How to Tell Your Friend that They Are Being Abused

Hello everyone!

It has been a while but The Modern Day Fairy Godmother is officially 4 years old! Thank you to everyone from around the globe for your support and feedback over the years.

I write a lot from the perspective of being in a relationship because I am in one. However, what if you are one of those fortunate people on the outside looking in? It is no easy feat.

I come from a family who only believes that abuse manifests physically. I do not care what they say: emotional abuse is still abuse. More often than not, emotional abuse appears in the exertion of control. These situations are no longer like the ones on Maury where someone orders the person to call them “master” or bow to them. Instead, it becomes evident in little remarks that may seem harmless at first but then have a cumulative effect. This level of control weaves itself subtly into their lives and when they realize it, it could be too late.

I have been in controlling relationships and I also have been the friend that has had to break it to someone that their significant other’s behaviour wasn’t healthy. Contrary to popular belief, the people who enter controlling relationships are not insecure. They are strong leaders who are admirable in their character and confidence. However, they are ONLY insecure in their love lives.

I have lost a friendship  sisterhood over me being honest about her boyfriend. Although I do miss her at times, I do not regret telling her because I would have been a bad friend if I never did. I cannot guarantee that by you confronting your friend, it will go smoothly. I can only tell you the best possible way to get your message across.

Start when they are not talking about their significant other. This is important. When they are ranting and complaining about them, it is so easy to join in and let them know that they are controlling. Don’t you notice that the minute you say this, they get defensive and act like they are the only ones that are allowed to complain about Mr./Ms. Dead-Wrong? That’s why it is best to let them rant and then tell them your feelings another time. Sometimes, people do not want advice but just a listening ear.

Avoid adjectives and if you need to use them, do not be too blunt. By saying that Mr./Ms. Dead-Wrong is controlling, you are opening yourself up to abrasiveness and conflict. One word I like using is “overprotective” or I even use verbal forms, such as “they like to exert a certain sense of control in their lives”. You allow them to feel like they are in a safe space and are not being condescending or demeaning.

Ask questions and rephrase their words. Listening is key and if you are just yelling at them, you are also being the controlling one. Let them express their feelings to you and then rephrase into a question. For example, if your friend says that their significant other does not accept them for who they are, you can ask “Do you want to be with someone who does not accept you?”

Remind them that it is their decision. They are an adult, you should act like one too.

Sincerely,

The Modern Day Fairy Godmother

 

 

Why Therapy and Vacations Don’t Work If You Don’t

Stress. It can get the best of us, especially during the horrible weather that we are having. It is easy for us to think about getting away and going on vacation. Does it really fix things permanently?

No relationship is ever perfect. When problems arise, it is easy to go to therapy or go on a vacation in order to get away from distractions, focus on the issues at hand and get a different perspective on things. There is nothing wrong with this strategy but it all depends on the couple’s approach.

Therapy sessions and vacations take us away from the real world. However, it can be a place for empty promises and short-lived bliss if two people are not willing to put in the work established to be completed during time away. You need to create guidelines for circumstances that come up. There will be bumps in the road but if there is no application from the resolutions you both create, it is a mere waste of time.

It is a matter of breaking the cycle of behaviour. Time away from obligations and stress is helpful for understanding why the cycle began in the first place. However, only two people who are willing to work at things will make anything beneficial a success.

Sincerely,

The Modern Day Fairy Godmother

Why Compatibility Tests Are Unimportant

I still remember the first question to my boyfriend after asking how he was: What are you looking for in a relationship?

This became the most important question because in the three elements he identified, I learned so much about him. We established from the beginning that we had common morals and values. However, as our relationship progressed, I found out that our interests weren’t always the same. In fact, we had more differences than commonalities. He is into rock music, I like dance. He is into horror, I like roller coasters. It was easy for my mind to go back to those teenage magazine quizzes and think that we failed because we do not like the same cookie (or something else that was very minuscule).

I freaked out and asked Superman what we had in common. He said our love for adventure, good stories and adrenaline. I sat back and was in shock that I could have missed this. It truly demonstrated that the minuscule things do not matter and it is so much better to have the most important things in common. If anything, our differences make our story that much more interesting.

So forget having the same favourite moving, song, whatever. If you want all of that, date yourself.

Sincerely,

The Modern Day Fairy Godmother

 

Shut Up and Listen

Over the course of the past three years, I have realized that I have written a lot about listening in regards to its importance and value. However, it is very easy to listen when you do not have any need to speak!

A couple of weeks ago, Superman and I got into an argument. We are very strong-minded people, which is why we butt heads more than the average couple in spite of our immense love for one another. That strong-mindedness translates into stubbornness very quickly.

I have been in a relationship with Superman for almost two years and in many ways, I know him very well but in many other ways, I do not. I am learning about him every day: how he communicates, how he deals with tough times, what pushes his buttons and what unexpectedly upsets him. I think it is very easy to take advantage of our significant other. We expect a lot out of them without stopping to think “Am I living up to the same standards?”

As we were having our argument, I just stopped talking and heard him out. I realized that there was a deeper meaning than what he was simply saying. I took a moment and asked him if he felt appreciated. He told me that he did not and I realized then that I should give more credit than I do now.

How would I know that if I did not take the time to just shut up and listen? Truthfully, I would not have. Sometimes life gets so busy that we just expect things to flow rather than appreciating why they flow and what makes them so good. Most arguments are just noise and instead of just hearing yourself speak, consider another perspective.

Become a better listener. Trust me, you will gain the same respect once you give it to others.

Sincerely,

The Modern Day Fairy Godmother

 

Why Breaking Ties with My Father was the Best Thing to Happen to Me

This Father’s Day had a sting to it. For the first time in over twenty years, my father did not get a warm wish, big hug, or a card with a gift from me. In fact, he probably  had no idea what I was doing today. That is because a little over a week ago, I had cut ties with my father.

I understand the severity of that decision and I had thought about it for almost a month before making it. These past five years, I have been on an emotional roller coaster with my father.  I do not know the person he has become and there has been that inner emotional conflict, resulting from desperately needing the father with whom I was raised. I always held hope that he would want to spend time with me, get to know me and be proud of me. Five years later, I have lost that hope.

Somehow along the way, my father shifted from being involved to being disengaged. I went from hearing his loud whistle at every Christmas concert I performed at to reminding him what I had been studying at university for the past five years. I can no longer have a coffee with him without it turning into a lecture of how I am an imperfect daughter and can never do anything right. Any issue I have with him becomes my fault.

As the result of his actions, he is missing out on many special events in life. He has just missed my graduation and he will miss my future occasions such as getting my first job, my first home, getting married and having kids. The worst thing is that he won’t care. He has become very self-centred and it is not something I can tolerate.

Then, I realized that the horrible relationships that I have been in before mirrored the relationship I had with my father. I sought approval and validation that I lost myself. It took me a while to accept that I am a great person who has truly excelled. I had to learn how to do it without expecting a pat on the shoulder or someone jumping up and down. I had to be happy for myself. I had to break the cycle so that my future children will never experience this.

I have grown quite tired of appeasing everyone and being in my mid 20s, it is about time that I put my emotional well-being first. To all the people who have left abusive relationships, I commend you because it takes so much strength out of you, especially in my case where the love is still there. I have understood that you cannot change people unless they want to change themselves. I have a future ahead of me and I cannot permit toxicity to affect it.

Maybe I should just go love myself.

Sincerely,

The Modern Day Fairy Godmother