Well people are certainly talking about sexual abuse a lot in the media right now and I say good for them! It’s not something new but it’s being brought to the forefront and hopefully induces justice.
That’s not what I want to talk about though. I want to talk about domestic abuse… how it feels, hurts, and does so much damage.
I was an abused woman.
Just saying that makes my own skin crawl.
Why? Because it’s not comfortable to talk about, as much as it’s not comfortable to hear about either.
And I’m sure there are some out there that think this topic is not something discussed in polite conversation.
Well I’m done being polite.
It happened. It was real. It was a huge part of my life that I NEVER talked about when it was happening.
Why talk about it now? Because it’s part of healing. Because back then, even after I left the abuser I still couldn’t talk about it. My own family didn’t know the extent of the situation until years after the fact.
The thing is that, it’s something I carry with me to this day. It scared me in ways one can’t possibly understand unless they too have lived it. And it’s not ever ok. Not then. Not now.
Ladies… if he’s calling you degrading names daily, that’s verbal abuse. Names that apply but are not limited too are bitch, stupid, fat, worthless, a piece of shit… No one should be calling you these things, especially someone who supposedly loves you.
If he puts his hands on you in any way… doesn’t matter if he didn’t actually hit you. If he pushes you down, locks you in a room, pushes you into a wall, yanks your hair when you are walking away, or puts his hands around your neck… LEAVE. This is physical abuse.
So, what you yelled at him. So, what you told him he was being a jerk (yes, that is a form of name calling) but it’s NEVER OK for him to put his hands on you.
I’m telling you, when this was happening to me I didn’t even realize I was being abused. The word ‘abuse’ itself was not how I would describe it then because I thought it was too harsh of a word. It took someone else to point it out. Someone else to say what I was describing was in fact, in every essence of the word, abuse.
Sounds dumb right?
Which is another reason so many women don’t talk about it. They feel stupid. Stupid for picking such a man, marrying him, and then having babies, and then continuing to stay. An outside perspective will tell you to just leave. As if leaving isn’t the only thing they want yet seems like the absolute most difficult thing to do. We feel so stupid for admitting this is how we have been choosing to live.
You live off the excuses… you stay because you are determined to make it work. You stay because of the kids. You stay because you don’t fully grasp the fact that you are living an abusive relationship. Instead you justify, you say you are just fighting, or maybe you caused the fight. Maybe he’s an addict like mine so you just blame the drugs until you realize its more than just that.
So, yea, I kept my mouth shut and so did anyone who probably knew what was going on but looked the other way. It’s so easy to pretend somethings not there when it is. People don’t like confrontation. Or maybe people just didn’t have an answer.
The conversation is uncomfortable. The abuse is real though and doesn’t stop until you take yourself out of the situation for good. You can tell yourself he will change until you are blue in the face and the fact is, it’s not going to change until something drastic happens… that could mean you leaving or something much worse.
Leaving the abuser is the hard part. It is NOT the easy route out and I don’t care what anyone says. It’s so much easier to stay and take it then to stand up, with all the strength you have left, which doesn’t seem like much at that point, and decide you are done and never look back.
See, when you are verbally and mentally abused sometimes that is almost worse because it means the abuser got inside your head and it made you look at yourself in the distorted way they are looking at you. When you have bad self-esteem, you believe what the person is telling you, because this person is supposed to be your person, this person supposedly loves you. You believe you aren’t smart enough, that you truly couldn’t make it without them.
Which is why summoning up that courage to leave is so difficult… because you feel so worthless and stupid.
And some people will read this and think I’m looking for attention. Which is yet another reason this doesn’t get talked about. Believe it not, that’s not the reason for this post. I’m talking about it now is because it was terrible thing I lived through and I know there are others who can relate. Others who may have felt or are feeling these very same things and they need to leave. I’m talking about it because I finally can. I’ve hinted about this topic a few times here, but I feel like I can finally share.
Because I refuse to feel shameful about it anymore. I refuse to hide away from the ugly truth of my journey. I will not be what happened to me. I do not want to carry this burden forever.
Again, easier said than done right?!
But it can be done. Speak your truth and let it go. Abuse is an ugly word. If it’s happening to you, seek help, seek shelter or the comfort of a friend or family member.
And remember, as I have had to learn, it’s not your/my fault.