“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr
This, as it applies to those in an abusive relationship might mean the following:
- Recognize and understand abuse. Abuse = control. If it’s not loving and it’s not respectful, it’s not okay. If (s)he uses double standards and treats you in ways that (s)he him/herself would not tolerate, it’s NOT okay!
Know that abusers often try to make themselves out to be the victim of abuse while attempting to get the person they’re abusing to doubt their own perceptions about the abuse. (ie: “You’re lucky I put up with you! “Just LOOK what I have to put up with!” “You’re crazy!” “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill!” “Where DO you get this stuff?” “You’re imagining things!” “You’re just too sensitive!”)
- Understand and accept that you cannot change the abuser. You cannot change who they are. Counseling will not change who they are. Loving him/her every day of your life will not change who they are. Take a good look at who he/she is when you make your decisions about what to do, and know that they will not change.
- Accept responsibility for your choices. You can choose to stay and tolerate and manage the abuse, or choose to separate yourself from it. You cannot change THEM or what they do. But you can change YOU and what you will tolerate.