Let’s talk about Domestic Violence

I have stated previously that what I have experienced with Keith was not Domestic Violence.

Many have and do consider that a statement of denial. To a certain extent, that would be an accurate assessment. It is difficult to see oneself as a victim when you’ve been in the position of being the one to deal with the difficulties and dysfunctions of life, which I have, and still be standing, walking, talking, breathing and still fighting to be and do better.

It’s a difficult and painful admission to make that someone whose heart, effort, and intent has been to do and be good, someone whom you’ve invested your heart, energy, hopes, and dreams into, is too broken, wounded, and damaged for your love and effort to heal. It’s hard to see and accept that the wounded brokenness you see so clearly in that person, which resonates so deeply inside of your own wounded brokenness, is incapable of seeing and accepting responsibility for his own healing process.

When your identity becomes so very wrapped up in being the strong one who doesn’t give up, who keeps fighting through, who won’t abandon another the way you’ve been abandoned, then each and every time their pain and dysfunction batters against your inner damage and you break down and do the very thing you swore never to do – abandon them – the guilt, the shame, the criticism of your inner self, joins with the other’s voice, compelling you to go back.

When you look around and see doubt, confusion, and condemnation on the faces of the people in your church, your place of employment, your children’s school, and in the community at large, there doesn’t seem to be a safe place to talk honestly about what is happening inside of your life, your relationship, or your head.

Add into the mix the knowledge and experience of social stigma associated with mental health disorders and illnesses, which have been lifelong companions for you and are likely factoring and unidentified in the person you love, whose love you believe in, and it seems like there is no safe choice.

As a society, we blame spouses and domestic partners for how they are treated by their significant others. We criticize, we shame, we blame, we judge, and become emotionally and verbally abusive to the ones who “choose” to stay in these kinds of relationships.

Then, we wonder why others, or we ourselves, stay.

“Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.”

Domestic Violence isn’t necessarily what I thought it was. My perception and experience did not match what everyone was telling me it was. My participation in the continuation and perpetuation of the cycle was not a willful and conscious decision to be a victim and choose a man over my children, although that is what they experienced and perceived.

We have both been drowning people reaching and grasping onto one another in our efforts to keep breathing and keep our heads above water. People who are drowning need trained, educated, healthy, attentive, and aware people who know how to keep themselves and the drowning person safe while getting them from the deep and dangerous waters to the shore.

I’m filled with remorse at the knowledge and understanding that, while I’ve been drowning for the entirety of my children’s lives, I have pulled them in and almost drowned them with me.

I’m finally learning and recognizing some truths so many have judged and deemed I had no excuse for not seeing and knowing previously.

To those persons I would say that a drowning person will not reach out to the circling shark for help.

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5 comments

  1. Reblogged this on Narc Raiders and commented:
    I do not know the author’s entire story; however, today I am cautious to label an offender a narcissist. While I do know and understand the traits, there are many factors and it is said that everyone possesses traits. In the case of a borderline for example, it is said they CAN love and do feel great empathy but there is an inner struggle within them that makes it difficult for them and when they are triggered they can display traits that make it very very hard for someone on the other side of the relationship to handle. While we rally against the ‘stigma’ of mental illness, I am coming to the realization that while the disordered lack empathy, remorse and are unable to love…they are damaged. That is not to say we should stay in a relationship that is harmful, that is not to say we don the ‘unconditional love’ caps and remain in the line of fire…that is to say we might approach healing from a place of understanding these are damaged individuals, it has nothing to do with our worth as human beings, accepting blame or shame. It is my feeling regardless of the situation the author experienced, her blog post demonstrates a certain acceptance of her situation, not an accepting of the abuse, but a realization of the role she also played consciously or not…we understand what some of them do, but I am a believer that ultimately no matter how long a road we travel it still comes down to US. The work, the effort and the healing is about US…

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