Beware: You Attract Abusive Predators When You Ignore Intuition
Have you read the story of Bluebeard? In short, Bluebeard, an abusive predator, marries a naïve girl and gives her all the keys to his castle, but tells her to never use the tiny key with the beautiful scroll top. So, of course, the girl seeks the door the key will open. She unlocks the door and sees the dead bodies of Bluebeard's former wives. In some versions, the girl escapes Bluebeard's wrath and in others she dies.
Initially, I equated the story of Bluebeard's wife with myself as a formerly abused woman. After reading Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., I agree with the author that Bluebeard is the voice in our heads that traps us in abusive relationships (and many other foul situations).
According to Dr. Estes, American women learn to override our intuition because society wants us to be nice. Instinct keeps us safe, but being nice puts us in danger. Habitually choosing niceness over intuition invariably forces us to lose touch with our instincts, and without instinct, we cannot discern danger from safety. When we lose our ability to discriminate between danger and safety, our internal survival system sends out the alarm:
"Hey! Since we don't know what is dangerous, it is best to assume everything is dangerous so we stay alive!"
We do not consciously live in fear -- it is too exhausting -- but we do take on the role of the victim, the role of prey. Instead of hunting for what we want out of life, we scurry about looking for a safe place. In other words, we make ourselves vulnerable to predators. Think of it this way: If you saw a bunny for the very first time, would you assume it was predator or prey? I'm guessing you could tell it was prey. Abusers find victims in the same way.
Bluebeard is the ultimate abusive predator because he lives in our mind. He thrives when we feel incapable and small. Bluebeard represents the opposite of intuition -- he represents our fear. Bluebeard (fear) grows large when our intuition (ability to sense danger) is small. It stands to reason that many American women have an overdeveloped Bluebeard living in our heads. This is bad for our psyche, but it is especially bad when our internal Bluebeard materializes into a real world predator (a.k.a. abuser).
When we meet an abusive person, they set themselves up to look like a safe place in a world full of danger. For example:
- If you fear your lover will cheat on you, the abuser assures you they could never cheat and give convincing reasons why.
- If you fear what will happen if you work from home but desperately want to, the abuser assures you they will keep the roof over your head while you follow your dream.
If Bluebeard plays a big part in our subconscious mind, the abuser with his/her safe place seems heavenly. Meeting a person who promises to supply your unique type of safety feels like divine intervention. The abusers, wily liars that they are, allow you love them and find protection in their arms from whatever fears you feel, at first.
After you believe the abuser to be your safe place, you are hooked. The need for safety causes blindness and denial, and the abusive person (like Bluebeard) thrives on what makes you small and weak. In time, the abuser gains control by amplifying what Bluebeard says to you.
"I swear to God if you don't put out when I ask then I'm going to have an affair!" or
"You are such a gold-digger! I should leave you to pay these bills by yourself and we'll see just how well you can manage in the real world!"
The abuser and Bluebeard tag-team the victim, working together inside and out. This is why when you leave the abusive relationship you feel like you took your abuser's voice with you. It is not the abuser you must ultimately conquer; it's the Bluebeard in your mind you must overcome.
In Dr. Estes book, Bluebeard's opposite is the Wild Woman. Bluebeard is fear, but Wild Woman is intuition. The two characters strengths wax and wane throughout our lives. When abuse victims flee the abuser, Wild Woman enhances their courage. When abuse victims flee into their fears, Bluebeard takes advantage. The two characters are opposites, so you cannot silence Bluebeard completely or forever. However, you can shrink him down to size by getting in touch with your intuition.
- Dr. Estes Website
- How to Live With Abuse: Connect With Your Intuition
- End Your Abusive Relationship By Trusting Your Intuition
*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.
Jo, K. (2014, September 29). Beware: You Attract Abusive Predators When You Ignore Intuition, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2014/09/being-nice-and-ignoring-our-instinct-attracts-abusive-predators