Transparent

More Transparent

I write a lot about what I went through in the past with my abusive relationship, but I haven’t shared much about the night that I made up my mind to leave for good.  I tend to stay quiet about it because it was the start to some nasty rumors that tore me apart and destroyed some friendships. But tonight I am going to be completely transparent. . .

I had been working as a security guard for a few months, 12-hour shifts that could be quite boring.  I made several new friends while working that job, both male and female.  One such friend was a great listener and during times of high stress I would confide in him my marital problems. We began chatting via Facebook or text message, and it never stemmed beyond friendship. There was never any indication that he wanted more than a friendship, and I never gave that vibe either. I realize some would say a married individual should never confide in someone of the opposite sex, and maybe I was wrong . . . but I didn’t have a relationship to begin with.

I was alone in a miserable marriage, with a man that never wanted to talk, and when he did it was to belittle me or yell at me. I lived for 12 years believing I was the problem, I was unlovable, I was incompetent, I was crazy, I was a terrible mother, and an ungrateful wife. And so I talked about my frustrations with others because he wouldn’t, and didn’t care to listen.*

So, I befriended a young man that I worked with. One night, my husband went into an outrage and began throwing a fit over this friendship. He cornered me in our laundry room and while hovering over me, began accusing me of cheating on him and wouldn’t listen to reason. It was in that moment that it dawned on me, I had done nothing to deserve the way he treated me! I was the one who had been truly faithful for twelve years while he lied about going to parties, doing drugs, and spending nights with “friends.” I had endured all of his name-calling, yelling, and fits over the years. I was the one that took him back after his family decided to hold a drug intervention for him. I was the one that took care of everything. Why was I letting him get away with being angry when it should have been the other way around? When I couldn’t answer that question, I decided that it was enough. I would no longer let him dictate my every move, or decide who I could befriend, or decide when I could go out with my sister. . . I had enough. And so I left.

Of course rumors spread that I was the reason we were divorcing. I cheated on him, oh how unfortunate and pitiful for him. It ate me alive! I couldn’t stand the fact that people actually believed him. I constantly worried about how everyone viewed me. What everyone thought of me. I hated that anyone thought badly of me and was stressed over it for months. But in the end, those that truly loved me saw the entire situation for what it was. They knew the truth to everything and that was all that mattered.

If you are in an abusive relationship and are contemplating leaving, please know it will be incredibly difficult at first. One of those difficulties is that your partner will try and manipulate family and friends to think that you were the one that cheated, lied, and tore apart the relationship. They will do and say whatever necessary to appear to be the victim. Just remember to keep your head up. You know the truth, and you will be much better off when everything is settled.

~ Christa G.

*In a healthy marriage, you should discuss your problems and concerns with your spouse. It is not healthy to discuss every little issue with friends and family. They will not hold the same respect for the spouse that you will, especially if they feel that person has wronged you. This could, in turn, create a rift in family relationships that could be difficult to undo.

Objects

image

 

She lived in constant fear. Her husband claimed to protect her, to know what was best for her. But she couldn’t ever do anything right. It was so easy to anger him, the way she dressed, walked, and even moved. He could be incited to violent outbursts against her. It was always her fault, he was never accountable. And when she tried to stand up for herself, he minimized her suffering by brushing it aside. She exaggerated; he never hurt her as bad as she claimed.

He blamed her when he had to senselessly beat her into submission. If only she had sat where he told her to sit. He blamed her when he nearly strangled her to death. If only she hadn’t made a snide comment under her breath. He blamed her when he raped her. If only she put out as much as he liked, he wouldn’t have to take it by force. He isolated her from all of her friends and family. He spread nasty rumors about her throughout their entire neighborhood. She was a lying and adulterous slut who didn’t appreciate everything he did for her. He controlled her finances and prevented her from working a good job. She had nowhere to turn. No one in her community trusted her. In their opinions, she had brought this misfortune on herself.

 

We all are painfully familiar with this story, but not in the way you may realize. The abusive spouse in this story is “white privilege” and the victim is the black community. I could even compare this to the way other minorities are treated, but for this post I am going to focus on the black community due to recent events. Obviously, the racial strife which has been tearing apart our country for hundreds of years is the result of small-minded prejudice. But I couldn’t help noticing a correlation when the Black Lives Matter movement was met with an extremely dismissive “All Lives Matter” campaign. I couldn’t get the injustice out of my mind.

