Every year, millions of women all over the world fall victims of domestic abuse. Most of them are silenced by fear. Abuse can make you feel emotionally numb. Depression, nightmares, eating and sleeping disorders will effect your sense of self-love and worth.
Fear is what ceases a woman to leave a situation she can no longer cope with. Fear is an emotion caused by anxiety or uneasiness of being afraid of something or someone. The abuser instills this fear in their lives frequently. This allows the abuser “control” as he utters bitter words, leaving her guilt stricken, defeated, and shameful.
My experience with domestic abuse came at a very early age. Living in a home where I witnessed and heard the awful sounds of abuse from my step-father, coming from my mothers room. I remember being so afraid… crying myself to sleep many nights as I swore to myself that I would NOT fall victim of such inexcusable behavior. But many years later, unconsciously and unknowingly… I became a victim of domestic abuse. How could this have happened? I had witnessed too much of it as a child. But here I was, my little girl sobbing across the room, as I shielded my newborn son in my lap, blood running down my neck and arms. Unfortunately, this was not my first or last encounter.
The abusers famous words:
“I won’t do it again”.
“You made me do it”.
“This is all your fault”.
“No one wants you”.
My father expressed these words to me that I will never forget, “If you continue to stay, your daughter will think its common to be mistreated, and your son will believe its acceptable to be the abuser”.
I was traumatized, broken and defeated for many years. I made excuses for his behavior, expected change, telling myself that if I just wouldn’t have talked back, if I just would have keep quiet, if I just would have done as he asked- then none of this would have happened.
Blame. You start to feel that. Guilt. It eats at you. You look at yourself in the mirror and wonder why he even stays. Ugly. Worthless. Lazy.
The problem is, we resort to how the abuser wants us to feel. We are forbidden to have a difference of opinion. They believe they have the right to control, restrict, and exert “power” over their partner.
There is an emotional, psychological, and physical cycle of abuse. It was up to me to break this cycle. But why was it acceptable for me to be a victim, but the very thought of my children reliving what I had experienced, was not?
It all boils down to this: “You except the love you think you deserve”.
I abandoned the life from my abuser in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on our backs. Terrified and trembling, I placed my half asleep children in the car, and left. Many times, I screamed, I cried, I was frantic he would somehow find me. But I was stricken with guilt once again. What if he COULD change? Was my effort enough? How can I make this better?
The truth is, nothing. There was nothing I could have done, there was nothing I could do to change him. And I made my effort for way too long.
For every year you stay with the abuser, that’s another entire year it takes to start self-loving again. To wash away the wounds, to burn those memories of pain and suffering, to heal and to feel whole.
The bible says that we can’t love others if we don’t first love ourselves. Self-love will battle against shame and worth. But it is a battle worth fighting for.