ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Toxic Relationships: "My Relationship is Different!"

Updated on October 16, 2019
SinDelle profile image

The Little Shaman is a spiritual coach & specialist in cluster B personality disorders, with a popular YouTube show and clients worldwide.

There is often a perception that abusive relationships only involve certain kinds of abuse, or that abusive people only behave a certain way. People look at their relationship and the person they are in the relationship with and say, "This person is different. This relationship is different. It's not the same." It can be one of the hardest things to accept that this is in fact not true.

It doesn't matter what kind of relationship it is. Whether it's family, friend, spouse, child... those in these relationships with a narcissist or other abusive type of person will often say - and believe - that their circumstances are somehow different from the other abusive relationships they've seen or heard about. They may think their circumstances are special or that the abuser has some kind of mitigating factor going on that makes it different, unique and not like other abusive relationships.

"She says hurtful things but she's had a hard life. It's not the same as Bobby's situation. His wife is just mean."

"He hits me but he's got emotional problems. He's not like those guys on the TV movies. He has a real problem."

"Mom puts me down but Grandma was the same way and that's the only way Mom knows to parent. She's not doing it to hurt me or be cruel like these mothers that abuse their children. She just doesn't know any better."

The idea seems to be that abusers are mean and hateful for the sake of being mean and hateful, so if someone seems to have a problem or history that explains their behavior or excuses it somehow, they are not a real abuser. They are somehow different. This is just not true. Every single person in every single abusive relationship thought this exact thing: "It's different. He's different. She's different. I'm different. This isn't the same as those other terrible relationships I've seen or heard of. This person can be nice sometimes. They seem sorry. They have other problems. They have reasons." But all abusers have reasons. All abusers have problems. All abusers have excuses.

It's not different. And while most people are happy to find that they are not alone, it can be hurtful and even shocking to realize that everybody has the same story they do. Everyone thought their relationship was different and special and therefore not subject to the "rules" of "real" abusive relationships. Everyone knows that when a relationship has been identified as abusive, it should be ended because abuse is wrong. So the whole thing ends up being rationalized:

"Yes, I know we should leave abusive relationships but he's not really abusive. He's damaged. He's suffering. He's sorry."

"Yes, I know we're not supposed to put up with abuse but this is different. She's had a really hard life. She needs help."

Part of this is denial and part of it is because in some ways, people have been conditioned to believe that a person cannot be both a victim and an abuser. But this is just not the case. Many abusers have had a legitimately hard life. Many abusers have a genuine sad story and most really were victims at one time. That often explains their behavior, but it does not excuse or mitigate it. Ever. Just because there is an explanation for something doesn't mean it's excused. A person can usually explain why they gave themselves permission to murder another human being, but that doesn't mean it's OK that they did it or they will now face no consequences just because they had a reason. Suffering abuse is no excuse for abusing other people who had absolutely nothing to do with that. All too often, this is the justification that is given. And all too often, it is accepted.

People see this person they live with or that they know. They can often see that this person really was a victim, or they really are suffering or they really do have other problems - problems that may be significant. And people have been conditioned to believe that if someone is a victim, things are not their fault. Therefore, they can't be an abuser. So they accept these justifications for abuse - which is really all they are. The problem here is the misunderstanding of responsibility. No one is ever to blame for being abused, and there are absolutely no exceptions to this. No one is responsible or in control of another person's actions. Ever. However, that does not mean that the person's own actions are not their responsibility. If someone was abused as a child, that does not make their own abusive actions as an adult somehow not their responsibility. Abuse is often a cycle in families and it only stops happening if someone stops it - starting with themselves.

Sometimes, the explanation for abuse is that the abuser doesn't realize their behavior is hurtful or not OK. While this is usually not true, even if it were, how does that make it OK to stay committed to the relationship? Ignorance is only an excuse once. After you've told someone their behavior is hurting or bothering you, they know better. If they don't stop, they don't care. It's as simple as that. If there were a situation where someone really couldn't stop or truly couldn't understand, then the relationship is still toxic because they are still behaving in a manner that does not respect or consider the other person. It doesn't really matter whether abuse or toxic behavior is intentional or not. It affects people the same.

For the record though, most abusers are aware their behavior is hurtful. They don't care - at least in the moment when they are doing it, and that is when it really matters. Being sorry later is great and all, but if it doesn't stop someone from behaving that way in the first place, it doesn't really matter. What we often find is that abusers regret the consequences of their actions rather than the actions themselves. This is why the supposed remorse usually only shows up when they are actually faced with these consequences. If there are no consequences, there is often no remorse. They are sorry their actions led to the consequence, not for the action itself. If it hadn't led to that consequence, then it probably wouldn't matter. In other words, "I'm sorry I did this because it has led to this consequence I don't like." They are not sorry because they feel what they did was wrong. It only becomes wrong when it leads to an outcome they don't like. The consequence is often resented mightily and the victim may be punished for having feelings or being human.

The truth is, this is a very old story and it's one that has played itself out over and over again. The idea that their relationship is different and therefore fixable or otherwise salvageable can be a big part of what keeps people in these relationships so long. Sadly, the outcome is always the same. We often say, "Hurt people hurt people," and it's true. But that is an explanation, not an excuse. Hurt people may hurt people, but that doesn't mean they have the right.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)