Whether it is physical, emotional, mental, psychological, or financial—abuse is, and always will be unacceptable. Yet, there are many women, and some men, that continue to stay in relationships that are harmful and most often, deadly.
We hear the stories. We see it in the news. We see it in the faces of many victims, and still believe it won't happen to “me”. However, the truth of the matter is, it may happen to you. It may have happened to you already. Or, you may be experiencing abuse right now, and not even realize it.
How? How can someone not realize that they are in an abusive relationship? It's not hard to believe or to understand, especially if there is a history of abuse in the family. Abuse is often repeated through the generations. Repeated so often, that abusive behaviors are seen as normal. Whereas loving and functioning relationships are seen as foreign or bizarre.
Abuse is not just someone physically harming or threatening someone. You will hear some women say that they are not being abused, because their significant other has not put a hand on them. However, they fail to realize that verbal abuse is just, if not, more harmful than the physical abuse.
There are many types of abuse that people do not consider:
Verbal Abuse: Abusive anger: Blowing up at you. Criticizing: Making derogatory comments about your weight and figure. Name-calling: Calling you a liar and a hypocrite. (Bullying is another form of verbal abuse) Threatening: Taunting you about leaving and liking other women. Blaming: faulting you for his/her behavior.
Mental/Psychological/Emotional Abuse:is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that is psychologically harmful . *Mental abuse can include humiliation and degradation, threats against the woman or her children, keeping her short of money and isolating her from friends and family.
Financial Abuse: Withholding finances, or keeping someone financial dependent so as they have no other means or ways to support themselves.
Why would anyone stay in a relationship that is abusive? Each person's reason may vary. Yet, no one has a right to be abused in any form or fashion. For many abuse victims, they were being abused far long before they even entered into an abusive relationship.
If you were to speak to many, not all, but many victims of abuse, you may find that many suffer from low self-esteem; poor self-image; or come from a family that had some form of abuse. There are some that have been so beaten down emotionally/mentally by their abuser that they begin to believe that there is no where for them to go.
A key factor in an abuser's repertoire is to keep their victim fearful. Many victims are scared to leave. They have been beaten down emotionally and physically and made to fear that it would be far worse for them to leave. It is the threat of retaliation that keeps many victims from walking or running away.
It's Not Easy
Walking away, in this instance, is much easier said than often done, depending upon the level of abuse. There are instances when the victims need to reach out to someone and find help to make that move. It is imperative for victims of abuse to have a safety net that is reliable and dependable. A place that is a safe haven, and a hideout, if necessary.
Family members, friends, co-workers should be made aware of what is going on. Often times, families and friends suspect but are not certain unless the victim/s says something. Many abuse victims are cloaked in shame, as well as fear.
There is nothing to be ashamed of. If you are being abused in anyway; please understand it is not your fault. It is never the victims fault. No matter what you been told. No matter how you were raised or taught to believe; you are not at fault for someone abusing you physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically or financially.
No. Walking away is not easy, but it is imperative. It is a matter of life and death. Yours. And if you have children, theirs as well. If you have children; understand that no matter how small they are, they are still affected. Children are sponges, absorbing everything around them.
A childhood friend of mine was recently murdered. They are having her funeral this week. She was in an abusive relationship for eight years off and on. People and family warned her. Now her children are without their mama. Her family and friends grieve a beautiful and gentle spirit.
Walk away. Seek help. Seek the strength and guidance and counsel of others that can aid you in what you need to do before it's too late. Abusive relationships very rarely get better. Many continue to escalate. We cannot change another human being. We can't love enough for two people. You must learn to love yourself enough to want to live. And to love your children, if you are a parent, enough to break the cycle and save their lives as well.
And for those of us who have loved ones in abusive relationships; be loving, understanding and patient. Judging them and badgering them will not work. It only adds to the abusive cycle they are in. Instead, be there: ready, willing, and able to step in at a moments notice. Be the safe haven they need.
1-888-7HELPLINE (For women & men)
1-888-743-5754 (For Men)