it is within you


A blanket response to all the women who have e-mailed me lately looking for relationship advice:

I don’t know why it is that women will stay in hurtful, dead or downright abusive relationships for as long as they do. “But I love him!” they moan.

[I’m lying. Of course I know why. I used to be the exact same way. I abused myself over and over in bad relationships, and it took me a HELL of a long time to figure out that I love myself too damn much to allow it to ever happen again.]

Now, listen to me closely: If you stay with a man who is treating you like shit just because you love him then you deserve everything you get.

I’m not talking about the usual squabbles between a man and a woman. I mean when you’re describing your relationship to others for some kind of confirmation and even to your own, biased ears it sounds horrifying.

If you’re at this point, you already know he’s treating you like shit.
The question is: why are you still letting him?

You, none of you, need my help, my advice, my opinions. Everything you need is already inside you. Go. Spend some time inside. I promise. You’ll figure it out.

About the author

Vikki McKay


  • It’s too harsh to say that such women deserve everything they get.
    I agree with the gist of what you’ve written here. You’re right to give women a push to get out of a bad relationship.
    But there’s something about being in an abusive relationship that blinds a person. You describe it to your friends, and it’s obvious to everyone that the relationship is destructive of you. But somehow you can’t quite get it into your head that the relationship is abusive and the only appropriate response is to get out!
    It’s only after you finally screw up the courage to leave that you begin to understand just how awful it was. As long as you’re in the relationship, it’s hard to get the necessary detachment to see it for what it is.

  • Being someone who is in a great relationship with my boyfirend (now) I see how distructive being married was.
    To begin with the EX was an amazing guy (he never hit me), I thought that he just wanted to spend so much time with me because he wanted me. and then as the years past, I thought that, him chasing all of my friends away was because he loved me & didnt want to share me. I was really really wrong on that one. He didnt want to be with me, but he didnt want anyone else to be with me either.
    I didnt see that he was controlling me as well as he was. It took me 11 years to see the pattern that he had set right from the start. In the beginning I thought that he was wonderful, driving me everywhere, but I came to the truth that it was his way of controlling me. If I didnt have a car, then I wouldnt be able to go where I wanted. He would talk me into things that I didnt want. If I had worked up enough balls to stand up to him, the he would pout, if that didnt work then he would yell & throw things. If that still didnt work then he would walk out.
    It took me getting very sick at Christmas time to undertand that I needed to grow as an individual. To grow into the women that I am now. There is a turning point in every distructive relatship that the abused party will see “clearly” & either get out, or decide to stay & take more.
    I happen to agree with the statement “you deserve everything you get” BUT ONLY if that clear point has been reached & there is still no change. You will know the clear point has been reached when they (male or female) start to complain to friends (if they have any that were not driven away) and family about how bad they are being treated.

  • That was me, twelve years ago. The relationship was bad, I knew that. I didn’t like the way he treated me. I knew that. I didn’t like the way I was with him. I even knew that. But when a counsellor at a women’s help centre told me he was abusive, I dismissed it: that was her perspective, understandable since she dealt with abused women all day long, but she was exaggerating. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t abusive.
    Weary of the war, of the constant, unrelenting contempt and tension, I finally got out. I felt nothing but relief. No regrets whatsoever. Not for me, not for my kids. I’d learned what I couldn’t live without, and what I wouldn’t live with. And still, I didn’t call it abusive. It was only when I got into a good, healthy relationship, and I compared it to what I’d been in for all those years that I realized that, yes, it really had been abusive.
    Did I deserve what I got, those years when I was so badly treated? Yes and no. I did stay in there too long after I realized it was past tolerable – when my own stories, told to my friends, were boring even me! (I didn’t stay there because “I loved him”, though, only because I was overcome with inertia and fear at the thought of what leaving would entail.)
    I am sorry it took so damned long to get to the point of taking action! I am glad I learned what I did, and maybe I needed that time to learn it, for it enabled me to be happy on my own, and to find a healthy relationship when I was ready.
    You are right. The answer is inside.

  • That is the most brilliant thing, the most honest and sound advice, I’ve ever heard uttered from another woman’s lips. THANK YOU for saying it to those that need to hear, and the rest of us who can always use reminders. 🙂
    Keep up the honest and direct blogging; I’ll be back for more!

  • You words are so true, I myself have been in similar situations in the past, and have had many friends remain ‘under the thumb’ so to speak, of those who were supposed to love and care for them. Yous honest and pragmatic post clicked with me, and i will be regularly visiting your site from now, to see what other honest pearls of wisdom you can bestow upon us.
    thank you

  • Well said! I was one of those women too and although I managed to break the pattern, finally, I definitely went into a seclusion type phase to make sure everything was gone. I didn’t want to bring any demons into a new relationship….it didn’t happen quickly but once it did and once I found the right man, who treated me right in return…I really a nd truly saw how foolish and delusional I once was…

  • I think a good rule of thumb is to avoid relationships with men where you feel a strong desire to “help” them. You are not his mother, you are not required to love him unconditionally when he offers nothing but crap in return. The worst thing you can do is stubbornly refuse to go against your principles remaining with an abuser and “hoping it gets better”, that man has no respect for you or your principles, so everything should be null and void. Last but not least, always give your all in every relationship, but every so often take inventory, and if you see that your all happens to be much more than their all, its time to walk away.

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