In my early 20’s I was involved with a tiny woman named Christine. The relationship lasted for a few years. Not that it was a happy one, but because I was afraid to leave. She used to kick my ass on the regular. Hands, baseball bats, golf club, tennis racket, paddles, ladding strips, ect. I finally left when I caught her banging the guy she named as my best man on the preacher’s deck in the church, on our wedding day. Fortunately, it was before the ceremony. While chatting with a friend in a similar situation, who is finding it hard to leave, I had a bit of a realization. I said the following to him.
“Things would be so much easier if our abusers didn’t know what buttons to push to keep us in place, wouldn’t they? It sucks that we are so easily manipulated. What makes it worse? We castigate ourselves mercilessly when we realize that were. Now that’s the real diabolical scheme. They don’t constantly abuse us because of two things: 1) We’d find leaving a hell of a lot easier, and 2) They don’t have to. We do a much better job of it.
Abusers are masters of psychological warfare without being trained in it. They wait until we build ourselves up enough to where we are ready to leave, then they bring on the sweetness, kindness, and other things that made us fall for them in the first place. This causes us to question ourselves, to doubt reality, and make us wonder if we are even sane. When we are nearly over it, BOOM!, the abuse resumes. And then the castigation begins again.
Another fucked up thing about it? We question if we don’t deserve it. Surely we bring it on ourselves. We push them to yell, scream, blame, hit, etc., us. If we were better, they would never treat us this way.
Now is the time to ask yourself these questions:
1. Why do I deserve to be treated this way?
2. What makes me a terrible person?
3. Why do I think this is okay?
4. Why is it important that it be my fault?
5. Is it really okay for me to go through this?
7. Is this really who I am?
8. Do I want this for my children?
9. If it is okay for me to be treated this way, why don’t I want my kids to be?
The reason the “yourself” at the beginning is stressed is because I want you to just go based on you. Don’t worry about what anyone else this. They are unimportant for this exercise. Once you have the right answers to those questions, then you will know what to do. What are the right answers, you ask? You know. Yes, you do. In your heart.”
If you, or a loved one is in a similar situation, call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.