October is significant for many reasons, one being its dedication to bringing awareness to Domestic Violence. You will see purple being worn in solidarity and support for those affected by Domestic Violence. The most common form that people think of when they think of Domestic Violence is physical, with a woman falling victim to a man.
There are so many other forms, and it can happen to anyone. Domestic violence knows no gender, socioeconomic class, not one certain type of person; it can happen to anyone. Domestic violence comes in the form of physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, financial, sexual, isolation, control and more.
It is something that doesn’t always happen immediately; it can happen gradually.
It can start when someone acts out in such a way that it startles you, then they try to convince you that they’re sorry and that if YOU hadn’t done something to trigger them or if YOU hadn’t acted a certain way, they wouldn’t have acted out.
They try to convince you that they are not really that way…and often times, you believe them.
Often times, you already feel stuck in the web. Your emotions get the best of you and you’ve seen how wonderful the other person can be and you believe in them. You have already fallen for your abuser or feel like you have made your decision to be with this person, and nobody is perfect, so you give that person grace, the grace they don’t deserve and the grace that gives them power.
It’s hard. It’s excruciating. Nobody should live in this fear. Nobody should be treated this way. YOU don’t deserve it. NOBODY deserves it.
Your abuser is often a narcissist, sociopath and coward. Your abuser will never accept responsibility nor will you it abuser change. Their pride will always get in the way and they will never see themselves as the problem. There is always a way out, even if you don’t think there is.
It’s different for everyone, and you have to be ready to make the decision to get away and stick to it, because when you go back, it’s going to get worse. You feel frozen. You feel like you’ve come this far and “survived” and it can’t get much worse. It can. It more than likely will. It can result in losing your life.
There are many resources.
Hopefully, you have a support system. That support system may seem to have gone away because your abuser has isolated you and they don’t understand why you’ve ever made the decision to stay with your abuser. You might feel marginalized because your support system who loves you is hurting watching you hurt. This is the time that your support system needs to put aside their feelings, because it is YOU who is at risk and it is YOU who is putting every shattered piece of yourself together as best as you can to get away, and you don’t need anything but support.
Sometimes you feel like you’re choosing the lesser of the two evils. Sometimes, you are having a harder time getting away because you have a child involved and you want to keep your family together for your child, but guess what, it is more damaging to a child to see and experience seeing you be abused. Your child will think this is normal and it is terrifying when your child makes excuses or tries make sense of it all.
It is NEVER ok.
It is NEVER ok for someone to try to control you, to put their hands on you, to call you every name in the book, to spit at you, to throw things at you, to take your things, to isolate you…and then, turn around and tell you they love you.
That is not love.
Again, it can happen to anyone, from someone who lives in a million dollar home to someone who lives on the street.
If you are in a domestic violence situation, work on a plan B. Do it secretly and thoroughly, so when you take the most courageous step of your life, that you are absolutely capable of, you can move ahead, not go back, work on your future and heal.
Don’t forget to heal. You’ll be told you can’t do it without your abuser, by your abuser, but you can. You might lose “things”, but you already lost yourself, who YOU HAVE FOUND again, and you will rebuild. Always remember that YOUR FEELINGS ARE VALID, and you need to truly feel them. The PTSD will be retraumatizing, but you will get through it; unfortunately it is normal.
You are going to be ok.
You are not alone.
Don’t dwell on the decisions you made that you feel put you in this position, because it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are getting away, you are reclaiming your life, you are gaining strength and you will rebuild life, better than ever. You don’t want to be another statistic in the worst case scenario.
There are many organizations that can help, one of which is The Center for Women and Families. You and your child(ren) are all that matter. We have one life. Let’s live it as we deserve…full of self love, confidence, strength & resilience.
I am a survivor of Domestic Violence.