Dynamics - Domestic Abuse

There is one thing about my job as a reporter - I hear a lot and I see a lot. Sometimes it brings me joy - sometimes I learn about new subjects - and then sometimes the topic hits close to home .There is no way to get around that -

Recently I've been reminded what it is like to be a victim - that woman who has called 911 out of fear there would be no more tomorrows and then once they arrive, worry about the man I loved.

I know what it is like to be in that position - and now I also know what it is like to work with victims and feel so frustrated that they cannot appreciate their own worth as a human who deserves to live without fear.

I tell people the first time I ever had to call 911 because of domestic violence  was in 2006 - and that is the truth.

But, there's another truth - the first time the police ever responded to a call involving my ex husband and I was just after we were engaged. Yes, I should have known then but like what so many others think....I thought it was a one time thing - that he drank too much that night.

We were living together at the time, and he had drank too much one night -before I knew it he wanted to fight - fight with anyone and everyone - mainly his own demons.

He didn't lay a finger on me, but he did overturn furniture and punch a hole in the wall all before he left that night.

I cried myself to sleep - I was only 22 years old and didn't know what had just happened. It was a first, at the time, in our almost 2 year relationship

The next morning I woke up to an empty apartment - and with my tears still flowing.

About an hour later there was a knock on the door - it was the police.

A neighbor had called them because they were worried about me. I didn't know my neighbors - they didn't know me, but they heard the commotion the evening before and could hear me crying that morning.

I can remember the fear in me when I heard it was the police at the door. It was if all my emotions froze in place. I was in shock.

The hands on training I received in my childhood to protect the people I love, kicked in.

Through the door I explained to the officer that I was okay - that we only had an argument.

Looking back, knowing what I know now, I wasn't okay - I was making my way down a path that would one day almost end my life.

He wanted me to open the door - he wanted to see I was okay - and with the chain lock still on I followed his instructions.

I didn't have bruises - there were no scratches nor blood - all appeared to be fine - I knew he couldn't see the destruction my body had been blocking - the debris - the furniture overturned and our things thrown about.

He told me to promise him that I would call if ever there was a time I felt threatened - I made that promise.

After they left  I went to sit down. I can remember the thought - the lesson - I learned.

And that was - don't cry out loud.  People will know.

Here I am now 22 years later -  a lot older....and definitely much wiser.

It's that subtle - that twisted thinking that comes into play when in an abusive relationship.

It happens without the victim even realizing it does...pieces of a puzzle that fall into place, but the picture they create is not pretty - that image doesn't matter - all that matters is that the pieces fit together. It is the only thing, that last thing - a victim living in an abusive relationship has control over...the abuser already controls the victim and their self worth.

Patience - love and understanding. Those are the things victims need to heal and become survivors. They're not going to tell you that - that would mean they're thinking about themselves....true victims don't put themselves first.

They need it from people in their lives..their families and the community around them. One day it will grow ..that seed of self worth - and they will find the strength to be free.

I know it's frustrating for those looking in to have that patience -
I know it's mind boggling to even attempt to understand why someone would protect their abuser.

Just remember - in their mind - they're surviving - doing the best with the tools they were given to work with and for them those puzzle pieces are fitting together ..even though that picture is not nice.

Patience - love and understanding - one day it will sink in - one day they will wake up and have patience for their own self - love for that reflection in the mirror, and the understanding  that they deserve more.

In the mean time - keep letting them know they're worth it and keep reminding them they deserve better. That is the toughest love to practice. 

As for this song - I ran across it for the first time this evening and I am blown away - 
It explains the dynamics - and twist thinking victims have -for many somewhere in their childhood is where it all begins - for me, although it was not my father, it is true - 


Dave Hamilton said…
As a male, I want to apologize that you ever had to be the victim of another man's mistreatment. No one, no matter the circumstance, warrants that type of treatment. I too am a survivor of domestic abuse; both physical and verbal. I grew up with it and have tried to push my resulting emotions aside-- great work!

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