“Why do I only attract abusive men?”
She asks this, and I think about how many women with tears in their eyes have asked me something similar. Now I can finally give a good answer.
You attract men who aren’t abusive. You just don’t see them.
Your next abuser meets you and starts saying things like this to you:
“My ex was so freakin psycho. She was evil. Not like you. You are cool, calm, rational…”
“Man lately it feels like everyone is against me. Meeting you is like a breath of fresh air.”
“My ex, man, she was just twisted. Devious. Not like you. You are obviously honest, a good woman. I’ve needed a good woman in my life for so long….”
“They are only out for themselves, and I’m not down with it. They are a bunch of narcissists. Not like you. You are caring, you obviously pay attention to other people.”
And see, what you hear is that he’s calling you smart, kind, a good woman.
That’s not what I hear.
What I hear from him is blame.
Blame, blame, blame. It’s all someone else’s fault.
But it’s seductive, isn’t it? Here’s this guy, and all he needs to turn his life around is the love of a good woman. And you can provide that, can’t you? I mean you look at yourself, and maybe you’ve got low self-esteem, maybe you don’t have much money, but you know you have love. You can love a man, right? So, finally, here’s a guy who will really appreciate you.
But the problem is that abuse doesn’t start with miscommunication.
Abuse does not start with anger.
Abuse does not start with yelling.
Abuse does not even start with lies and deception, as bad as those are.
Abuse starts with blame.
“I feel bad and it’s your fault”. That’s how it begins.
So when you don’t do what he wants, when you try to stand up for yourself, when you dare to win an argument, now he’s blaming you. Because blame is what he does. And if he keeps doing it, you start to think that maybe it really is your fault.
And sometimes he doesn’t even blame you with words. He does it with obvious body language. He withdraws his affection. He doesn’t acknowledge you around his friends and associates. He gets distant if you start making your affections public.
And it’s all so different from when he pursued you, isn’t it?
When he pursued you he pushed past your no’s and maybe’s forcefully. Sometimes by arguing, sometimes with puppy dog eyes. He just wanted to hang out. He just wanted to see if you are OK. Now you know he wants more than that, but it feels so good, doesn’t it, to believe that a man cares about you?
And then later on, sure he got consent, but then he kept pushing and even though you resisted, and wanted to say no….
Here’s what I want to say.
You are attracting men that are not abusive.
You don’t see them because they respect your boundaries. A man who is not abusive doesn’t need to hear you say no. He can feel your body stiffen. He can see your arms cross.
But because of your experience, when he starts flirting with you and you freeze up a little, he backs off. You think, “Oh, he’s not really into me.” But what I see is that he is into you. It’s just that he respects you. That’s why he doesn’t keep pushing.
Maybe he even gets up the nerve to ask you on a date. Maybe you say yes. But then, he doesn’t try to manipulate, push or guilt trip you into sex. You think, “Oh, he’s not really into me.” Maybe. Or, maybe, he is into you. He just respects you.
You are attracting men who aren’t abusive. You just mistakenly believe that they aren’t into you.
For men who tend to end up with abusive women, this all applies except that the way she insults her ex might be a little different. She will probably insult him for not being man enough, being a deadbeat, not being financially stable enough. In any case, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, the warning sign is blame.
When it’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault, watch out. When they are ALWAYS the victim, watch out.