A Compassionate Letter to a Potential Abuser. ~ Claire Polansky

Via Claire Polansky
on Nov 12, 2013
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red wilted dead rose

Dear Potential Abuser,

You have the capacity to be all the things you said you were and appeared to be on our first date, yet it heavies my heart as I accept that this is not fully you now. I so yearn to be with the beautiful person that I walked with that first moonlit night on the beach.

You know, I still have the red rose hanging and I watch the petals drip like tears onto my window sills. The rose was the first of many presents that you offered to me like an old-fashioned gentleman from a Harlequin romance novel.

But you only swept me into the wind as I saw you for who you could be.

I want to wrap your tender, wounded heart in my hands like a tiny bird freshly fallen out of a nest and fix your broken wings. However, I cannot fix you and I will not be your external self, your shadow that you wish to destroy. Thank you for seeing my empathetic, all-accepting love that made you stretch out to me and grasp on tightly for one more chance at love.

My prayer for you is that you learn to love yourself—as I have learned to love myself. Until you learn to love yourself, be honest with yourself and be compassionate with yourself, you cannot truly love another human being. You can heal and change the world, but it must first start with your own self-healing.

My instinctual gut told me to watch out due to the early Warning Signs (see below) of emotional warfare ahead. But I wanted to believe in you so much that I tried to make excuses for you. “He’s just passionate, right?”

A relationship must have trust, compassion, respect, open communication and shared values. But we immediately started without this, which is why we cannot continue as lovers.

I see the potential of emotional abuse ahead, so I end this relationship in power, compassion and forgiveness. It has been my karma or pattern to attract this cycle and it saddens me, but I can see it early now. For this, I am thankful.

Please review these 10 Early Warning Signs of Being a Potential Abuser and ask yourself how many of them you have been ‘guilty’ of in other relationships.

1. Demanding commitment

How many times have you pushed a relationship to move at lightning speed, claiming that you have fallen in love with a person you barely know? How many times have you informed your new date that you could see a future with her as you spoke about your future children and house in the country? How many times have your pressured intimacy early on because of the “connection” you claim you two share? (While we all want these things, a relationship takes time to grow and does not happen overnight. I am sorry to tell you this, but this behavior often foreshadows attempts to control a partner by clouding his or her judgment).

2. Being deceit

How many times have you told little lies to your new “love” in order to hide who you really are? What aspect of yourself do you try to cover with prestige, power, praise or wealth? When you could no longer keep up the sham, did you blame the light going out in your eyes on a headache, a bad day or some machismo response about masculine stoicism? (In my experience, this is only the beginning of many hidden secrets and a hot/cold approach to “love”).

3. Reacting jealously and obsessively

How many times have you been overly concerned with where your “love” is and who your “love” is with? How many times have your sent multiple text messages, e-mails, or made many phone calls to someone whom you barely started a relationship with in order to keep tabs on them or to remind them that you exist? How many times have you informed your “loves” that they were dressed too sexily? You say things like, “Your shirt is showing a lot hon. I’m not a Rabbi, but others can see.”

4. Lacking remorse or culpability

How many times have you blamed your actions on your “love’s” choices, a bad day, depression, someone at the office or an illness? For example, “This would not have happened if you had only…” or “I just have a headache and can’t think clearly.”

5. Choosing to remain a victim

How often have you remained in a state of victimhood rather than take control of your life? For example, have you said things like, “My ex just did not understand me”, “My dad put too much pressure on me”, “The people in this city are just too aggressive”, etc?  (While we all feel hurt, sometimes people who see themselves constantly as victims will victimize others).

6. Having loner or isolationist tendencies

How many times have you monopolized a “love’s” time? How many times have you informed your “love” that you want to move to a small cottage in the country so you can be together in peace (and really to get your “love” away from family, friends and support networks)? How many times have you maintained a relationship only within your cozy apartment so you could keep your “love” only to yourself? How many times have you told your “love” that you do not approve of her family or friends and watched your “love” slowly lose touch with them as your “love” became absorbed with you?

7. Maintaining superiority

How often have you asserted that you know better than your “love?” How often have you slowly taken over the decision-making of your “love,” starting with ordering off the menu to more complex matters? (Your helpfulness seems sweet, until one realizes that they have lost all control).

8. Critical or cynical teasing

How often have you innocently teased your love? A harmless comment like, “Oh, isn’t your round belly cute?” can often become “You look fat.” How often have you laughed or criticized the behavior of others in front of your “love”? How often have you said things like, “My last girlfriend was crazy” or “The cook at this restaurant is terrible.” (This is just the beginning of the name-calling, “crazy-making” and critical cycle.).

9. Feeling hypersensitive or insecure

How often have you gotten upset over minor disturbances in your day, making dramatic statements like, “I knew that I should not have come back when I could not find my luggage”? How often have you displayed your insecurity to a “love” or tried to hide it with superior statements?

10. Being aggressive or controlling

How many times have you gotten angry and screamed at the dog, your “love” or people in the street? How often have you slammed down items, thrown objects or broken things in anger? How many times have you tried to get your “love” to do things that made your “love” uncomfortable?

I have seen many of these behaviors in you, which is why I am ending our relationship. I understand that these behaviors stem from insecurity, depression/anxiety, trauma or a lack of parental support. Likewise, I recognize that you are attracted to me because “I get you.” Nevertheless, I have used my suffering in life as lessons that have made me stronger while you are using yours to hurt yourself and others.

Just know that I believe in your ability to heal and grow as I have and to be all the things you want to be.

With loving kindness,

Empowered “Love”

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Assistant Editor: Jamie Khoo/Editor: Bryonie Wise

{Photo via DaGoaty on Flickr Creative Commons}


About Claire Polansky

Claire Polansky is an expressive arts therapist and freelance editor/writer. She is currently procrastinating writing her dissertation in East-West Psychology due to rescuing half-blind animals and taking on the adventurous task of living as a new immigrant in Israel. You can reach her at www.clairepolansky.com or polanskywordwizards.wordpress.com.


3 Responses to “A Compassionate Letter to a Potential Abuser. ~ Claire Polansky”

  1. Laura says:

    I had a friend in college who had to do an essay on something exciting she had done. She wrote all about how she got a license to fly helicopters. Eventually, the papers were shared in class. She ended up dating a guy from the class and kept up the scam to avoid embarrassment. I got pretty messy.

    I really like your article. It can be applied to friendships to. I stay far away from a person who lies to me even once.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings. Really a fantastic piece.

  2. Claire says:

    Thanks Laura. I definitely agree with you regarding the application of this. It can be applied to friendships and anyone else we open our hearts to. And I don't blame you for staying away from people who lie to you. This is not a way to build a healthy, authentic friendship.

  3. Thomas says:

    Really like your list Claire. You balance the genuine affection of the abuser with the uncontrolled demons. You should do a follow-up article on what triggers the demons – something related to attachment I'd fathom to guess. Thank you and blessings on your big transition.
    – Thomas / EWP