WHY WE SETTLE WITH ABUSE
Updated: Oct 14, 2019
Earlier this week I found myself laying on the grass in a park looking up at the clouds in the sky. I thought of the clouds as though they were the surface of the waves above. I imagined myself as though I was laying on the sand in a part of the ocean where sunlight was still able to break through the depths of the waters above. I felt so small. If the surface of the water was as far as the clouds were from where I was laying then I would’ve been pretty deep under the water. So far underneath the water but I could still breath.
Towards the end of the week I found myself laying on top of a bed-like table in an estheticians office again looking up. The woman giving me a facial was incredibly open and enjoyed talking while she applied creams and exfoliants underneath my eyes and over and above my nose. There is absolutely no recollection as to why we started talking about her dating life but the charisma she carried and her ability of storytelling intrigued me so I couldn’t help but continue to ask her more questions. She had just exited an abusive relationship with a man that sounds like he needs to be taken away from society. She continued saying that she previously had been married for about fifteen years to a man who was also emotionally abusive and difficult to be around. She questioned why she always seemed to attract men with these common aggressive behaviors. Especially because she knew deep down that she was such a strong woman always hungry for independence. And by the looks of her and the way she moved, laughed and exuded confidence – I believed her.
It’s hard to know as children just how impactful certain situations can be on us.
As children we don’t typically know how to stand up for ourselves possibly because it takes us a while to understand the concept of self respect. Domestic abuse is unfortunately prevalent everywhere in the world. I think the only way to actually rid the existence of domestic abuse would be to rid the existence of humans all together. So then since abuse seems to be here to stay, how do we navigate ourselves away from its’ detriment? How can we ensure that, as loving people, we ensure not to bring abuse into our lives?
I hate when blame gets put onto the victim when discussing domestic violence.
I hate it when people say things like, “Well, they’re the one putting up with it.” There’s nothing more ignorant than hearing a comment like that, in my opinion. Abuse is hard to navigate. I know because I’ve dealt with it and I’ve also witnessed friends deal with it as well. If we want to understand the situation then we need to really understand the two people within the abusive relationship. We need to fully understand them on a subconscious level. To me the psychology behind abusive relationships is really fascinating. Why does Person A use such manipulative tactics to tear Person B down and then build person B back up again. It’s a really sick mind game. Why do they do this? Well, often times abusers search for people that exude co-dependency traits. They know that they will be able to manipulate and control their feelings. That way Person B will never leave Person A no matter what Person A does badly. Person A is the one who is dealing with a lot of emotional trauma and fear losing control and losing people from their life. Of course this is situational to each individual but I believe this is the heart of where abuse starts. And Person B is often times a very loving and forgiving person. Person B often times seeks love that they are used to having within their lives so having chaotic behavior constantly thrown at them is normal. They’re usually happy to be the one to stand by the side of someone who needs emotional help and love – case and point Person A. This all stems back to our childhood and the love that was or wasn’t given to us as children. It stems back to what we witnessed relationships to be while growing up. For me, I actually think I can easily fall into the category of co-dependency because I always wanted to make my dad value my opinions and my intelligence when I was younger. But I never felt like I got that validation. I could never be smart enough to understand higher education because I’m a female. At least that’s what I was told. I’ve lived nearly my entire life trying to get that validation from men like my father. Something deep down in my heart needs to have a man like my father validate my intelligence. I need them to see what I’ve always seen. But this is a pointless battle. I need to give up in asking for validation from others because it not only is pointless, but this ‘need’ is dangerous. What’s tricky about it is that my father is a really great person so figuring this out took a lot of time and a lot of digging. Now that I know this of myself all I need to do is validate myself. And with that, I can move on. Again, I love my father, he doesn’t understand how impactful his words have been on me within our past. So I do forgive him and in a way they made me a really strong person. He too was shaped by his parents and what he witnessed while growing up. I was impacted as a child because of what I witnessed and what I was told just as he. This is why abuse will never go away. We are products of our parents. We are humans raising humans.
I feel as though I’m speaking about domestic violence in a somewhat light hearted way but I want to clarify that there is nothing light hearted about it. It is a vicious detrimental cycle – one that is incredibly difficult to remove yourself from once you find yourself in it. I am primarily speaking of abusive relationships that ultimately have a choice to enter and exit the relationship. I know that there are certain situations where people are forced into abusive relationships and I believe that to be an entirely different topic. I feel, as a society, we need to have open dialog about domestic abuse and how it touches more people’s lives than we’re aware. It needs to be talked about without shame. If you’ve been in an abusive relationship don’t be ashamed of that be proud that you got out. If you’re currently in an abusive relationship don’t be ashamed to tell someone, be proud that you’re working on getting out. According to Domestic Violence Statistics.org – every 9 seconds in the US, a woman is assaulted or beaten, domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women more often than car accidents and men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents. So if you feel ashamed about your situation I wanted to re-iterate that you are not alone.
I know what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship. At the time of me ending the relationship I felt as though I would never talk about it again. I thought I would just move on. And I have moved on very graciously in fact. But I feel like it would be a lost opportunity if I kept my opinion about abusive relationships quiet.
I think everyone seems to keep abusive relationships quiet. Maybe that is a part of the problem as to why abuse is constantly perpetuated. Will abuse ever end? Honestly? Probably not, so that makes it even more applicable as to why we need to talk about it. I often wonder why I put up with the relationship for as long as I did. Most of it was hidden within emotional abuse which made it hard to realize he was abusive. Leading up to the end I really saw the abuse when he started throwing things, breaking things and ultimately pushing me as hard as he could onto the floor. Throughout it all I wanted to believe the good things at the beginning would come back. I wanted to be there for someone who needed love and he clearly needed help. I have so much love to give and it feels so good when I find someone I want to give it to. But I tell myself that it needs to be given to the right person. To the person deserving of my love. My love is a great thing to earn. Key word being – earn. When I got out of the relationship it was actually a lot easier than I thought. Leading up to the exist I was heartbroken but I had to remind myself that I deserve to be loved and that the relationship was the farthest thing from love. I was protecting the life I knew I wanted to live and with that I was able to walk away. I knew that I would never have the things I truly wanted for myself while keeping a toxic person in my life. And I can vouch on this topic that as soon as I let that baggage go my life became amazing! I will never find value in a toxic relationship again. Life is simply too good to be wasted on toxic people.
Discernment has been a crucial word for me to live by lately. One that I constantly allow to guide my decisions. As we live our lives, it’s impossible not to become wounded with our gashes fading into scars. It’s how we choose to wear our scars and it’s how we allow our battle wounds to shape us. I wear mine with pride in now knowing my strength and knowing my self worth. Never ashamed and constantly growing better everyday.
If you feel like you are being taken advantage of or abused within your relationship you need to speak up. Reach out to a loved one and know your self worth. If you’re too ashamed to tell someone you know, then call a hotline. There are many of them out there filled with people who are judgement free and happy to help. I understand that sometimes it can feel like you’re so far down unable to get back to the surface again but please trust that you can. And trust in your heart that you are not alone. No matter how far down it feels you are from the surface always remember that you can still breathe.