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May 28, 2014

Why Does He Keep Doing This to Me?

IStock_000000381585_ExtraSmallHave you ever found yourself in the same painful situation with the same person time and time again and wondered why that person keeps hurting you? If so, you’re not alone. Many women wonder:
•    How could he do this to me again? This is his third affair—doesn’t he know how much he’s hurting me?
•    I can’t believe he’s drunk again! I’m so tired of his drinking. Why does he keep doing this?
•    Oh my gosh -- another lie! Why does he keep lying to me? Doesn’t he know I can’t trust him?

The issues could be anything, but the message is often the same: “How could he possible do this to me again?” The answer, though, is most likely not what you want to hear or look at. The truth is that it doesn’t matter why he does what he does. The important question is why do you keep responding the same way and expecting a different result? He knows your response is going to be the same as it always is and that in the end you’ll most likely still be there. You may be angrier, sadder or a little more distant for a while, but after all is said and done he knows things will go back to normal. He’ll make his apologies (hopefully), promise to not do it again and he’ll be in the dog house for a few days. Soon everything will go back to the way it was. You’ll think to yourself that maybe this time he really will change or perhaps he really does mean what he says. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll hope, this relationship will be what you always wished for.  

So you wait and see.

Time goes by, the hurts fade out a bit, some good times get sprinkled in, perhaps, and then BAM -- out of nowhere HE DOES IT AGAIN! What?! You can’t believe it. You’re heartbroken if it’s another affair and feeling hopeless if it’s the drinking/lies/drugs. The pattern then repeats for the second, third, fourth time…until one day you realize you’re tired of hearing the same apologies, asking yourself the same questions and living in this same painful relationship.

When you realize that you’ve been focusing your energy all along on the wrong side of this equation (changing him), you can finally get yourself out of this nightmare cycle.

If someone in your life keeps hurting you, ask yourself why you keep taking it. And don’t think for a moment that just because you’re yelling and screaming about it means you’re not taking it. The reality is you are taking it—you’re just taking it angrily. Stop yelling, stop hoping/wishing/wanting change and instead step in differently on your end. Be willing to have your back no matter what—even if that requires that you leave. Staying with anyone who continuously hurts you is poor self-care. Stop crying about it and instead act. Require they get into treatment, start therapy, get into AA, etc., and if they refuse to address their issue directly then be willing to walk away or seek your own help to get stronger.
Changing Me Changes We. If you don’t like what’s going on in your life, then it’s time you work you differently in that situation. When you work you differently, that situation will be different.

Challenge: If a painful pattern keeps happening in your life start looking at your own repetitive responses—and change them.

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Great post, Lisa!

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