It's National Domestic Violence Awareness month.
When you hear the word “domestic violence”,what does it bring to mind? When I used to hear those words, I imagined a relationship like the ones
portrayed in movies such as “Sleeping With The Enemy” or “Safe Haven”.
Men who blatantly terrorized their women to make them do what they
wanted them to and who punched, kicked, and choked the women the said
they loved into submission. Domestic Violence was something that was physical. It resulted in bruises, stitches, and broken bones.
I want to talk about how a good majority of domestic violence shows its
ugly face outside of Hollywood. It's more covert, and the marks it
leaves aren't as visible. It doesn't even have to get to a physical
point EVER for it to be abusive.
The definition of domestic violence from the US Department of Justice's website is: “...a
pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one
partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate
partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional,economic,
or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another
person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate,
humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt,
injure, or wound someone.”
My first marriage involved all of the various types of abuse, yet I
didn't think I had it “that bad”. Maybe it was because I had seen a lot
of unhealthy relationships growing up and I normalized it. Maybe it was
because it wasn't always bad, so I kept hanging in there for the good
times to come back. He excused his behavior—and I rationalized it—as a
result of his past relationships, his upbringing, too much stress, not
enough help from me. I was too emotional and too sensitive.
It wasn't what I seen in the movies. I was not ready to fake my
death to escape him, nor did I think I had to. I didn't want or think I
had to go into hiding to keep him away from me. As far as I seen it, he
had all the power in another way...I wanted it to work more than he did.
When I would lose hope and get fed up with the treatment I was
receiving and would express that maybe this wasn't working, I was pulled
back in and suddenly he wanted it as much as I did and would do
anything—EVERYTHING--to save the one thing that mattered more to him
than the world.
~ By a fellow domestic violence survivor