Content – Domestic Violence

When I saw the extensive dental bruises I was reminded of violence from youth right into my marriage. The photos trouble me.

My Saturday caregiver came today and began to tell me about her domestic violence situation. She didn’t see how in the six months she’s been with this girl that she’s been manipulated, intimidated and financially controlled.

I told her that she can get rid of this person, and she needs to, but she’s the one who needs to change because if she doesn’t she’ll date yet another abuser. That’s how it works. The abused person has to say enough! and make changes so that they aren’t available to be abused by anyone.

If all you know is abuse and uproar then it’s common to be in that type of relationship.

It’s common to believe that our love is so strong and our motives so pure that we can change the person. And maybe I’m not giving enough time or chances for this person to change? That reasoning only kept me in bad relationships. It made me the problem. If I love harder. If I try not to make him angry. If I’m better to him then maybe things will change. I thought those things.

I remember sitting beside my abusive husband when friends told me to leave and come with them. They’d take me in, just leave today. I didn’t. That was the worst mistake ever.

I eventually left him. It’s been 20 yrs since I’ve seen him but I still look over my shoulder. I wonder if he’s angry enough to track me down. If I had gone with those friends I could have changed the course of my life. But I needed to be loved. I needed a family and it didn’t matter that others could see how bad the path was that I was on.

I talked to my CNA and told her about the domestic violence shelter and how she can get assistance without having to move into the shelter. Moving into the shelter seemed like it was taking things too far, she said. That’s making too much of the situation. She feels trapped but I reminded her that she’s not. She has rights, and two feet.

People can talk until they’re blue in the face but unless you make that change our voice is nothing but enabling you to stay. I know that for a fact because I had quite a few people unintentionally enable me.

I think the CNA has more information about her situation than before. She didn’t know what manipulation means or how to recognize intimidation. It doesn’t just mean threatening to hurt her. When the girlfriend punched the TV and said, I’m punching the TV so I don’t punch you, that is intimidation. When she tattooed my CNAs name on her arm after six months of dating, that can be seen as behavior to trap you in the relationship. The girl told my CNA that God put her in her life to teach her patience. Those are words to trap you in the relationship. My CNA had no idea that all these things together equals abuse. But it’s just information unless she acts on it. Wisdom comes when you act on knowledge.

I know the person I am right now. I’m drawn to give assistance to people in need but I’ve learned not an enabler.

I can be very blunt at times. I told her that she has to pay attention to the red flags and flashers. Her girlfriend has a felony for assault on a past girlfriend. You knew that, but still dated her. She has few good job options so she has to stay home and watch someone else’s kids. She can’t be on the lease bc quite a few places don’t allow felons. You still moved her in. She has no money but you still moved her in. Red flags are not decorations. You’re supposed to act on red flags.

It took quite a few years before I started making better decisions, decisions I can be proud of. There are hundreds of millions of people who started off on the wrong foot but make better decisions now.

I know I don’t have to be stuck. I don’t have to fear the person I live with. I don’t need to bend over backwards for someone who chooses not to love me in a safe way.

After what feels like a lifetime of therapy, I still behave in a timid way towards a potential mate. It’s not been that long since CNAs were running over me left and right. It took time to regain my footing and to stop the madness.

Slips and mistakes might happen but there’s no way I’ll ever again live in fear. Never again will anyone abuse or beat me with impunity.

Faith

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