Guest Author - Kitten Kristine Jackson
One of the most common causes of depression is domestic violence. Millions of families are exposed to violence on a daily basis by the hand of someone who says he loves them. Regardless of what anyone says, love doesn't involve violence.
People who have never been involved with an abuser seem to think that women who are in abusive relationships enjoy it on some level, but of course, that is ridiculous. They say, "She must like it, or she would leave." Or "Every time she calls the police, she refuses to press charges, so she must not want to stop it."
How can they not understand that she's afraid to press charges? It's not like he's going to see the error of his ways and change. He has serious issues that he isn't even aware of, not to mention not wanting to or knowing how to cope with. Most abusers feel perfectly justified in their actions, which usually also includes habitual infidelity.
Many times, after a violent episode, the abuser will either feel remorseful, or pretend to be remorseful, just to keep his victim from leaving him. As strange as it seems, the abuser is as dependent upon her as she is upon him. The co-dependency is very strong, and neither knows how to live without the other. The abuser might try to seem as if he's trying to change. Things might even seem nice for a while. This is called the honeymoon period, but it doesn't last for long.
People say, "I don't know why she ever got involved with someone like that." Well, that's simple. She didn't know he was that way until he had her locked in. Either she was in love with him, pregnant, married, or all of the above. Abusers don't go into relationships showing their violent rage. They are usually very charming to begin with, and then gradually begin to show their true colors.
The colors usually begin to show as degrading remarks toward his girlfriend or wife. He might say them seemingly in jest, but they're still cutting remarks that hurt her. Then, he will gradually start insulting her, calling her cruel names, etc. Next may come pushing or shoving, or shaking her.
Some men are careful not to leave any tell-tale marks, so they don't hit the woman in the face. He might hit her on the back of the head, the side of the head, or in the abdomen. He might kick her in the legs, buttocks, or abdomen. Some men even have a tendency toward strangling women.
And there's one very important thing you need to remember. Just because you're not being "beaten up," meaning punched, and beaten until you're black and blue, doesn't mean you aren't being abused. There are emotional, mental, and other types of abuse. They aren't as easy to spot, but if the man you love repeatedly and intentionally hurts you, don't make excuses for him. He knows he's hurting you, and so do you. It's not okay, and it is abuse.
"So why doesn't she just leave?" Abusers are very clever. They usually begin a campaign in the beginning of the relationship to cut her off from her family and friends--to isolate her from her support group. He will usually insist that she quit her job and get pregnant, making her completely dependent upon him, and less likely to leave. He brutally attacks her self-esteem, making her think she's too stupid to make it on her own, or that she could never do any better than being with him. She hears these things enough, and she begins to believe them. And of course, she loves him.
As the abuse continues, what little self-esteem she might've had gradually disappears, and with each blow, she becomes more and more afraid of him. Some abusers threaten to kill her, her children and her family if she leaves, and she believes him. Even if she thought she could make it on her own financially, she's afraid of what he would do to her if she tried to leave, especially when he's drinking and using drugs.
Women who are in relationships involving domestic violence are at the highest level of risk of being murdered when they try to leave, and/or when they are pregnant. With those statistics, it's difficult to convince a woman, especially a pregnant one, to leave her abuser. But it's always better to try.
There are agencies that help battered women escape their abusers, if the families and friends are unable or unwilling to help. It is a dangerous thing to do, but staying with the abuser is even more dangerous. Not to mention, what it's doing to the woman mentally and emotionally, and even more important, what it's doing to the children involved. The adults can make decisions to change their lives, but children are stuck in situations their parents are in.
If not for yourself, think of your children. I know how difficult it is to end a relationship with an abuser. It's extremely difficult, and very painful, but the pay-off is immeasurable. I've been free of abuse for sixteen years now, and it's a wonderful feeling. Don't buy into the idea that the pattern of going from one abuser to the next is carved in stone--it isn't.
It takes making up your mind, getting some therapy, and maybe even going to a shelter to escape that pattern. And you have to believe that you did not deserve the abuse, and that you do deserve to be happy and have good things in your life. You also deserve to have a decent man in your life. No matter what you might've done that you feel bad about, it doesn't mean that you deserve to be abused. No one deserves to be abused.
It's your life, and the lives of your children that are at stake. You don't want them to grow up and be involved in that type of relationship, but if you stay, that's exactly what will happen. If that's what it takes, focus on the futures of your children, or of your own future. Picture yourself laying in a coffin, at the age you are now, with your children crying, looking in at you. I know that's morbid and graphic, but it could be your fate, if you don't make the move.
Call a shelter. Call your local Mental Health Center. Call a crisis line. Call 911. Do whatever it takes to leave that situation. The longer you stay, the more danger you will be in, and the deeper your depression will be. The more depressed you are, the harder it will be to leave, so just make up your mind, pick up your phone, and call someone who can help. It could mean the difference between life and death.