FREE Relationship Rights Checklist to Help You Claim The Healthy Love You Deserve

If you’ve been hurt in your relationship, it’s natural and normal for you to want to “harm proof” yourself.

The most common request in survivor groups is for information about how to avoid attracting the same kind of hurtful partner in the future.

“How do I avoid ending up in relationship with another abusive person?”

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To Claim Healthy Love You Must Recognize Your Own Patterns

It’s a good question and survivors are smart to ask. What we know is that if you are in a relationship that hurts, there are some aspects of your patterns of interacting with potential partners that “alert” them to the fact that you are someone who might easily be taken advantage of. Those are the hooks that a potential abusive partner use to “lure you” into relationship. The problem is that we can’t usually see our vulnerable points until after someone has used them to take advantage. I’ve heard many women speak of their disappointment because they were able to get out of a harmful relationship and then found themselves being hurt again by a different partner! The other person didn’t look the same as the first hurtful partner. But, here they are again, being hurt like before.

It’s a common problem. You leave your abusive relationship, only to find that your next relationship is the same.

After doing this work for myself and so many women I’ve helped, I understand how to break that pattern.

It’s not in being able to spot an abusive person “a mile away.” Although recognizing potentially abusive behaviors in other people is helpful, that is not the way you will “abuse proof” your future.

As I’ve continued to work in the field of Domestic Violence recovery, I have noticed that MOST of the focus is on identifying abusers or identifying abusive patterns.

I think that approach to providing answers just a little too little and a little too late.

Domestic Violence Awareness movement in our country is doing a great job of raising awareness to the problem on a social level. It’s also doing a great job of helping vulnerable people recognize that they can get out of their situations.

All of that is fantastic.

But, what’s next?

How do we stop vulnerable people from being harmed in the first place?

What are the real answers to Breaking the Cycle of violence once the Silence is broken?

There are lots of potential responses related to education in the schools and changes in public policy.

What I’m focusing on here is breaking your cycle.

You need a way to see what is invisible to you but obvious to someone who would take advantage of you.

You need to be able to use this information to abuse-proof yourself in the future.

Seeing this need and recognizing that the information “out there” is filled with answers that ask you to look at other people in hopes of recognizing threat, I want to offer you something different.

I want to offer you something that will help you reclaim yourself. I want to show you the areas where vulnerable people typically get hurt, tell you what you have the right to expect in a relationship and give you permission to ask for what is healthy. It’s called the Relationship Rights Checklist.

This is your first step toward getting what you want in relationship while building a deep connection at the same time.

Lead Magnet

It’s based on the personal work I’ve done to get myself out of 2 abusive marriage and an oppressive religious upbringing. It’s also based on tried-an-true realities I’ve seen while working as a therapist for the last 2 decades.

It’s my gift to you.


I’d love to hear your feedback. I’m always here to help.

All my love,


© Tamara Bess, LMFT 2016 All Rights Reserved. Any use of this article without Tamara’s express written permission is prohibited.


I Became The Walking Dead To Survive Abuse

Healing from abuse is a journey. Everyone who escapes abuse looks back on the road they traveled and, unless they have the support of a compassionate other to help them keep perspective, they often criticize themselves heavily for where they have been. You must remember that what you did to survive abuse was successful. You survived!

Healing comes from identifying choice-points and really understanding the available choices and having a sense of forgiveness for ourselves for the decisions made. Healing begins with deep understanding.

I am in the process of deep exploration of my own abuse history. Along the way, I am discovering truths about what that experience was for me. I am sharing a little piece of what I discovered with you today because when we can see into each others’ journeys and find commonality we feel just a bit less alone with where we have been.

All along the way in my journey to freedom from abuse in my life, I shut myself down the way you do when you decide to swim across a pool on just one breath. You decide to give up oxygen in trade for the accomplishment of being able to say you can do it and you take one big breath and start swimming as hard as you can after a forceful push off the wall. Under water, moments of truth confront you as your lungs scream for air and your initial momentum from pushing off the wall has given way to your power to use your arms and legs to save your life. You feel the pain in your lungs and you have the choice to give up your goal or to move forward with your decision that breath and life are less important than this one goal. You risk in favor of victory over your life and your need for survival and you strain against the growing pressure and pain in your lungs to be able to say that you made it to the other side without breathing. There is an end and, victoriously, you take in a great gasp of air on the other side. Breathing in life, you revel in your victory.

How much are you willing to give up as you struggle to survive abuse?

How much are you willing to give up as you struggle to survive abuse?

Abusive relationships are like that because pushing against our lungs is the pressure to continue to hold our breath just a minute longer in hopes that holding our breath will change how another person treats us. For me, living with my first husband (13 years) and the next man (5 years) and in the Mormon Church (40 years) was a marathon of holding my breath long enough to swim to the other side of the pool of being pleasing enough to others. The problem was that the other side of the pool – reaching the goal and filling my lungs with air and then relaxing and being myself – kept being extended. And I continued to make the choice to hold my breath. The wall at the other end of the pool: love and acceptance and self-esteem and confidence and freedom from anxiety. But I never reached the other side while I was still in the pool.Every time a choice point came for me, I chose to strain against the pressure to take a breath and continued moving forward, trying to reach the other side of the pool. I did this for a long, long time.

When you hold your breath long enough, you become the walking dead.

Becoming the walking dead to survive abuse is too high a cost

Becoming the walking dead to survive abuse is too high a cost

I took my first steps out of my Walking Dead status when I realized that trying to please this man or that man or the Church were never going to bring me the relief, acceptance, self-esteem and love that I so desperately needed. No. Those things had to come from me. I had to stop looking outside of me to fix what was broken. I started with me.

I had to stop running away from what was inside of me. Once I began moving toward me, healing began. Healing continues.


© Tamara Bess, LMFT 2015 All Rights Reserved. Any use of this article without Tamara’s express written permission is prohibited. Tamara’s website where she provides podcasts and posts dealing with all aspects of healing from domestic violence can be found at