I have had occasion because of an unpleasant experience with someone close to me in the past day to think of something I learned once.
In the interests of confidentiality, let’s just say it was a situation involving me and a “significant other.” It was a long time ago.
It involved a relationship which began auspiciously and in fact turned out very well.
I had previously had a horrible relationship with someone else which caused me great pain. It took me a long time to get over it; caused lasting damage to me emotionally; prevented me for quite a while from being able to trust someone else and get involved in a new relationship.
But then I met Miss Right. I learned from this new found relationship something that I had hitherto been able to see or recognize for myself, even dimly: namely, a sixth sense which she had about how to avoid emotional damage to oneself; how to protect oneself from it; an awareness of when it is advisable to step aside, get out of the way, and extricate oneself; an ability to know when conditions warrant this.
I learned, quickly, from my new partner that one doesn’t have submit to being dumped on and abused.
Prior to this, my habitual way of dealing with emotional abuse –- abuse of any kind — was to stand there, so to speak, and submit to it.
From my new significant other, I learned that there was another way.
If she felt that our relationship was starting, in the least, to becoming abusive, or “trending” in that direction, if she got a hint that I was going to be mean to her, she was quite prepared to leave, to exit, right then and there. With no further discussion. Without having to plead with me to change my behavior.
She had apparently done this in the past.
Her approach and instincts were that no relationship was worth the trouble of being disrespected and abused. Better to have no relationship than to have an abusive one.
This was applied by her to our relationship when there were a few rough patches.
I quickly picked up on this, and it cured me of any misogynist instincts or tendencies I may have had. I knew that if I mistreated her, froze her out emotionally, it would be sayonara. She would be gone fast.
A valuable lesson she taught me. It was a lesson that worked both ways. I learned not only the strategy of beating a fast exit whenever I got an inkling that someone was having fun being nasty at my expense. I learned that it works both ways, and that no one should have to put up with abusive behavior from me.
Roger W. Smith