If you have ever had the misfortune to be a victim or are still involved in an abusive relationship, this article may sound familiar.
Somehow, you've gathered the courage to share with others the horrors you're living through, and while a few may show remorse, others are whispering behind your back, some demand that you leave immediately, and many may tell stories of how "they would never stand for that". These responses are part of the reason this remains a silent or private crime. Society still believes leaving an abusive relationship once there is physical or emotional trauma is an easy decision. It's not.
There is an internal struggle going on consistently based on many factors, which include the consistent gaslighting and manipulation of the abuser as he or she presents an image to the outside world of perfection and goodwill. Even though you doubt what is going on, YOU know the real person who is fooling everyone else.
How many times have you been told you didn't see your significant other speaking on the phone to someone else, or that it's your fault when you get yelled at or called profane names? How often have you attended a social event where every time you try to contribute to the conversation, you're glared at so you stop speaking or accused of not knowing what you're talking about? You're stupid, fat, lazy, useless and I hate you are regular comments in the home.
How often have you feared arriving home late from work or the grocery store, and slapped because dinner wasn't ready on time? What reason will you come up with next for that broken arm or black eye when visiting the emergency room? What will you tell friends who wonder what happened to your recent paycheck?
After being treated this way over and over again, you feel worthless, tired and resigned to your situation, believing that you'll never deserve anything better. On many occasions, you often wonder if what you're going through is even real. You're the victim, yet friends and family may believe that "you deserve whatever you get because you stay." What about when he or she says, "I'm sorry and it won't happen again?" What happens when you get flowers or some other special gift designed to make you feel that everything is okay?
These are simply manipulative tactics to control and reel you in so you'll believe that change is possible despite the horror you're living in.
Still, we deal with the trauma and humiliation, resentful that no one believes what we're saying because of the lies being told. We have been the victims of a charming, charismatic person to the outside world. Not leaving doesn't make us less intelligent or less beautiful - we simply are coping the best way we know how to maintain some sense of sanity for ourselves and our family.
Even though we're still here, we need your validation and support until we have the strength to move on. We need you to understand we're in fear of being physically harmed, stalked or without a home, or some other form of horrible retaliation. We may need you to encourage us over and over again until something you say "clicks". It's possible we may need financial guidance until we're on our feet. We need you to simply "hear" us as we share the need to hear an apology for the cheating and lies or bad treatment, knowing as we are healed that that those words may never come.
We would like a shoulder to lean on as we slowly grow into the persons we used to be, eventually feeling better about the positive changes of gaining back our dignity. Help us to realize that the abuse we've suffered is not our fault, even when it finally ends and we're away from the madness of the narcissist and abuser.
It's possible to close the door on the deception, degradation, cheating, physical violence, sexual assault, gaslighting and financial losses so that we never look back. One day, we'll no longer see ourselves as the abuser sees us. We just need you to believe in us one more time.
Domestic Violence is not talked about nearly enough, yet it's real and dangerous to so many people. If are being abused, seek help when it's safe from a local shelter, or someone you really trust. Love should NEVER hurt.