A scientist conducted an experiment. She put frog number one into a pan of very hot water. The frog jumped right out. Then, she placed frog number two in a pan of cool water. This frog didn’t jump out. Very gradually, the scientist raised the temperature of the water. The frog gradually adapted until it boiled to death.
Part of conditioning is adapting. In other words, conditions may change around us and, like frog number two in the little story above, we may adapt very gradually. We are not inclined to notice gradual changes. This is how most partners adapt to verbal abuse. They slowly adapt until, like frog number two, they are living in an environment that is killing their spirit.
Going back to our story, frog number one jumped right out of the hot water because she noticed a contrast between the comfortable air she had been in and the very hot water she was put into. She felt the difference. She was able to discriminate. If she had stayed in the hot water after experiencing that it was not a healthful environment, she would have been “denying” her experience or acting unnaturally.
p. 111 “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans