#WhyIStayed and the Impact of Abuse

Imagine walking on broken glass everyday and hoping you don’t make one sound to set them off. Compromising your integrity, self-esteem, and any morals just to make your partner happy. Anything you aspire into your life is insignificant to their wants and to refuse their requests? Think of a stick of dynamite with a short fuse and you’ve just set a match to it.

Two forms of abuse are their specialty–physical and mental. One is easy to spot, the other not so much. Both are equally devastating.

Dead EndI have a friend who escaped with her children away from her monster. I saw the fear, the anxiety, and the worry of how she was going to provide for her kids. You see, her abuse was so bad, she had severe health problems. Finding a job–even if she was physically able–was impossible when her children were young. While she’s not entirely free of her monster, she is on the other side of the country she lives in. The distance has helped her heal, though even in that great expanse the monster tried to control her with threats. Fear is a powerful weapon and a abuser wields it well. However, I’ve seen her children thrive from being in a safe environment. She no longer has to make excuses for why she can’t get out of bed. She has more healing to do as it’s not an easy fix but I see her transformation in slow baby steps and it makes me proud.

Another friend is on the cusp of fleeing her relationship. She has kids as well so it makes it tricky. I pray everyday that she finds her way out of the madness. She’s got a big heart, as most victims do.

I have family members who have also dealt, or are currently dealing, with abusive relationships. The scars are invisible jagged lines of their soul. Bruises faded and bones mend but deep inside? That’s not so easy. As sad as it is, we are so blind with love and devotion that we don’t see the monster for what they are. We pray that we get out of the fog and escape.

To break the cycle is very hard. You’ve put your love and trust into someone only to have them beat you–mentally or physically–with it. You blame yourself, thinking it’s something you’re doing. you clam up when confronted, put on a face every time you go in public but those who have been there know the signs. We think we can get them to change, to see the behavior. The fear of helplessness, even when people will help you, is real. What if they find out before you get out? What if the punishment for doing it is far worse? By the time you realize what is happening, your abuser has isolated you away from family and friends. They’ve got you right where they want you.

It’s not just as simple as walking out the door and never looking back. Anyone who thinks that has no idea of the mental damage inflicted to the victim. Yes, anyone in this situation needs to get out. Abuse, in any form, is wrong. It needs to be stopped. The lasting effects linger for years after a person’s escape. A simple noise could trigger a memory. Our minds are a powerful thing. Certain scents still bring back memories of my childhood, in a good way. On the flip side, I try my best to avoid anything that makes my bad memories surface. Certain foods, places, etc. I avoid but I, too, suffered under the yoke of mental abuse.

I am a giving person. I didn’t deserve to feel less than that. More importantly, I deserved to be treated with the dignity every human should have. Being an introvert and living on my own has helped somewhat. That I don’t crave social interaction, oddly enough, makes my healing easier. I don’t have the pressure of being something I’m not and more importantly, my friends and family notice how much happier I am. This didn’t happen in a few months. It’s been a much longer journey.

This is what the victims of abuse deal with. Opinions of what we should do fall on deaf ears. Only when we figure it out for ourselves can we take that freeing step out the door to a full run. Once out, don’t ever look back. Regret has no place in your life. Self respect does.

I leave you with this video, since the NFL seems to have increasing instances of abuse allegations and cold hard facts of it happening.


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4 responses

      • Fear is a huge wall for a victim of abuse. Guilt that you are the one who caused the abuser to abuse you are the bricks in that wall. Having a very strong support group is a must when deciding to flee the situation for good. It may take some time to have a new normal again but it will come. 20+yrs with a toxic person is more then a life sentence and I for one and done with life sentences. The kids are safe and happy and the only thing I regret was not listening to friends and family sooner. Thank you for posting this. I hope all those people out there that are on the fence about taking their life back see this and leave their abusers.

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