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Coaching Thoughts

…. Of being used and abused in relationships : Paying attention to early signals of abuse

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Ever felt like something is not right in a relationship that was going well and all of a sudden seems to be “feeling weird” and you don’t know why? It may be early signs of betrayal of trust and abuse onset.

Betrayal is not only overt, with clear malicious actions by “enemies”.. Sometimes betrayal takes a more covert form, a subtle betrayal of trust, a taking for granted or people just taking advantage of your nature.
Pay attention to the bitter taste in your mouth, that’s the taste of betrayal. The latter form of betrayal can be felt pretty much with that sign. Otherwise it is undetectable except for this cloying feeling hanging around you that something went wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on it.
Usually it is a subtle manipulation by people who understand your value system, or an underhanded slight, an offhand joke or even a subtle public undermining.
Pay attention to that feeling. Don’t ignore it, it is usually the first sign that your relationship is approaching stormy waters. This is usually where abuse, or more overt manipulation start and even gaslighting.
Friends and family are very smart at exploiting for their personal gains, whether consciously or unconsciously, your personal nature. That’s why in my practice, half of the challenges of leaders come from family dynamics.
Friends are the family you create yourself, and you tend to open up and share deep personal secrets with them, which make it easy for them to exploit sometimes.
This doesn’t mean you need to walk into relationships all guarded and closed, not at all!It means equally you should constantly be paying attention to signposts of deviation from the route. Just like a driver on the road trusts the car to be stable on the road if they are holding the steering wheel and the tyres are inflated and the engine is running, it is important though that they still pay attention to the subtle moment by moment changes in the relationship between the car and the road and themselves and the car, or even themselves and the road. Stop signs, red brake lights of the car ahead or a wobble from a possible flat tyre,etc.
Life is like that too… And so are relationships.
The big challenge for many of us, beyond noticing these things, is developing the courage to address the issue. This is so for many reasons, one of which is the fear of losing the benefits of the relationship. Yes, every relationship has a benefit to you, whether you are aware of it or not. It feeds you to remain in that relationship. And until you can understand how the relationship benefits you, you are likely to struggle in managing and maintaining boundaries in that relationship.

So as I highlight the external signs above, I am also at haste to emphasise that you are not a hapless victim to the relationships you are in. You are a participant, whether actively or passively. And success (at least the internal feelings of success) come with taking responsibility for this portion of the relating equation.
So all I am suggesting in short is that you trust intelligently.

In the next episode, we will discuss 5 elements to pay attention to that will help you trust intelligently.

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About The Muse

I Coach Legends:You will never know who my clients are, but you have seen their work- you probably follow them! *smile* Music Executive,Academic,Entrepreneur, Passionate African-living with purpose!

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