I had hit a bit of writer's block until something hit me, something that has been haunting me for some time now. A dear friend who is in an abusive relationship told me that he felt damaged, that he cannot leave her because he is " damaged merchandise" and no one would want to deal with that. That sounds so eerily familiar.
The main weapon an abuser uses on his victim is the psychological abuse, making a victim loose themselves, making them feel they are nothing if they leave. Abuse takes all your inner strength and shreds it to pieces, it leaves you feeling helpless and more dangerous, alone. Loneliness is exactly what an abuser is after, isolating you from all of those that love you and want you to realize what is happening. So how does isolation exactly occur?
Well there are two simple steps to that:
1. Controls and monitors outside communication
2. Prays on the victim to feel too ashamed to come out and say what is happening
If these are sounding familiar to you, ask yourself this:
- when your family or friends call does s/he tend to linger to be able to evesdrop.
- Do they hurry you off the phone to keep conversations to a minimum
- do they make faces or casue problems because you "revelaed" too much
- do you find yourself saying everything is fine or great even though on the inside you are screaming for help
- do you find yourself feeling chills everytime he or she comes around behind you
- do you find yourself sitting there at night not being able to sleep peacefully next to that person
If any of these sound familiar then you need to think about why you are allowing yourself to continue to feel this way and why this person has so much control over what you are and what you do.
Mind games are exactly what your abuser uses to keep you around, he or she knows that the second you realize that enough is enough and that you can make it without them, they will loose.
So what to do now? If you have not done so, talk to your family, don't feel ashamed or embarrassed if your family cant or wont understand and support you, talk to a friend. Let them know what it going on, you don't have to suffer in silence. Make plans and stick to them, if you are ready to leave, do it. If you have children consult an attorney and request temporary custody based on the abuse but do not leave the children with the abuser. This can be achieved if you have proof, if they have been arrested and charged. This is why I have said over and over again, call the police, get it on record, even if you decide to stay, get it on record. But remember things can get worse by having them arrested, it will enrage your attacker, this is why protection orders are automatically filed after an abusive incident. There are programs out there for victims, housing assistance monetary assistance, psychological help and many other programs so you don't have to feel you have no options. This is exactly what your abuser wants for you to feel you have no options.
Damaged, no you are not damaged, the psychological damage from being in an abusive relationship lasts for a long time, there are highs and lows, good and bad but it will pass. The psychological damage will linger, according to Hidden Hurt (http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/abuse_victims.html,) it is a form of post traumatic stress disorder but can be addressed, sometimes alone but more than likely with professional help, and there is no shame in that. It took a long time for the damage to be instilled and it will take time to heal, you just need to make a decision and stick to your guns. Your abuser wants you to think there is no light at the end of the tunnel, but there is.
I will leave you with some very appropriate words, courtesy of Christina Aguilera's song, "Beautiful".
Every day is so wonderful
And suddenly, it's hard to breath
Now and then, I get insecure
From all the pain, I'm so ashamed
I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring me down Ohh, nooo
So don't you bring me down today
To all your friends, you're delirious
So consumed in all your doom, Ohh
Tryin' hard to fill the emptiness
The piece is gone left the puzzle undone
Is That the way it is?
You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring you down
Oh no, 'cause you are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring you down, Oh no
So don't you bring me down today...
As Always, If something does occur call 911 and seek help. You are not alone. It does not need to be this way. He or she does not have the god given right to place his or her hands on you at any time, you are beautiful and deserve respect and love. Stay safe out there and as always if you need an ear to talk to i am here. Please feel free to email me day or night