“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 22:3).
People often wonder why victims of domestic abuse stay in abusive relationships. The reasons are as many as the stars in the sky. Many of us stayed in relationships longer than others expected and we all had a reason. Despite partners being abusive, drug or alcohol addictions, infidelities or non-committal, we’ve all made decisions to stay longer in relationships for whatever reasons when we knew we deserved better. However, if we ignore the signs, the inevitable is bound to happen. Ultimately, we’ll pay the price.
Let me say this up front so we can clear the air now. Like many others, I understand the cost of ignoring abusive signs. So let’s be clear. You may have all the reasons in the world why you’re staying in an abusive relationship but ask yourself, “Will those reasons make a difference when you start paying the price for ignoring abusive signs”.
When I share my story of domestic abuse, I’ve seen people’s faces go from shock to confusion. They try to comprehend how someone that once loved me, could commit such a heinous act. They’ve even gone so far as to wonder what I did to bring this calamity on myself as if my abuse was my fault. It wasn’t but that’s a reason some people stay in violent relationships. They think it’s their fault this person is violent towards them. Stop! It’s not! THIS IS A SIGN! When you have to blame yourself for another person’s behavior to justify remaining in the relationship, you’re ignoring the signs.
Other people weren’t so insensitive to believe my abusive relationship was my fault. They ask questions like, “Was he drinking before he assaulted me”. My friend, pointing the blame on external sources is another sign you can’t afford to miss. While you’re justifying drugs, alcohol, work pressure, deadlines, and finances are the reason for your abusive relationship, you’re ignoring the signs again!
Often times, the first thought that comes to mind when we think of the word “abuse”, is physical violation. However, abuse is more than black eyes or swollen lips. It’s mental, emotional, sexual, spiritual, financial and so much more. Abuse encompasses anything whereby the perpetrator exercises power and control over someone else. Long before we experience physical abuse, quite often, we feel the blows of emotional and psychological abuse first. At first, it’s always subtle. Little things like blame shifting and false accusation happen first. Then it grows to something more personal and thus more painful like public humiliation or withholding affection.
In other words…
Abuse targets our minds before it targets our bodies.
This is most dangerous thing about abusive relationships. Abuse needs the permission of our minds to exist and continue. It gets this permission by way of our rationalization. The danger is this rationalization is steeped in self-doubt and 2nd guessing. For this reason, so many educated and successful women can’t understand how they allowed themselves to be victims of abusive relationships. As accomplished women, we pride ourselves on our intellect, thought-process, and mental aptitude. However, what we did not factor in is the context of our rationale. Our abusive relationship caused us to think in a vacuum of self-doubt while not realizing it. We 2nd guess ourselves in our abusive relationship while we’ll never 2nd guess a business deal. It’s not that we’re stupid. It’s just our thinking context was infiltrated and we compromised in areas we didn’t realize.
But now I know better and so do you. So I say to you…
“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences”.
My friend, which are you?
Marica Phipps is the Founder/CEO of Battered Not Broken Inc. She is an expert in managing domestic abuse and crisis prevention. Contact her at www.BatteredNotBroken.org.