If you’ve ever been a victim of domestic violence you know the one thing that goes along with it. SHAME. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, straight or gay, young or old, married or single, child or adult. It knows no boundaries.
This is the beginning of a series I will be doing on the signs that precede violence or even just unhealthy relationships. There are always, always signs! I’m going to start way at the beginning and go off a list Gavin deBecker has in his book The Gift of Fear that I find so helpful and smart.
I’m going to write this from the perspective of a female simply to make it easier to follow. In no way am I saying this doesn’t happen to men….just to be clear. I have met some bat shit crazy women and know they are abusive to the men in their lives, so please understand I just need to make it easier for you to follow 🙂
The consistent thoughts that run through your head are along these lines:
- How could I have been so stupid?
- I don’t want anyone to know.
- What is wrong with me?
- Why do I keep going back?
- How can I keep this a secret so no one will know how stupid I am?
- What am I going to do?
- How am I going to get out of this?
- Do I need a restraining order? Will it work?
Or you lie to yourself to keep the shame gremlins away.
- He’s really not that bad.
- He loves me.
- He can’t live without me.
- I can’t live without him.
- I can’t make it on my own.
- People just don’t understand our relationship.
- I’m not scared of him. I just don’t want to upset him.
- If I look good things will be okay.
- If I just make more money it will be better.
- If I just keep the house cleaner he won’t get so mad.
- If I can just……
If there was ever a topic that makes me sit up and pay attention it is oppression and abuse. It comes in many forms and it is insidious and you’re not alone if you are among the millions on the receiving end. Check out the link below that will blow your mind.
What is so interesting and alarming to me is how soon it starts. This is going on in intimate relationships as young as they start! Kids learn from adults and adults continue the cycle. Both the abused and the abuser often doesn’t understand this isn’t normal if it starts in the home.
But….sometimes it doesn’t start at home. Sometimes this happens to someone who finds domestic violence or abuse of any kind very foreign so often times their immediate response is, “What did I do to cause this?” And then the vicious cycle begins. He convinces her she did, in fact cause it and she believes him…for awhile. THERE IS NOTHING YOU COULD EVER DO THAT WOULD MAKE SOMEONE ABUSE YOU OR EVEN BE MEAN TO YOU! PERIOD. IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE TREATED THAT WAY.
The other day I was talking to a young woman who was lamenting over an ex-boyfriend who cheated on her. She was considering going back to him after he expressed his deep sorrow for what he had done. She asked me what I thought she should do. Of course, me being me, I asked her to describe how the relationship was before this happened.
She went on to describe some very basic facts like what their plans were after college, what each of their families were like, etc. When I asked her to describe how he treated her, how he felt about her hanging out with friends, wearing certain clothes, her plans after college, her career choice, etc there was a consistent theme of her molding herself to be what she thought he wanted based on his comments and actions about her decisions.
What was true for me is true for most people who find themselves in a messed up relationship is this: We just didn’t know the signs. This is a very good list to help you figure out what is going on and if you’re headed for trouble. https://fortheloveofteenagers.com/list-of-abusive-behavior-patterns/
If you get nothing at all form this post other than this….please listen up….
THERE ARE ALWAYS SIGNS!
That is what I will be teaching you in the series to come called Who’s the Predator. What I’d love to do is to show you the signs before a predator gets to you. We live in a world with a lot of scary people, but there are also a lot of great people. The bright side to this is if you can learn to see the signs living in all people who aren’t healthy or safe you will be able to find the ones who are!
I love you all so much! See you in the series!