Today I was catching up on current events, issues that affect women and I read a comment that disturbed me. I was following up on Marissa Alexander, and I read a comment that forced a sadness over me as I read. The person who made the comment, clearly doesn't understand what Domestic Violence is. I am writing this from a woman's point of view, and yes I have had my experiences as a woman, but I don't want to focus on my personal experience as much as I want to just dissect this topic for a minute. The person's comment was, why did she keep going back?
No one just decides to get into a relationship where there is violence. It is the end result of the conditioning of a mental state. These are love relationships, not casual encounters with a passer by on the street. The victim loves the person who is inflicting the hurt, and more than likely before the abuse, the abuser gave the victim a wealth of love and a reason to love. DV starts out with the subtle disrespect, comments and tear down and sometimes the victim has some deeper issues that they have yet to address within themselves. I believe that we all want a significant other who brings out the joy in us. Please don't misunderstand me, no one can make another person happy if that person is just a miserable person, and that type of responsibility should not be placed on either party in the relationship, but what about those silent insecurities or pains that the victim might be carrying and not even be aware of? This can make the victim a prime target for abuse.
I often comment on the good girl syndrome, where the woman doesn't want to appear to be a failure or society will look at her funny like there's something wrong with her. And many times when women do get out of abusive relationships, they are standing completely alone and might or might not be able to receive the proper support when she finally leaves. The damage is so great, that many times the victim is conditioned to believe that there is no life after the abuser. The victim is constantly revisiting the times in the beginning, as a way to escape the pain of when it felt good; almost like a mental safety space. Again, the victim loves this person and it doesn't help that many abusers are often good people full of conflict. This instigates the victim to feel bad for the abuser, because although the pain is great, the victim still has a softness for the abuser. It's all mental, being punched had a seed planted before the blow and this is what makes the damage so painful, and many times the idea of healing the mind is a much greater challenge than the physical abuse.
The mental anguish is the real pain, it leaves the victim wondering, am I really a bitch, is that really my name? Maybe if I do this the abuser will be nice to me. The silent turmoil and inner pain and damage is devastating, and the manipulation of the abuser is methodical and these are complex individuals who are generally very intelligent. What I always find fascinating is that my men friends who are good men, they never understand the dynamics behind a man abusing a woman. They're so far removed from the idea of a man abusing a woman that they don't even understand it. These are men who are just comfortable in their skin no matter what, yes they have egos and they're not "soft," but what makes them so special is that they understand that women are delicate and they just intuitively are grounded in who they are. I might even add, yes, it is apparent that this is a man's world, so I see these men as being strong in their own person, as if to say, whatever, I'm a man, didn't you know? They aren't concerned with belittling a woman, it's irrelevant to them.
I personally, believe that it's one of the saddest places to be, to have to leave someone you love because of abuse. Often, the victim is emotionally depleted and can't even think for themselves. The place that was once full of joy and life becomes an empty darkness full of what they thought it could have been. That's usually where the victim has been in the relationship, trying to figure out that one thing day-to-day, how can I make this person happy and get the relationship back to the love that was in the beginning? This is the domineering idea that the victim has in their mind, and the sadness of what might have or could have been. Still, no matter what, the reality is no one can change another person. The victim has to learn all over again, how to take care of themselves. The road to healing and recovering a life is hard, painful and sometimes the victim is left without self-esteem, sometimes material items are lost and the victim has to recover the entire essence of one's self.
I just had to share this, it was a comment that struck my heart in the worst way. I do understand that there are those who are strong and just would not have it, and there are people in the world who wouldn't think of harming another human being, but I just wanted to throw in a little reminder, it's not just about the physical abuse. It's about two people who started out loving each other, and some where inside of those two people some painful triggers were ignited and the dysfunctional dance of abuse began.
I don't understand abuser away from a textbook, I admit, but I do my best to have some type of compassion. However, when you see a victim on that rollercoaster ride, just think of the rollercoaster of the mind and say a prayer.
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