Stop pretending you understand why she stays or why she cannot force herself to leave even if she says she wants to. Stop shaming the people being abused. Relationships like the ones I am talking about are difficult and hard to understand and hard to escape from.
Abuse doesn’t show itself on the first date. He doesn’t send you home with a damaged soul aching for relief. He comes in kind and gentle, sweet like the perfect guy. A real take him home to mamma kind of man. He will pay attention to you and make you feel like you’re the only girl in the world. Like he is everything you need.
Red flags may not start showing until months or years into the relationship. In some cases, they hit you like a train full force and leave you breathless. You need out but how do you even begin to fathom life without him. No, he doesn’t hit you, he hasn’t choked you out or kicked you like a shoe on his way out the door. He just drops little shitty remarks and tears you down.
If you tell him it bothers you he simply responds that it was a joke. “you’re crazy don’t take things so seriously.” So you get over it and keep on… until it happens again, and again, and again. On repeat like a song, you hate that overplays on the radio. Like a faucet that won’t stop dripping even when the water has stopped.
He tells you that he hates your friends, your new haircut, your outfit, and everything else.
The dripping just keeps getting worse and worse and every sly remark feels like a ton of bricks beating you down over and over again. He doesn’t really mean it. It’s not his fault. I should have taken him into consideration before I got that haircut. He doesn’t realize that I’m just more sensitive than he is. It’ll be okay, I’ll get over it.
I’m crazy after all I always catch him in lies that he didn’t tell, right? I’m doing something wrong. I didn’t keep the house clean enough. I didn’t heat his dinner up fast enough. I can’t sleep from all this screaming. I am not the one making a scene but for some reason, I am the mirror that is breaking. Why? Why can’t I just walk out that door and keep going? Why are my feet too stiff to move and my voice too soft to speak back? Why am I stuck here, in this hell?
If I could leave where would I go? What will I do? How will I afford to live on my own? I have nothing. I am nothing.
I need him.
He has broken me. He has worn me down. He has done just what he intended to do. I am no longer the smart, pretty, strong woman I was when I met him. I am weak and I am afraid. I chose this life. Why did I do that to Myself?
A woman in a relationship like this cannot leave until she finds her voice. She cannot just walk away with nothing and no place to go. She needs options and support. She will be dealing with this hell long after the man is long gone from her life.
If you know someone or are someone dealing with emotional or physical abuse. Let them know they are not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There will be PTSD to come along with things like depression and anxiety but you will be okay. Life will go on. We all deserve happiness. Let that faucet drip to itself. No one is worthless. Don’t be afraid to leave.
Inspired By an article written by the PTSD Journal.