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Posts Tagged ‘domestic violence’

Domestic violence, noun

“violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner” ~ Oxford Dictionary love, forgiveness, hope

Until you are there, until you are the one who is lying on the floor being beaten, being kicked, being degraded. Until you are the one who sits while tears flow down his cheeks as he begs for your forgiveness and explains how sorry he is, how much pain he is in and how it will never happen again. Until you are the one who truly believes that you can help, that you can heal this person if you just knew how. Until you have walked in those shoes, be careful not to judge us, be careful not to criticise us.

Rather ~ give love, allow forgiveness and offer hope.

So often you hear of people who are in relationships where domestic violence occurs, this can be physical, mental, emotional or simply neglect and so often you hear people say, why doesn’t he/she leave? Why do they put up with it? I agree, on the face of it, it doesn’t make sense, there’s nothing logical about allowing someone to hit you, swear at you, demean you but yet, so many of us do. You see, it’s just not that simple.

The healthy man does not torture others. Generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers. – Carl Jung

I have been beaten, I have been neglected and I have been mentally and emotionally abused and I stayed. I would describe myself as a strong, intelligent independent women. I know right from wrong, I understand what self-respect is and I know that no-one has the right to harm me, no-one has the right to abuse me, be it physical or mental, but again, I stayed. At the time I believed the stories, I believed that I had provoked the situation, it was my fault. I was strong and independent, I was intelligent and knew my own mind, somehow I made him feel small and insignificant and this was his way of dealing with it. I can’t honestly tell you how many times it happened, it wasn’t more than a handful and I remember always being clear that I needed to make sure he never hit my face (or at least I thought it was me making sure), that way “we” could deal with it in private, “we” could work through it together, no-one would understand – or so I thought. I believed that he was “tortured” and that was why he behaved the way he did. I believed that I could make him “healthy” and in doing so, I could stop the abuse, I could make him a better man. Well, I didn’t’ and in reality, I couldn’t.

I wish I could say I made the decision, I walked away, I was strong enough to say no, but even though I believe I would have reached that point at some stage – it wasn’t how it ended. I had suspected there was someone else, I had a sense that he was cheating on me, but I could never be sure. This carried on for a while and then one evening we all went out, he was drinking, he was drinking Rum & Coke, a drink I now associate with violence and aggression. When we got home, we got into an argument, it ended up with me on the floor and him kicking me, over and over again. At some point it stopped.

The following morning, I had a call from a close friend, she wanted to talk, I knew then that he had been cheating and that it was with my friend. I made the decision to tell her what he had done, I wore clothing so that she could see the angry bruises forming on my body, so that she could see what he had done. She told me she loved him, she told me it was just our relationship. I warned her, but she, like me, felt it would be different for them – she could make him “healthy”. It wasn’t different, it was the same. He beat her as he had beaten me and she married him, she knew and she stayed. It didn’t’ last but I don’t know how it ended, I can only hope that she has found her value, understood her worth and realised her importance.

So yes, he may have been a “tortured” man, he may have had his own demons that led him to be the abusive human being he was, but he had no right to do what he did to me or anyone of the other women in his life, regardless of his pain or unhappiness. And I was wrong to believe I could help him, make him “healthy” or make him “happy”. Regardless of how much a man or woman is tortured, they have no right to torture another.

Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.  ~ Soren Kierkegaard

I have come to understand that I expected relationships to be bad and so I “chose” to have someone in my life that would affirm that for me, I did this twice and then I gave up. I decided I would rather be alone than be disappointed or be right about how I believed all of my relationships would end up. This wasn’t because I hated myself or because I was weak or unable to believe that I deserved more. It was simply because I didn’t know any better at the time. I think that this is very common in all relationships,often friends and lovers are chosen to meet a need, to fill a void we feel – somehow to make us whole.

But every now and then the universe doesn’t grant our wish and someone comes into our life who doesn’t fit the mould, who is willing to take a risk and share their honesty, who doesn’t tell us what “we want to hear”, someone who will share their love – someone who will stay no matter how much you push them away.  I have been in my current relationship for 17+ years, we have had highs and lows like any other healthy relationship. Over the years and as time goes on we learn more about each other and we work at making our relationship even “healthier” and happier. I believe there is no perfect formula, it is simply trial and error.

What I have learnt: I do know better. I know that a relationship is based on mutual respect, it is based on friendship and acceptance, it is based on love and support, it is based on compromise and negotiation, it requires communication and commitment and it requires a lot of looking after from both sides. I have learnt that no-one has the right to cause me harm, be it physical or mental and I have learnt to trust more deeply, hope more openly and love more freely. But most importantly, I have learnt that I have a voice and I have choice.

Footnote: Making the decision to write and share this post did not come easily. I have two daughters who I am trying to raise into two strong, stable, happy human beings. Every time I share my experiences I stand back and measure the impact that they may or may not have on my daughters. I am proud of the woman I have become, my past has moulded me but it does not define me, it has guided me but it no longer controls me. I believe these are lessons worth sharing with my daughters.

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