This whole debacle with Rihanna and Chris Brown has brought at least one good thing to the public and that is a frank discussion about domestic violence. I have never had to endure domestic violence myself, but I’ve seen it up close and personal and several people who are very close to me have been victims and perpetrators of domestic violence at various times in their lives. It’s a really scary thing. It’s like witnessing the most base, primal aspect of someone’s being. No filter. No boundaries. No respect. That’s on both sides.
A while ago, I had a conversation with a friend who was telling me about some other woman whose boyfriend was beating her. This friend who I’ll call Tiffany, talked on and on about how stupid women are who stay with physically abusive men. Having known many women who have endured domestic violence and stayed with the abuser, I wouldn’t classify them as “stupid,” but I knew what she was saying. The weird thing though was that Tiffany had been in a string of very volatile, emotionally draining, extremely unhealthy relationships. In fact, she was still in one when we had that conversation.
She had been with guys who blatantly cheated, who put her and her kids at risk with their criminal activity, who didn’t take care of their own children, who were irrationally jealous, who demeaned her verbally, who treated her like a sex object/maid, the list goes on and on. I was thinking all of that in my head as she was talking and what I ended up saying was “Well, there are lots of women who deal with guys who don’t do right. What makes that any different than a guy who physically abuses someone? Why are the women who get their asses kicked dumber?” She said, “You can’t walk around with a black eye like everything is cool.”
Sooooo, women who get physically abused are dumb only because people can see their scars? That’s really sad. Words can’t break your bones, but they sure can hurt and cause real damage. Emotional/psychological abuse is just as serious as physical abuse and maybe even more dangerous because it’s harder to spot and sticks around a lot longer than a black eye or a busted lip.
Abuse is abuse is abuse and nobody deserves to get punched, slapped, kicked, pushed, yelled at, lied to, humiliated or demeaned. A man doing such things does NOT mean that he cares, it means he wants to control you the same way he controls other things he owns like his tv or his car or his telephone. When he bangs the tv to make it work, does it mean he really loves it? I mean, he wouldn’t go through the trouble of hitting it unless he really cared about it and loved it, right? Or is it just that the television is his possession and he feels like he can do whatever he wants to it to make it perform how he wants it to perform?
Same thing with emotional/psychological abuse. Anyone who makes a point to make you feel like shit is not someone you should be with. Period. You are worth having someone who respects you and treats you well and that starts with respecting yourself and treating yourself well.
This topic was just on my heart today because I see a few people in my life who are going through this right now and maybe some of you are too.
If you need help getting out of an unhealthy relationship, you have some options. You can try going at it solo or with the help of friends and family. Let someone you trust know what’s going on with you and help you devise a plan to get out of that relationship. You can also enlist professional help. Nothing to be embarrassed about. Everyone needs help sometime. Call the National Domestic Violence Help Line at 1-800-799-7233 or visit the website by clicking here.
I love you! You should love you too!