by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
www.LDSdimension.com (FREE LDS online dating site)
Many of those in the LDS singles community can relate to the idea that they have been victimized by a previous dating partner, fiancé, or ex-spouse. Perhaps that describes you. Was your ex boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse verbally abusive? Physically abusive? Sexually abusive? Neglectful? Did they have addiction problems (drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography)? Infidelity (actual cheating, emotional infidelity)? Psychological problems? Poor with money/career? Other problems and issues? Whatever you past situation, you very might have been on the receiving end of these kinds of treatments and issues. And because you are a person—a human being—there will likely be some scars. Reservations. Wounds. Perhaps even trauma. It all makes sense and is understandable. If this describes you, the question becomes, what now? How do you handle this and where do you go from here?
Option 1: Remain a victim
After you have experienced the hurt and pain of a former relationship, one option that you have is to remain a victim. This involves keeping space, distance, and avoidance of current and future relationship opportunities. Walls, sabotage, and people never being quite good enough are common self-protection tactics. Suspicion, a lack of trust, paranoia, and antagonism towards the opposite sex are common tactics as well. Victimhood becomes a center tenant of your personality. Protecting yourself again future hurts and pains becomes a primary goal. Future dating or spousal relationships are either considered with great hesitancy, or are avoided altogether.
I highly recommend against this option to remain a victim. You cannot connect and self-protect at the same time, so such a self-protective approach will lessen or even eliminate your future relationship opportunities. In the process, relationships that otherwise had great potential for health, happiness, and closeness will be lost because preventing future pain and loss becomes the main goal. Love, connection, and commitment becomes a luxury deemed too risky to engage in. As a result, no future close relationships are engaged in or new, promising relationships are prematurely and unnecessarily broken off. Loneliness, resentment, and frustration commonly follow.
Option 2: Reject your victim status and move forward
After a hurtful and painful relationship ends, you can choose to reject a continued status as a victim, heal, move forward, and eventually find a new, happier, healthier relationship. This is the option I recommend. The healing step is often the most difficult. To heal, the first step is recognize the need to heal and commit to accomplishing it. From there, the work of healing commences. Options to help you effectively grieve and heal can include the following: psychotherapy from a qualified clinical psychologist/other licensed therapist, a relationship support group, meetings with your bishop, focused scripture reading/prayer/fasting/temple attendance, reading quality self-help materials, hypnosis/EMDR, and so on.
Once you feel you have healed enough, it is time to learn about what a healthy relationship is. Good sources for such information include past relationship articles from the Ensign or General Conference (see www.lds.org), relationship books available at www.deseretbook.com, and the works of John Gottman, the worlds leading expert on marital research. Two of Dr. Gottman’s quality works include Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, as well as The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work.
Finally, after healing and learning about healthy relationships, go out and find and cultivate a new and healthy relationship! How to do this last step is beyond the limited range of this article. However, for ideas on how to begin looking for a new relationship, you can read my previous article for ideas: “Where to Find Your Next Relationship”. See: http://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/where-to-find-your-next-relationship-96/. Also, you can read many other related articles like this one from myself to assist in your quest to find and nurture a new healthy relationship, as needed. See www.ldsdimension.com/articles.
Don’t be a victim. Stop holding onto the pain and making victimhood a central part of your and your identity. Heal, move on, and find a new and healthy relationship. You can do it. This is the way it was meant to be. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).
|2018-06-04||Randy Gilchrist||Healthy relationships, Communication, Psychological health|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).