The Truth About Abusive Relationships
We all have our own power. Are you wondering what the hell I’m talking about? Your power is your sense of self, your confidence, your will, your ability to decide who you are and what your life will be. Too often we take it for granted and give it away so easily. That is exactly what we do in abusive relationships. We give away our most precious gift in abusive relationships.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard others say they don’t understand why anyone would put up with abuse, why they would stay or just leave. That is the rational response, after all, why would you choose to be treated badly? Maybe you would be surprised by the answers and just how often we put up with abuse.
I survived domestic abuse. I usually don’t get this personal but if I can help even one young woman from suffering then it’s my responsibility to do it. I was nineteen when I met him and desperate for love and escape. I didn’t really grow up with my father, we had a falling out in my teen years and honestly, we learn about men from the men we grow up with. I had never had a positive, loving example of a good romantic relationship and I still believe that played a huge role in my trip into the rabbit hole.
I should have seen the signs. The signs are always there but I was clouded by dreams of a life I wanted. He was controlling and at first, I liked that he took care of me. Taking care of me meant I could have no friends of my own. I couldn’t have any say in financial matters. By say I mean I could not have a debit card or even write a check. I could not go out without him and basically have no life outside of him and the kids.
Then came the rages. If you didn’t do what he wanted there was yelling, put-downs and even violence at times. I don’t tell you these things to solicit sympathy, I tell you these things as an ounce of prevention. I stayed for 13 years. There came a point and I see this point in other survivors where you die inside. If you are looking for the answer to why we stay, it is simple. We already left. It stayed that way for a few years until I pulled my big girl panties up.
To Survive Is To Be Brave
I remember people telling me I was brave. I wasn’t brave. I looked around at one point and just knew there was no love in this house. There are no heroes and villains in this story. We all lost. I did leave and he did help himself but we left rubble that would last for years to come. I literally had recreated myself. The confident, assertive person you may know now was not who I was for the first 36 years of my life.
Why We Stay In Abusive Relationships
There are so many reasons women in particular stay with an abusive partner. I thought it was important to explore how this happens and how to combat it.
We don’t want to break up the family. This is probably the chief reason for staying that I hear. Keeping the family together isn’t always in your children’s best interest. Divorce is painful and hard on kids but they deserve a loving example. Living with abuse can teach your children how to be treated and not to respect.Abuse is a pattern.
Emotional abuse in some ways trumps the physically abusive relationships, it is unrelenting. It breaks you down bit by bit til there’s nothing left. If you hear you are worthless enough times you start to believe it as crazy as that sounds. All of the behaviors and actions you know are wrong just become commonplace and the feeling of powerlessness overwhelms. You get too tired to fight.
For a lot of women especially, this becomes the issue. How will I survive? Maybe you don’t work outside the home or you see no way to make it on your own. My ex-planted this seed in my mind. He said it and I believed I would never make it on my own. When I finally left, I won’t lie it took me a long time to find the ground beneath my feet and even today I could be in a better place ,but it can be done and there is a lot of help out there. Do you need peace or do you need money?
I feel like a broken record but love can’t change people. Many stick it out in toxic relationships because they believe their love will change them. Somehow the abusive person will wake up, see the error of their ways and voila just never do it again. Umm not! It doesn’t happen that way and if they force that crap on you, be smarter. Only therapy can fix that.
The important thing is to realize that in a way the survivor of abuse is almost as unwell as the abuser themselves and getting help is imperative. It takes time to recover, you almost have to rebirth yourself. Get to know what the signs are and remember that you can’t fix it Never hand over your power.