A Letter to Domestic Abuse Victims and Their Abusers
To the victim of abuse: whatever you’ve done, whatever voice you hear in your head, whatever rationalization you offer for staying, none of it excuses what is happening to you. Nothing gives him (or her) permission or justification to treat you the way you are being treated.
Make the call. There are shelters, there are resources, there is help, there are people who can help you get out of where you are. You are stronger than you know. You are worth infinitely more than what you have been hearing for however long you have been hearing it. The person who is abusing you may be doing it unknowingly. They may say hurtful things and not realize how their words affect you. They may also knowingly abuse you. They may say things, use their fists, scream at you to intentionally break your spirit. Whether or not the abuse is done knowingly or unknowingly, YOU should know that neither is okay.
There is help for them as well.
But first things first: Remove yourself and any children from the hell you are in. Children learn from what they see. Children assume that what they SEE is “normal”. And children grow up and do what they consider “normal” reflexively. That means “without thought”. That means that it is their “go to” action, their default setting. Their first response.
You may love each other, but this is not about that. There are other forces at work. There are other dynamics that are overwhelming and counteracting that love. To give that love a chance to survive, you must step back from the brokenness and allow your soul time to heal, because it, too, has been broken, injured, torn, shattered.
To the abuser: You are broken. Admit it or acknowledge it. You probably (hopefully) already KNOW you are. And you are in hell. And whatever brought you to that hell is still with you. It is so intrinsically a part of you that you may not even be aware of it. But it is still with you. Whatever brokenness you experienced in your past that twisted you into what you are today, abuse or neglect, trauma or something else, remember it, identify it and name it.
Your behavior is not unique. Sadly, you are not the only one that deals with what you are dealing with. In fact, your behavior is SO not unique that it is called ‘textbook’, because it has been studied and quantified, identified and categorized. And predicted. If you grew up watching your father (or whatever partner your mother had at any given time if your father was no longer in the picture) belittle, ridicule, threaten, control, yell at, hit, or otherwise abuse your spouse, the problem is with you. The source of the strife is with you. The unhappiness, the frustration, the dissatisfaction, the anger, the rage, that is primarily internal to YOU.
But understand this: if you are repeating what happened to you with your wife, or, much less often, husband, or your children, you are creating another’s hell. You are creating another you. Do you really want to make someone else’s experience the duplicate of yours? Do you really wish that on someone else?
Numbers to call: