There is something that I need to tell you. Something that is so important that I can’t not tell you any longer.
Every now and then I am
flattered arrogant enough that I truly believe that someone may actually take my words to heart. That it might change them, even if only in the smallest way. That it might calm a fight within a relationship, marriage, or family. That it might just slow you down and get you through the rough times.
BUT… I am also scared to death that someone might follow my advice. Someone might stay when staying is the last thing that they should do. And worst of all, it will be because of me. Because of my words. Because of what I told them.
Most likely this person will be a shadow on my blog. I will never know that they are there. They read my words silently, taking them in. At times, these are my favorite readers. I am often one of these readers. Sometimes, it can be so hard to comment on a post that touches you so deeply. All the words you think to say sound cheap, immeasurable to the significance that the blog post held for you.
As much as I love comments and likes. I love knowing that I’m not just talking to a wall out here. I love the connection. But, I also understand my shadow readers too. I understand that though they may not say it, I am probably touching them the deepest.
This is what I’m afraid of. Someone will be sitting there on the other side of this computer screen silently reading my words. They will just as silently follow my advice, when my advice is the last thing they should be following.
I will tell you, again and again to NOT leave your marriage. To stop fighting and start understanding. That divorce is the weak mans way out. It’s a cop out. A cheap escape. That if you loved this person enough to marry them, you damn well better love them enough to work through your shit together. To stop doing things that hurt your marriage, and you’d stop hurting while you’re married.
I won’t say all those things in so many words. But, basically, that’s the jist of the message I am sending you. I think too many people forget about the other half of their vows when times are tough. You know, the half that says for worse, for poorer, for sicker, etc. It’s not going to be all fairy tales and white picket fences. Deal with it. Grow up, be realistic, and stick it out with your spouse. Cuz that’s just what you’re supposed to do. Be their rock when their foundation is crumbling. End of story.
But… that’s not the end of the story. There are some people in relationships and marriages that are not healthy. No amount of supporting their partner will help them to change. In fact, supporting them, sticking with them, will probably only cause the situation to become worse. It will breed a trait that the person will be conditioned to believe is okay, and it will continue on forever.
I’m talking about abuse. Physical, mental, emotional, financial, etc. Any form of abuse will ONLY get worse if you stay with the abuser. You need to get out for your own mental health. But, you also need to leave them, for them.
I’m no doctor. I’m not even a mental health professional. But, I’ve seen enough to form my own opinions on the matter. I believe that all forms of abuse are created in a persons childhood. Why? Because most of our bad stuff comes from our childhood. That’s just the way it is. It doesn’t matter if you have the best parents ever, the best childhood ever, your demons most likely were created somewhere during childhood.
I also believe, fully, that people can change. But, I don’t believe that you have the power to change them. People can only change for themselves. The only thing you can do, is create a reason for them to want to change.
If every Friday night your man comes home from the bar. He had a long week. Money is tight. Stress is high. He is two sheets to the wind. He beats you. He beats you unmercifully. You feel humiliated. Ashamed. Unworthy of anything better. When you do feel strong enough to leave, you’re too scared to anyway. Besides, he says he’s sorry. And he is… until next Friday. Of course.
Here is your wake up call. IT IS NEVER GOING TO STOP! It will only get worse. And worse. And worse. One day we will read about your death on the news. And most likely, we will also read about your children’s death. Yeah, the children you were “protecting” by staying.
It is NOT going to get better. He is not going to change. Next Friday will not be any different. Deep down, you know this just as well as I do.
You CAN get out. There are family that, whether you believe it or not, WILL help you. There are phone numbers you can call, places that you can go, people that are there to help you escape. These people will not judge you, they will not look down on you. These people, they WERE you.
Why do I believe so strongly that this abusive individual will never change? Because, you are giving them absolutely no reason to. Why would they need to change? You’re not going anywhere. You are in fact, telling them that their behavior is okay. Warranted. Normal. And, if you continue to “tell” them that it is okay, they will believe it is okay too. And when they believe it is okay, it will become ingrained. It will be that much harder for them to change when/if you ever do give them a reason to want to change.
It doesn’t matter if their daddy beat their mommy when they were little and they know no better. It doesn’t matter if that is all they have ever known. YOU are the one that can show them that it is not normal behavior. That you will NOT allow yourself or your children to be sucked into the cycle of violence.
