At the end of my relationships – and I mean the very end, the
time AFTER you break-up and make the decision to stop swinging back and
forth between being out of it and being in it – I’m always hit by some
of the profound changes that didn’t seem to take any effort at all to
facilitate. In what seems like a moment, you can flip the switch from
believing that you will get married, have children and grow old together
to not even talking and to be filled with excitement at the thoughts of
starting again with a stranger. You can just wake-up one day and be
Then the stuff begins to change. The excitement that used to fill
your belly when you see them is replaced with an angered arousal that
spikes rage and not lust. What used to be a soothing presence is
replaced with anxiety. The once welcoming stare has been wiped of off
both faces and is replaced with a flat emptiness, a void that seems to
say “I know you less than someone I’ve never meet.” You sense an
unwelcome-ness in each others eyes, a suspicion further confirmed by the
dark energy emanating from false smiles and fabricated body language.
You stiffen and lean against the flow of the world, choosing to fight
the once natural bending and going with it.
What was your bright and exciting future becomes a stained memory
tinted with bitterness, disappointment and all the other stuff that was
manufactured during the break-up process to get you to change your mind.
It’s all made up though, it’s all a choice that we engage in to move
us past the relationship and into the mind set of a single person.
Intuitively we know that we cannot restart with someone else when we are
in our mind still going with the old partner, so we create the break-up
experience to allow us to start again, with a few new lessons and a
clean slate, free from dueling thoughts of how good it could be with the
new and the old. You may very well hate your ex, but they haven’t
impacted you in a long time so the magnitude of the contempt is
disproportionate to the actual physical impact they have on your life.
In her eyes you see nothing, and you shouldn’t. You need to
obliterate your outdated understanding of the world that has them being a
part of yours. And there’s a good chance that it needs to be this way.
When someone is in our life for a long period of time, we normalize them
being in our life. They become our habit. Unless you take drastic
action to break the habit, you will allow yourself to see some reason to
stay when you look into their eyes, unless you see nothing.
The premise of the post Toxic People – Controlling Communication = Control
was that toxic / controlling people are able to keep the upper hand
because they are able to control the communication behaviors of their
victim. By preventing the victim from getting external opinions, the
abuser is able to maintain their high level of influence. This is very
effective for maintaining control of the tone and to heavily shape the
thoughts of the victim. However, it only works IF the abuser is able to
prevent new information from entering or their abusive behavior leaving
the confines of the relationship. Once an external opinion is thrust
into the mix, their influence is diminished and the victim begins to
regain power, control and perspective.
However, in many cases you can stop the verbal abuse very quickly
letting the abuser hear what they are saying by recording their words
and playing them back for them.
A recent example of this left me laughing out loud at just how
quickly the abuse stopped. A female friend has been making some very
positive situational changes in her life to which her soon-to-be-ex is
opposed. He has a tendency to lose control when he’s talking and end’s
up shouting, making false accusations and generally acting like a
She just got sick of listening to his insentient crap and began to
record the conversations. It has been going on for some time and he
didn’t notice that she was doing it until this week. When he asked her
what she was doing and found out that she has recording his abusive
rant, he got angry and played the victim card “I can’t believe you would
do that to me” to which she replied “I just want you to stop being mean
to me in front of our children”. Then it hit him, she had been doing
this for some time and he hadn’t noticed, he says “how long have you
been doing this?” Her reply “long enough,” he’s been acting
inappropriately for a very long time and she got a number of his abusive
rants on record. He knows that his voice, his abuse is on tape so the
rest of the world is now aware of the situation and of who he really is.
What was once his word against her’s is simply now just his words on
tape. And his words are actually kind of sad when you embrace the fact
that this is a grown man acting younger than their 6 year old.
He’s stopped talking to her because he’s well aware that the world
knows who he really is and that he is unable to control himself when he
talks to her because abuse is such a big part of who he is. What was
once a nicely controlled situation is now being controlled by the facts –
he will act abusively towards her in front of their children because
that is who he is choosing to be. I think this was a great solution for
her because it stopped the abuse immediately once he realized everyone
knew who he real was.