It reminded me of how when my abusive boyfriend got aggravated with me one morning and kicked me in the ankle. I flipped out and started yelling at him, telling him how much it hurt. He scoffed at my reaction, insisting he did not kick me and that it didn’t hurt. He mocked me and said incredulously, “So what now? You’re gonna tell your friends and family that your boyfriend abuses you?!” He was minimizing my pain and indignation, twisting it around to make me feel like I was overreacting. I feel like this is exactly what “All Lives Matter” is doing. They are completely dismissing the concerns of an entire race of people! They are ignoring the injustices that have occurred. They are silencing these victims’ voices with their stupidity, screaming back to those overcome with grief and hopelessness, “Oh, you’re hopeless? What about all the other people who have died? What makes you so special? It shouldn’t be all about you!”

We have entire communities living in constant fear of being pulled over for mere traffic violations and having to reach for their wallets. Mothers will now be afraid to let their children hold toy guns in a park. Kids in Jena, Louisiana will be scared to sit under the “whites only” tree for fear of death threats and if they decide to stand up for themselves, the law won’t see it that way. White judges with all white jurors will rule in favor of “white privilege” in order to destroy the lives of black petty criminals.

Yes, this is all very much an issue of racism and prejudice, but also very much a prime example of abuse. In an abusive relationship, the abuser does not view their victim as a human being, but rather as an object. Let that sink in. They do not relate to their “loved one” as another human being. Have you ever wondered how someone who claims they love and care for their partner, could be so cruel at the same time? It’s because they do not love them. The abuser views that person as a representation of what they can do for them. In most cases, that person acts as a “whipping boy” or a “punching bag.” They know that person has nowhere else to go and no one else to turn to and so they can take out their frustrations on them. They get a sort of thrill in dominating them. It’s about authority and power.

So ask yourself, when you hear about people like Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and many others, do you relate to them as a person or as an object? Let me be more specific, do you think of the lives they may have led? Of the children they served food to at school or even at home? Of the person they might have become when they grew up? Or do you think about how they represent something you fear?

Do you fear a cop pulling you over and panicking at the mere mention of how you have a license to carry? Do you fear being beaten to a pulp because you happen to have the bad luck of drawing the attention of a racist cop? I can’t imagine the fears that blacks and any other minority group experiences. But I can imagine the wound, the gaping infectious wound, that our country has caused and seemingly refuses to treat. How can we fix a system that does not relate to these people as fellow human beings but as objects to oppress and dominate? How do we stop cops from panicking and taking it upon themselves to be the judge, jury, and executioner for these people?

I always said that an abuser who does not take responsibility for his own actions will continue to abuse. We need to hold these cops that took it upon themselves to kill these people accountable for their crime. It is not their job to kill. It is their job to bring people to justice. We need to hold racist judges accountable for egregious sentences that ruin the future of young adults whose only crime was to refuse to let an entire student body of white racists intimidate them. We need to not let others dismiss the suffering and mourning of those whose family members have died at the hands of these cops. Do not allow others to dismiss fellow human beings.

I have been guilty of remaining silent in the face of blatant racism, because it was too infuriating to involve myself or I did not wish to alienate myself from those close to me. But from now on, I must speak out against this abuse and so must you.

~Lindsey V.

Brave

girl in thought colored pencil

 

“I’m not courageous, brave, or strong.  It’s not like I was being beaten every day.”

I still have to fight back the urges to constantly justify the terrible way that I was treated for so many years.  Always repeating to myself that yes, I am a survivor, I have overcome obstacles that would have kept me a prisoner in my own home.  There is no form of abuse that is justifiable.  Regardless of the severity, we need to understand that it is an incredible accomplishment to free ourselves from it.

“How could you cry while singing the song at the funeral?! It was your job to maintain composure for the sake of the family and you completely ruined it. I never should have let you take my place, I should have just sung through my hoarse voice.”

“It’s all your fault we’re overdrawn again, I should be in control of  the finances.  You will give me your paychecks from now on.”

“I’m calling in to work again today, I’m going to say that one of the kids is sick and you aren’t able to stay home from work with them.”

“If you don’t like it then just stop reading my text messages because I’m not quitting pain killers.”

“F@%* you then! You do nothing but nag!”

Over and over again, I would repeat to myself, while alone in my misery. . . “It could be worse, at least he doesn’t hit me.”

We ALL have stories.  Varying in degrees on the platform of abusive behaviors, but nonetheless, abuse.  Whether it be that one night when you were in high school and that boy made you think the only way you were attractive or worth anything was if you performed sexual favors for him. Or the girl that constantly put you down and made you feel like you weren’t good enough. Or the guy that beat you senseless because you used a “condescending” tone with him. Or the spouse that made you feel like you were worthless, incapable of success, and crazy. These are all abusive situations that have undoubtedly left an impact on your self-esteem, self-worth, and on your life.  None are to be excused with a “well it could have been worse” attitude.  Never let yourself think that you were in any way deserving of those situations. Never let yourself justify their actions because you don’t think it was severe enough to be considered abusive.  Never tell yourself that it was no big deal.

~Christa G.