Need motivation to stand your ground? Look into your daughters eyes. Her innocent, loving eyes. Now picture her being in the exact same relationship that you are in. Picture her hiding her black eyes under large sunglasses. Her bruised arms under long sleeves. Picture her having the same feelings about her self worth that you are having. THAT is your daughters future, if you chose to stay.
Look into your sons eyes. His deep, strong eyes. Now picture him being in the exact same relationship that you are in. His wife doesn’t really love him. She is scared of him. Terrified of what he might do next. Deep down, she hates him. He is slowly destroying her, and their children. And she knows it, but she is too scared to leave him. Picture your son, being that unloved. THAT is your sons future, if you chose to stay.
Abuse is never okay. I don’t care if you married young. I don’t care if you married pregnant. I don’t care if he was an angel until your wedding night. Abuse is the invisible disclaimer on a marriage license. If you are being abused, those vows you took are null and void. End of story.
Also, I think it is an epidemic in our society that we only see men as abusers. This is not true. Women can be just as maliciously destructive to another human being as any man can be. Sometimes, when women are the aggressors to abuse I think it makes it even worse. You can imagine the courage it takes for an abused woman to step up, speak out, and reach for the help she so desperately needs. Now, imagine, being a guy in this situation. Men are “supposed” to be the stronger sex. The macho sex. The manly man. How weak does it sound for a man to ask for help, let alone to ask for help leaving an abusive wife? But, there are wives/girlfriends that are abusive as well. Abuse does not fit into a stereotype. Anyone can be an abuser, and anyone can be a victim of abuse.
But EVERYONE who is being abused needs to seek help. I cannot say it enough. Coming from someone who believes that marriage is the strongest tie you can have to another person. Who believes that you should stand by your spouses side through hell and high water, thick and thin, richer or poorer, better or worse. I believe, just as strongly, that abuse is your get out of jail free card. Your ticket to divorce. Your giant red flashing sign to GET OUT!
Now, do I believe people can change? Can a person who was raised around abuse change the cycle of violence that they were innocently thrown into as children? Once an abuser, always an abuser?
No. I don’t believe that. I believe that they are just as capable of seeking help. But, I don’t believe it is an easy road. I don’t believe it is anything that happens quickly. It is an on going process. A process that they will go through for the rest of their lives. A process, that you can not force them to make. THEY have to WANT to seek help for themselves. You want to help them? Support them? Leave! That is the ONLY way they might ever see that they need to seek help.
Do you want to know why it feels like your family has abandoned you? Because, they’re not blind. They’re not dumb either. They know what is going on in your home behind closed doors. They’ve tried to get you out. You know that they have. But, you would never let them. Sure, you might have in a moment of strength. But then you were right back there with your abuser days later.
What is your family really supposed to do? Watch you go through this? It hurts them too badly. Listen to you cry about how he beat you last night, again? It hurts them too badly. There is nothing they can say anymore. You will not listen. You will not leave. They don’t know how to help you anymore. Because… you didn’t really want their help. Not even God can help you unless you really want His help. Same goes for your abuser. They will not change, if they have no reason to change. Be their reason. Leave them. Let them know that this is not okay behavior.
(Side note: it is a statistically backed up fact that one of abusers most characteristic behaviors is to alienate you from your friends and family. Drink that in with your morning coffee. Your family loves you, they will always love you. They didn’t abandon you, they are still right there praying for you to seek their help. YOU abandoned them.)
Put your foot down and stand up for yourself!
And, if you are one of those women that are actually the abuser and cry victim. You disgust me most of all. Grow the fuck up, quit treating people like shit. Get the help you need. Quit destroying other people and crying like you’ve got it bad.
If you’re a guy that’s with a girl that fits that description, follow all my above advice. Help them help themselves and get the fuck out of that unhealthy mess.
Man or woman. Old or young. Rich or poor. Leaving is the wisest, strongest, healthiest decision you can ever make for yourself, and your abuser. Don’t feel like you are alone. You’re not. There are so many people that want to help you help yourself. They are just waiting for you to say the magic words. “Help me,” usually does the trick.
Disregard everything I have ever and will ever say about sticking by your spouses side. If you are being abused, it doesn’t apply to you. None of the “rules” of marriage apply to you. The rules of survival on the other hand….