(ED Note: This article was submitted by Marie Miguel with some valuable insights)
Fighting Back: Lessons from a Survivor
Domestic violence can be a variety of different things such as verbal abuse, intimidation, sexual abuse, mental abuse, economic deprivation, threats of violence, and physical abuse. In the United States, a woman is beaten every 10 seconds. Over 1.3 million women in the United States are victims of domestic abuse every year. One thing that almost anyone who has experienced domestic violence or abuse will tell you is that it is devastating. Having someone you love, that is supposed to love you, hurt you is such a painful experience it is hard to explain in words. Another thing you may be shocked to learn is that the relationship was not always that way. You may think that an abuser is always an abuser from the beginning and that we stay with them because we are stupid or weak. False.
The first thing the abuser does is win you over with their super sweet personality. They shower you with love and never get mad at you for anything. You think you have found the perfect person. Once you are hooked, they usually start by isolating you from your friends and family. It starts out small, and you do not even realize it is happening. One day, you realize you do not have any friends, and you never talk to your family anymore.
Your abuser will make sure you feel as low as you possibly can by drilling it into your head that you are worthless, stupid, powerless, ugly, and that nobody will ever want you. There will be nothing you can do to make your abuser stop once this has started and you will never be able to please him or do anything right according to him.
The physical abuse starts next in most cases. It is a constant cycle of your partner hurting you and then apologizing and saying it will never happen again. Then, there is a short period of calm when everything seems like it will be okay. These periods get shorter and shorter until the cycle starts over. You are constantly tense, walking on eggshells, trying to make sure everything is “perfect” so your partner will not get angry. But, it does not matter. You can do everything perfectly every single day, and he will still find a reason to hit you, kick you, strangle you, etc.
It is Not Your Fault
No matter what your partner or anyone else says, none of it is your fault. You may hear people say that you must like it since you stay with him. They think “Why doesn’t she just leave?” If it were only that simple. First of all, you are brainwashed into thinking nobody wants you, and you have no family or friends because he has pushed them all away. Then, he keeps the money, car keys, etc. so that you are unable to leave financially. Also, you may still be thinking that you can save the relationship if you keep trying. Do not listen to others who say that you should stay and work on things. If you are being abused, you need to find a way to get out. Call the police. Get a protection order to keep him away from you legally. Call a hotline, go to a shelter. If you want to fix the relationship, he has to get help first, and you need to be safe in the meantime. Get out. Get therapy. Every day in the United States, three women are killed by their abuser. Go before it is too late.
(Marie Miguel is an avid internet researcher. She is fueled by her determination to answer the many questions she hasn’t been able to find the answer to anywhere else. When she finds these answers she likes to spread the knowledge to others seeking help. She is always looking for outlets to share her information, therefore she occasionally has her content published on different websites and blogs. Even though she doesn’t run one for herself she loves contributing to others.)