At Chai Latte Diaries, an incredible woman reaches out to ask about the end of her marriage to an abusive man, how to deal with her family who continues asking ‘what did you do to deserve the beatings?’, why she didn’t recognize the abuse sooner, and how to continue (her incredible journey to) healing: First, it is extremely difficult to recognize emotional abuse unless you have already been witness to it. Like me, because I have had to nurse to health several friends who suffered abuse. Unless you’ve lived it, you won’t know what to look for. Now you do, both a blessing and a curse. Please stop blaming yourself.
Second, because we are complicit in victim-blaming and victim-shaming, which is why we avoid at all costs accepting that we are victims. This is a self-hating and self-perpetuating cycle, and you are not alone. The silver lining is that it also means we have the power to change the narrative by refusing to blame and shame. Feminists (men and women) the world over are changing this narrative; become one of them because change begins with you and me and everyone intelligent and merciful enough to understand that victim shaming and blaming is as unsustainable as it is harmful. Please stop blaming yourself.
Third, you don’t see it because you want to believe that the person you chose to love has chosen to love you in equal measure. But abuse is an illustration of the exact opposite, and your brain is forced to suddenly reconcile two exactly opposite realities. Take this into consideration with the other reality that the violence of abusive behaviour is a deliberate choice in action. Meaning, your ex husband looked at you, saw you, and decided – he made an active choice in his brain – that you deserved abuse. Accepting that someone we loved (enough to marry) saw us in such a horrible and terrifying way is an extremely difficult thing to recognize, because recognizing it means finally accepting it and admitting “this man, whom I love so deeply, sees me as someone unworthy of love”. Please stop blaming yourself.
Finally, abusers are master manipulators. ABUSE IS THEIR M.O. They know exactly what to do and how to behave to ensure the highest return on their violent investment. You, being a normal human being, had no chance against a master. So again, for the love of God, please stop blaming yourself.
As to your journalling.(2) (TEAM JOURNALING!), I want you to focus primarily on the following:
(1) Why you deserve to be loved. (In other words, ask yourself: Why DON’T I ‘deserve’ (groooooan) to be smashed around emotionally and physically?
Abuse is intended to break every thing about your self-worth and self-esteem. It is INTENDED to demolish your self-sustainability so that the abused becomes the one person and thing on which you must absolutely rely. Because the other intention of abuse? Control. Unadulterated and unabashed control of one person – the abuser – over another – the abused.
(2) Understanding that seeking love in this world, is a way to experience Him. We are built to seek out and make connections, so please please please – when you are ready, open your heart to another love. A love that understands we do not harm those we love. A love who understands that we do not inflict pain on those we hold dear, but rather we lift, build, protect, respect, nurture and put our arms around our beloveds to remind them that they are exquisite. We love, by expressing mercy.
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