Domestic abuse is no laughing matter. It happens everyday in many homes. Those involved go on daily believing to a certain extent that their ordeal is normal. “Every, kid gets a whipping,” I told myself as a kid often not able to sit comfortably for fear of putting too much pressure on a bruise. Honestly, I didn’t know at the time, the whippings I received was beyond normal.
My mother was a single parent raising two girls and a boy with virtually no help. My father wasn’t around much and when he was, my mother suffered mental, emotional, and sometimes physical abuse at his hands. After their split, her boyfriend wasn’t much help to her. She was doing what she could to raise us the best she could and spare us from the experience of jail, gangs, drugs, and welfare. Does that excuse the marks she left no me? Not by any means! However, I later learned that my mother was no aware of the damage that she was doing when she actually thought that her actions were meant to help her own situation. I do understand that what she did was never meant to cause more damage to an already troubled situation. And in my opinion that is where forgiveness kicks in.
The problem with domestic abuse is that victims often find themselves in a cycle of abuse without even knowing it. They often go from one abusive relationship to another until they wake up one day and ask, “How do I keep ending up in this situation?” or “Why do I attract these people in my life?”
I can count the number of relationships that I’ve been in on one hand that I didn’t have to deal with domestic abuse. For so much of my life, I was a people pleaser. If those that I loved was not happy, I wasn’t happy until I did all that I could to make them happy. The bad part about that was that it made me a push over of sorts which made it easy for many of my ex-girlfriends to take advantage of the situation and leaving me dejected and abused.
I didn’t realize the damage that was done to me until after my marriage ended in divorce in 2008. A female co-worker reached out to grab a piece of lent from my shoulder and I flinched. She let it slide for a second before she addressed it. I didn’t notice the flinch and was surprised that I actually did that. After some spiritual and professional counseling, I learned that my action were a direct reflex to all that I’d been through. So many women had hurt me in one way or another throughout life that the very though of another woman getting close to me left me paralyzed with fear; fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, fear of finding myself in the same or similar situations again. And this is how most victims feel once they get over blaming themselves for the situation.
Here is my plea to the women. If you have a man in your life that appears to be standoffish or distant, don’t be offended by his actions. Reach out to him and ask about his past relationships. Once he knows that there is someone out that really does care about how he feels and what he has been through, he will be more willing to open up about his past and begin the healing process to move past the hurt and pain and towards a brighter future hopefully with you.