Lezzies Advice Column 2
For Lesbians On The Loose (LOTL)
Online Magazine in Australia:
Question: I'm attracted to abusive women, help!
I have no memory of physical or sexual abuse from my childhood,
but the older I get and the more relationships I have, I realize that I am attracted
to women who have the power to manipulate me, verbally insult me ... and when
the relationship eventually falls apart, there is usually always some pushing
and shoving. Often my partners are into BDSM, which isn't my scene really, but
I usually comply. Why do I find myself in these scenarios? I have recently undergone
therapy and my therapist has asked me about my interaction with my father a lot
- but he left the family when I was 6, and he never hit me or touched me inappropriately
- that I can remember. My mother was always very domineering, however and as an
only child I grew used to it.
I do want to break the cycle of being attracted
to crazy or violent women. But we are raking over my past and I can't find anything
severe enough to be the cause. Help!
I am glad that you have chosen to move your life in a positive
direction. You wrote that you recently underwent therapy, and that sounds as if
you went and then stopped. If you did stop, and you are still wanting to break
the cycle that you have been in, please get back into therapy. If you weren't
comfortable with your therapist, then find another. Call and ask questions of
perspective therapists to see if they feel like a match for you. Ask people you
know that are in therapy for therapist recommendations.
It could be that
this issue is tied to your mother who was domineering, or even to repressed memories
of childhood physical or sexual abuse. I certainly can empathize with wanting
to understand where this all came from. The hard part of what you are going through
is wanting a quantifiable set of answers that definitively say "You are in
these relationships because..." At this point, seeking that answer is keeping
I'm not saying that this makes these issues something you
will never overcome. I am saying that you may never find the answers to the cause
of your patterns. I know this is not what you want to hear, but it is the truth.
When issues like this come up, the wise words of a dear friend come to mind:
"If you get hit by a truck, do you care why the driver hit you? Or do you
just care that you got hit?"
There is a lot of wisdom in that statement.
What I find is that most people tend to not care what caused the event immediately
after, but later, want to get a sense of understanding why it came about. This
seems to be the path you are traveling at this time--wanting to understand.
There are times that we can have these answers, and times that we can't.
Sometimes closure means no closure, and we just have to accept the situation at
face value and move forward from there.
If people with addiction issues
continue to focus on why they drink or use, they will relapse. This is because
"Why?" keeps us focused on the problem. If they take proactive steps
to make sure they work to not drink or use again, they move forward with their
lives. There may be occasional backward steps, but the overall progress is forward.
A couple of sayings in the 12-step community are: "Pain without action
equals misery," and "focus on the solution, not the problem." Together,
these two sayings can give you a direction to move toward a happier life. Instead
of focusing on what is causing this pattern, focus on what you need to do to move
One thing that will help is to look at the red flags you ignored
in your past relationships. Red flags are signs that you dismissed as no big deal.
For example: someone you are having a relationship with criticizes the way you
make love and says "I don't like how you do it!" but she doesn't give
you a clue how to do it better. Then the next person you are in a relationship
with does something similar. You may feel a little gut wrench, and decide it must
be your fault, and you really are no good in bed.
I'm not saying one
miscommunication is something to worry about, but when these flags continue to
appear in your life, a pattern is established. Once you have that feeling in a
new relationship, you need to be on the lookout for this pattern happening again.
One thing that may help you is to think about all of your relationships, and take
note of those things that caught your attention, gave you a moment of pause, and
then you ignored them.
Another thing is to notice how you give away your
power; like agreeing to a sexual relationship where BDSM is the norm, but it is
not your scene. There is nothing wrong with BDSM if both parties are up for it,
but when you capitulate to make someone else happy, and you are only doing it
to keep the peace, or you are afraid you will loose her if you don't do it her
way all the time, it is not fair to you.
Working with your therapist
on how to stand in your power when these situations come up is an important step
forward. It sounds like you may not be in a relationship right now, so learning
how to do this with friendships and workmates are safe places to start.
Working on ways to increase your self-esteem, and gaining the knowledge that you
are worthy of a healthy and happy relationship, where you are a full partner,
is also important. These are all things that a therapist can help you with.
Codependents Anonymous is also a great way to work on yourself. Meetings
worldwide can be found under the heading Meeting Resources here: www.codependents.org.
Stevens and Cathy Wonder are the co-authors of
To Be A Happy Lesbian: A Coming Out Guide
Out Advice for Lesbian and Bisexual Women"
Advice for Lesbian and Bisexual Women"
Sex Tips: A Guide for Anyone Who Wants
To Bring Pleasure to the Woman She
(Or He) Loves
para lesbianas/ Sex tips for lesbians" (Spanish Edition)
Lesbian Big O: Over 100 Sensual Illustrations"
more than 1,500 free community services for
lesbian and bisexual women worldwide.
Need advice in your life? Email Tracey and Kathy at: www.lotl.com
The advice in this column is the opinion of the writers and is not intended
substitute for medical or psychological treatment from a health care
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