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Monday, February 22, 2010

Why Women Stay

Have you ever dared to venture down the path of uncertainty, only to be met with the wrath of insanity?
This is what I think it is like to be stuck in a relationship with an abusive person and not know how to get out of it. 
I recently read an article on why women stay, although it works both ways and there are women who abuse men who don’t know how to abandon their situation either.  About 20 years ago, I found myself in the same situation, although the abuse was mostly mental, emotional and verbal, and for about 8 years I went through this horrible pattern of wanting to fix him and believing him when he said, over and over again, how he would change and how things would be different.  I wanted to believe this, very much, because I loved him, at least I thought I did.  Eventually he sank deeper and deeper into his abyss, the cheating, the drinking and the methamphetamines, dragging my son and I in after him, and he finally presented me with a reason to leave:  waking me up at three a.m. with a rifle in his hand, telling me to get out and that I couldn’t take my son with me when I left.  That was it.  That was when I finally snapped.  I got up, got dressed, picked up my three-year-old son, bundled him up, and, as I made my way to the door with my back to the man with the rifle in his hand, said, “Shoot me.”  I drove down the street to where my friend lived and stayed there until my son and I moved to Arizona.
I made it out alive and somewhat sane, but so many people aren’t as lucky.  I realized that what made me stay for so long and take so much abuse (which technically I was allowing to happen) was the fact that I had no confidence, no self-esteem at all, that I didn’t like myself and didn’t feel that I was worth any better.   How did this happen to me?  How did I get so down on myself?  I am a good person with talent and the ability to accomplish whatever I set my mind to, so when did I lose my self-worth?  The answer?  I never had it.  My father drank a lot during my childhood and adulthood and every other time, okay he was an alcoholic, and every time he was in one of his drunken stupors I would be pulled out of bed at 1:00 in the morning on a school night and made to listen to speeches on how the world was going to “kick me in the ass,” and other such wisdom.  Even though my relationship with my father wasn’t so great, my mother maintained a slightly unnoticed (mostly unspoken) jealously of my relationship with my dad.  I don’t know why she thought it was anything more than what it appeared to be on the surface, but that jealously prevented us from being close until my father passed away and, with that obstacle removed, we became extremely close.
If anyone reading this finds themselves a victim of an abusive relationship and doesn’t know how to get out of it, know this one thing:  No one can make you feel bad about yourself without your permission.  You are unique, a one-of-a-kind creation filled with beauty and wonder.  Like yourself, no, love yourself for who you are and develop the confidence to step out of the abuse and move on.  Tell yourself that you ARE worthy of all things good and wonderful and if you are with a person who needs to be “fixed,” then examine all of the reasons you are with this person.  There are hotlines and programs available for you to reach out to and if you have children, they are being shaped by what they see at home, which is another reason to set a good and positive example.

1 comment :

Dawn said...

I am so proud of you for what you wrote today. I think it is terribly profound, insightful, uplifting and (I hope to God) just what someone may need to read today. I am so thankful that we got to be on the other end of that escape and that you and Brice graced our lives for a little bit. You are far stronger than you think you are. Believe that, at least for today.

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