It’s hard to know what to write, how things will be perceived or even if in a few months/years from now when I look back to read what I have written if I will be disgusted over what my life has or has not produced, joyful over the memories I have preserved or frustrated with the honesty/openness/ or transparency I try to show. I don’t know, but I do know that when I go weeks or months without writing I feel like something is missing, that a sense of processing, healing, growing and hopefully encouraging others in some way…just isn’t there. This is a hard one to write…I am not an expert, others have had it way worse than I….I don’t have any insights other than my own personal ones into this matter…so they are skewed a little bit. They are skewed to my mind and how I perceive things….that being said I will try to be as open and honest as I can.
One of the hardest things about emotional/mental/ or psychological abuse is how to handle it…how to explain it isn’t in your head, that it isn’t made up, and it isn’t embellished…that it isn’t a lie. The other thing about it is to those around you it kinda comes out of left field when you start the healing process…the sharing process. The thing is, when you are living in it, you want to protect those closest to you. It isn’t like its something so obvious as getting beaten, pushed down the stairs, or any other form of physical abuse. It comes in subtly…it comes like a thief in the night. The comments start harmless at first, so harmless even though they might offend…they get brushed off and you tell yourself to grow some thick skin. You convince yourself that there are already too many pansies and people that get offended by every little thing so “its no big deal and that you can toughen up a little.” It grows from there…instead of complaints of laundry being folded wrong or dishes not being put away….it goes to attacks on things you love, then from there its the people you love….people you thought the other person loved too, then it goes to attacks on behavior of you and finally it gets to the point where you are told ‘you are worthless’ or ‘you should have never been born’ or even…’how stupid can you be’, ‘you are a filthy’, and so, so, so much more. Those are just the words…the silence treatment is a whole different ball game. The thing is when you are going through it you don’t want to tell the people you love about it…for one thing you have been told so many times that ‘you are crazy’ that you actually start believing it and only a ‘crazy’ person would actually tell people about it. You also don’t want to poison those you love against your significant other because in some backwards way you still love them, you still think that ‘well, maybe I provoked it”, “maybe there was too much alcohol involved”, “they really didn’t mean what they said” or “they are just having a bad day”. You excuse the behavior yourself and you use those you love as your crutch, as your excuse for still accepting being treated the way you are because if you told those closest to you….they would want you out of that situation, they might actually stand up for you, they might actually support you and then YOU will have to make a decision. The other part is you don’t want to poison those closest to you because you know you will be doing life still with the ‘offender’ because of possible children involved and you don’t want those you love to be filled with hate, to be filled with images of frustration and disgust. It’s a slippery slope. One that when you decide to take a stand it isn’t understood, and it isn’t often accepted. Bruises you can see….what happen mentally and in ones heart you can’t so it doesn’t seem real…the struggles you might be having by taking a stand, the fear, the tears after text messages, the shaking because you just can’t breathe through it….it all seem like dramatics to those that haven’t lived it, to those that haven’t seen it or experienced it. Then there is the very real realization that you yourself HAVE made mistakes, that you HAVE hurt and betrayed the other person as well. After I left last year in December I entered into an emotional affair via texting. It wasn’t right, it was a betrayal of our marriage vows, it was a betrayal to the love I had for my husband at that time, it was inappropriate and wrong. When he found out he was understandably angry and hurt. I was ashamed and hurt for him, I literally hated myself and couldn’t believe what I did…even though it was all via text words hurt and I am someone who knew just how much words hurt. He asked me to tell his parents, his siblings and my parents…he said that there would be a base to work with if I did that and then…after I did what he requested he went and filed for divorce on our anniversary. He was able to say how ‘filthy’ I was, how “disgusting” I was and how I ruined our marriage…in part he was right, I was so emotionally beat down at that point that I couldn’t see completely how backwards things were for us.
I truly don’t say these things for anyone to hate, for anyone to wish ill-will against the person who caused my emotional/mental/ or psychological abuse. I say it because it isn’t understood. And now…even now…when things are said I still try to protect and when I am told I don’t need to protect but then the truth is called a lie, or embellished….it hurts…it needs to be talked about. I do believe people take offense over the slightest thing, that there are too many people crying out for attention over words that were taken out of context and that people get offended over things that aren’t meant offensively. However I am not talking about the occasional unkind word or typical marital disagreements….I am talking about a daily struggle to know, to process, to prepare of what might be said or what might be done if I did or did not do something. I am talking about attacks made on extended family that were vile and meant to hurt.
In the church, in the Christian faith we need to start recognizing and supporting those who have been through this. Who have experienced or are experiencing hurt like this. I think its hard no matter if you are rooted in the bible or not…but when your faith is what you hope defines you…it is even harder to take a stand against something like this. Everyone is redeemable in Christ. Everyone is a sinner and everyone deserves grace and forgiveness. When that is part of your own make-up…you don’t want people to hate, you don’t want to skew their image of a person, and you don’t want them to struggle like you struggle on a daily basis of being kind and not reactionary. You don’t know how to stand up and say…”this is/was wrong but I can’t tell you about it because you don’t need to know everything.” Because when you say that, when you don’t say everything and then you start you know you have to deal with people not believing you. You have to be strong enough to handle people telling you that you are lying, that you are trying to destroy an image…you have to deal with people looking at you with pity (which lets face it, no one wants), you have to deal with people hanging up on you and telling you that you don’t need to protect them but when you tell them the truth they can’t handle that either. As Christians, as women, we need to support, we need to pray alongside the other person and we need to build them up.