I have to start by saying thank you to everyone who read my last post. It hurts my heart to see, as a result of it, some people sharing their own stories. But that is part of raising awareness. Abuse is real, it’s out there and it would be wrong of us to turn a blind eye.
Which brings me to today’s post.
There are a lot of people in my life that don’t know about the extent of my abuse. My family is one group of people. That might be surprising to hear, but its true. I’ll try to explain the best I can.
During this time in my life, I did not reach out. It wasn’t because I was afraid that they wouldn’t help me, I knew that they would. It was because I was ashamed. I knew that it wasn’t my fault it was happening to me, but I felt that it was my fault that I let it happen. Does that make sense? In my head, I allowed myself to be treated like this and I did nothing about it. I knew how wrong it was, but I let it continue for as long as it did.
When I talk about it now, much like I did in my last post, I am very matter of fact about it. I can read those words, those details, and not flinch. It happened to me. That was my reality. It is what it is. Sometimes I forget that it can be shocking to read. The reaction it evokes is very powerful. As he told me this morning, after I had stated that I thought I had told him about my abuse, “Told and detailed are two different things.” I had to think hard about that because on some levels, it brought back that shame. The thought that he was angry with me ran through my head for a second but then I thought about it harder and realized that he was right, hearing me say “I was in an abusive marriage” and reading the explicit details I shared really are two different things. Nothing can prepare a person for something like that. When I told my cousin’s for the first time, they wanted to leave right then and there and kick his ass. I actually had to talk them out of it. They were shocked and angry. And they had every right to be.
I have been told very often (more than I wish were so) that people who are in difficult marriages have trouble telling other people, specifically family and close friends. Because I can so closely relate to this, I understand that. I don’t know if there is a specific answer that can help them but I can say this:
If you know someone who might be in a dangerous relationship, or is struggling with their marriage (even if its a rough patch, they happen), I urge you to talk to them. If they haven’t come to you about it, please just let them know that you are here for them, with no judgment. They may have tons of family and friends, but they may also feel so alone with no one to talk to because they feel embarrassed or scared. You might be saving their lives or their sanity, just by offering to listen.
If you are a witness to physical abuse however, as tough as a place that is, you HAVE to report it. They may hate you for it, but in the long run, they will thank you. It can never be said when “that time” might be the last time. Make the call anonymously if you feel you have to but just make the call. PLEASE.