One of the problems that I’ve routinely had throughout my life is that I tend to divide flaws and perfection very neatly between two people. In actual relationships, (romantic, friendly, or dysfunctional), there tends to be a division of flaw and virtue on both sides. Each person does some things wrong and other things well. Abuse tips the scales so that one person causes more damage than the other does, which makes things more complicated.
As I said, in normal relationships, both people carry some blame and some credit. In my relationships, I usually end up carrying all of the blame and giving the other person all of the credit.
I want to be clear and make sure that I explain that I am not in an abusive situation. Abusive relationships have two characteristics that are absent in my situation: first, one person actually is causing more harm to the other than can ever be justified, and second, the abuser is the one who creates and reinforces the idea that their victim deserves and causes all of the damage. Neither of those things are happening to me.
Instead, I am creating an abusive atmosphere for myself, by bringing fear and low self esteem with me into healthy relationships. It is a serious problem. Neither I, nor those close to me, can enjoy our relationships while I’m making things uneven and toxic. Well, that’s not actually fair- sometimes, the other person can enjoy the relationship, because sometimes, I manage to hide what I’m doing from them, and sometimes, they don’t care enough to look at how I’m doing.
But with the valuable relationships, the ones that really matter, the other person knows how much I pull in onto myself against their pleas to the contrary. Those relationships are ultimately suffering because of me.
And yet, even now, I give myself all the blame. Unbelievable.