One of the main reasons I hate to talk about domestic abuse to people is that I will get the comment “You chose to date an abusive person” or “why did you choose to be with someone who was abusive?” or “You must have known that they were likely to become abusive ”
No. I did not know he would be abusive. He was not angry and mean when we were first dating. There were no red flags that I was able to identify. (Maybe there were red flags but I did not recognize them.)
The comment I hate the very most is “You called the situation to yourself. You did something that attracted that kind of person to you.”
Why would I do something like that? Why does there have to be something about me that “attracted ” them to me? That is the same thing as saying that I deserved the abuse. It is offensive and counterproductive to recovery from the trauma of domestic abuse.
People are are abusive look like everyone else. They usually appear to be a nice person. They very often appear to the friends and relatives of the victim to be a nice person.
When the victim mentions anything wrong with the relationship, their own friends often think they are overreacting or misconstruing things. It is hard to believe that this person could be angry and violent. They do not appear that way in general.
The victim of domestic abuse is conditioned by the abuser to feel like they deserve to be punished. They are verbally shamed and criticised so often that they feel undeserving of being treated well. Their self esteem has been crushed into tiny bits.
The victim stays in the abusive relationship because they do not have the self esteem required to leave. There are also financial entanglements that make it difficult to figure out how to leave.
In addition there are other mental health problems with the victim from the abuse that keep them stuck. They become fearful and have severe anxiety and usually fall into depression.
No one deserves to be abused simply because they do not break up with the abuser. It is more difficult to get out than people can picture. If someone has not been in that situation, they cannot really know how difficult it is.
There is a tremendous threat looming over their heads all the time. They are afraid to anger the abuser because there will be punishment and retaliation. If the person leaves, the abuser will possibly come after them to find them and bring them back or get revenge.
Escaping is just that. Escape. In order to plan an escape , there needs to be an ability to think clearly and make a plan and back up plans. This is very hard to do when your self esteem has been destroyed and you feel worthless.
The best thing is to get others to assist you. But even that is hard because it requires the clarity of mind and confidence to ask for help. It also requires the ability to trust oneself and to trust others. Trust is a difficult quality to access.
The victim trusted their partner not to abuse them. They loved someone who betrayed them in the worst possible way. It is very hard to trust anyone else, ever again.
As far as trusting oneself, it is difficult to. How can i trust myself , when I had such bad judgement to choose this person as a partner? How can I choose someone to help me now? How do I know I will not make the wrong choices?
These are just some of the issues the victim of abuse goes through. It is not their fault that they ended up in an abusive relationship. And they did not “choose” to be abused or to continue to be abused.
There is always hope, on the part of the victim, that the partner will love them again and stop being abusive, They want things to be good again, The abuser has made them feel like the incidents of anger and violence were their fault. So they feel that if they could just “be good enough” then the partner would love them again.
People that have not had their brains twisted around like this. do not understand how powerful the mental abuse is. There is no physical abuse without severe mental abuse.
It is like being a prisoner of your own twisted brain as well as the unspeakable fear of consequences.
This is why I do not speak to people about my past with domestic abuse. I very rarely tell anyone I know about it.
I could go a year without telling anyone, Then the first person I tell says “We are responsible for putting ourselves in these situations. Something about you must have allowed it to happen.”
Victims of abuse cannot heal, if people are going to tell them that it was their fault and that they must have chosen it. More awareness is needed about the cycle of mental abuse.