When you’re in a relationship with someone who is abusive, everyone will tell you to leave them. You might feel hooked. It has highs and lows; one moment they are nice and promise to change and the next they are being cruel. Relationships are complex because people are complex, and I doubt any two combinations will ever be the same.

There is, however, one relationship that can be understood clearly when you are in an abusive relationship, and that’s the relationship you are having with yourself.

I know this, not just from my clients’, but also from my own past. The highlight, if that’s the right way of putting it, was that I dated a psychopath. It was a turning point in my relationship with myself. My experience fully verified all twenty points in Ron Johnson’s book ‘The Psychopath Test’. This guy was twisted and I found him fascinating. I wanted to understand how he ticked and maybe I thought I could change him. Once I finally saw the light, as the things he did to me got worse and worse, he wouldn’t leave me alone. Popping up every so often and making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. During a phone call he made, six months after I thought he’d got the message, something came out of my mouth I didn’t know I had inside me. I said, ‘It’s not you I hate, I’m over you. It’s just that whenever I hear your voice or see your name, it makes me hate myself’. He replied, ‘Well, I won’t contact you ever again then’. I was delighted. I responded, ‘Yes, that would be great, thank you’. He kept to his word, because it was always all about him, and when it became about me hurting me, that wasn’t any fun for him.

When someone is abusing you, you want to make sense of it in the hope you can make it change. Some people don’t deserve the effort of your time to understand them. The one person who does is you.

Turn your attention to why you’re abusing yourself. You are the only person you can change. Why are you abusing yourself by putting yourself in harm’s way?

I spent many years building a relationship with myself. I stopped hating myself for my past choices and forgave myself, putting it down to youth and inexperience. I made a solid commitment that I would never do that to myself again. No matter how intriguing the man, I won’t abuse myself for my own curiosity. I’d advise you to build a positive relationship with yourself.

You are all you have truly got.