybody tell you why? Well, it’s because you give so many precise examples. Each time you bring up a rule, the reader would immediately wonder “..yeah sure, I get the general idea, but how do I do this?”..and then , the next sentence answers this question right away. It’s like you are in our head. And this also allows us to bring some unconscious behaviours to light. Your precise examples show how far we have to go to have the boundaries clearly set…and this “how far” was often what our mind was confused about. Thanks a lot!

Amber April 11, 2014 at 22:03

OMG these rules work for all types of boundaries! Perfect!

Amber April 11, 2014 at 22:06

I mean relationships :) they are the ground rules for all relationships and any boundary issue. Thanks!

Kat April 12, 2014 at 01:31

Loving it. Go girl.

Michelle April 14, 2014 at 00:59

The absolute truth :) I had to learn this by experience (sad-face) but I did learn it in time to get free. And the change happens just as Melody has described: when I decided I was worthy of respect and required people to treat me with the kindness, honesty and courtesy that I gave them, some left and some stayed. But the new people who entered my life already behaved with kindness and respect because I did not interact with people who did not. How simple can something get?

Thanks for all your posts Melody – they lift me up and show me how my life can become.

Julie Cara Hoffenberg April 14, 2014 at 21:26

What a fantastic no-B.S. response to Tammy’s question! I love it when bloggers can actually reflect back to a person their languaging, stuck points, and some ideas to step into action and move forward in life. Very powerful!

There is a great chance Tammy has always said somewhere in her conscious or subconscious, “I do not want an abuser.I do not want to attract an abuser. I do not want someone to come into my life and abuse me.” And through this message, she is vibrating the attraction of the abuser, as the universe does not hear the “do not want” part, they just hear the feelings she is emitting (fear of getting something).

We’ve all been there and we call all leave :-) Thanks again for the great question and answer on both ends and I wish you all a magical day!

tammy April 15, 2014 at 09:41

Update on things. Thank you so much for everyones advice and comments. On the very same day I received the answer to my question, I received the news that an older friend of mine had died, which kind of put things into perspective. Am now trying my very best to become warrior like for myself, my daughter and because life is too short. I have been so messed up for the past two years (i never got over my daughters dads death and accept I never will, but I will become a different person for it, so I have to stop fighting and resisting) anyway because of everything I started doing. I havent stopped doing and havent stopped. This kind of living is no good for anyone. My barriers are emotional and financial and I have to sort these for me to move on. Its going to be difficult but I rise to the challenge. Thank you everyone.

SK April 19, 2014 at 11:12

Tammy,

if life happens to you and you ever feel overwhelmed, remember this
” a warrior fights to protect, not to punish.”

Ask yourself what/who you must protect.
Then refocus on that.

The driving force behind your actions must be Love, not Fear.

Ronnie Aswalt April 30, 2014 at 11:43

I would say that you may have been somewhat irresponsible with your advice here. Are you aware of Abusive situations where standing up to the abuser or not complying is punishable by rape, beatings, choking, punching?

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