TW: domestic violence, sexual assault, suicide
When you fall in love with someone, it’s very easy to look past all the red flags. You might be so smitten with a person that the warning signs might look you straight in the eye, but you wouldn’t even see it. Domestic abusers do this on purpose by luring you in with chivalry, gifts, sex, security, and more. They make you feel safe with them. But in reality, they hide the fact that they have this dark side. They wait until all your walls have come down before they start showing their true selves.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. So it’s anything but rare. And yet, this subject does not seem to be mentioned enough. So many people learn to ignore their feelings while in the midst of domestic violence. They will feel lonely when in reality they are anything but alone.
I am here to show you today that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. So many people go through this on a daily basis and say nothing. Their abusers wield so much power over them that they are afraid to say anything. But most people don’t know how many resources exist for people who find themselves in this kind of situation. Domestic violence affects you in many ways. And each case is different.
Domestic violence doesn’t always have to be beatings, but beatings or other physical trauma are the most common ways you see it. The bruises they hide on the back, arms, legs, face, etc. are all major signs of abuse. Most abusers will isolate their victims in order to keep their crimes hidden, especially if the signs of abuse are obvious. Maybe there are no physical markers to see. This does not mean that the abuser does not become physical. Maybe he pushes them hard to the side, pushes them to the ground, or throws something at their partner. Either way, the abuser uses intimidation to keep you locked up.
Abuse can also be sexual, even in a relationship. The abuser could completely rape his partner. Yes, rape is still rape in a relationship. It may be something simpler. Maybe they force your head between their legs or move your body at their behest. Maybe they are trying to kiss you without your consent. Or maybe you consented to everything, but they forced you to. Which is sexual assault. Any form of coercion they use is still domestic violence.
They might even go so far as to force you to try to get pregnant. Being pregnant, especially within marriage, will often force couples to stay together because of the baby. Even if the abuser pretended to be nice to you before the pregnancy, this could easily change later. Pregnancy can be a very terrifying thing when you’re in an abusive relationship.
In some cases of abuse, they might not even have touched you at all. But they can still intimidate you in other ways. They might take out their anger on objects. Many muggers punch holes in walls or break something valuable to scare you. They might even feel bad later and offer to fix it. But it’s just their way of faking remorse to get you to trust them again. They may do it over and over and over again to keep you coming back. They will never lay their finger on you, but they will smash everything around them. And every broken thing is a constant reminder of what could happen. He could swing that fist at you at any moment, and they’ll use that scare tactic to keep you scared and locked in.
Or maybe nothing is hurt or broken at all. But threats could be used instead. They might say things like, “Don’t test what happens if I get angry. They will use their words to scare you into submission. They will threaten your security to keep you doing what they want. They may never follow through on threats, but it’s still abusive behavior when you threaten to hurt those you say you love.
Sometimes the abuse never even turns to violence. Everything can sometimes be mental and emotional. Words can be just as debilitating as actions. They might physically be the best partner ever, but they still say things that damage your mental health. They might say things like, “Why can’t you ever cook this properly?” Or, “You need to focus on us more than your friends.” Or, “You are the worst partner ever. I wish I had someone else. Words often beat harder than fists.
Mental health is a fragile thing, and when your partner is constantly tearing you apart, you’ll slowly start to believe it. You will slowly feel your self-esteem fading. Then one day you will actually believe them. Your depression will grow and grow, and the abusers will use it to their advantage. They will give the impression that they are the only ones holding you together. They will pretend to be the cure for all your problems. You will believe one day that you are nothing without them.
After all the mental abuse, you will one day become desensitized to it all. You’ll just nod your head whenever they say mentally harmful things to you. When your friends and family ask you how you are doing, you will lie so you don’t have to hear the obvious. Even your therapist won’t know the whole truth. You will continue your daily routine of pretending that everything is perfectly fine.
Sometimes the abuser will turn everything on himself. When you raise red flags or threaten to leave them, they will speak ill of themselves. They will stoop so that you feel bad for suggesting it. Sometimes they will even go so far as to threaten their own lives. They will say again and again that you will be responsible for their death if you leave them. You will be so scared to leave them because you don’t want to kill them. This is how so many victims find themselves tricked into staying. You love them so much, you can’t stand the thought of them being dead.
Worse still, they might even go so far as to start a suicidal act in front of you. They might be about to overdose on pills or they’ll start carving their wrists. And they’ll wait for you to scream and beg them to stop. And then they’ll cry in your arms, and you’ll feel useful again. They will use their poor sanity to keep you useful. You will feel like you are the one curing it. When in reality they only harm you. Eventually you will start to see the patterns. And I hope you see through the lies of them ending their own lives.
I can promise you all that you are not alone. Why? Because I’ve been there too. As I write this, I’m still wearing the black eye my abuser gave me. It took a lot of people to help me realize that I shouldn’t put up with this. It even took me a week before I even went to the police about the abuse. Now my attacker is facing a felony charge for domestic violence.
All I’m trying to say is you don’t have to put up with it. There are ways to escape. And I can guarantee that your friends and family will help you through this. And if you really don’t have anyone, there are so many resources to help victims of domestic violence. And the police are more than happy to put those kinds of people behind bars. You can get help! You can escape! You can protect yourself!
You are worth more than those bastards. They’re not even worth a second look. The moment they don’t treat you right, you should seriously consider showing them the door. Not because you don’t love them, but because you love yourself more. You can love this person with all your heart, but you still have to realize that they don’t love you back. If a person really loved you, they wouldn’t treat you like garbage. Remember that you are worth everything. So act accordingly.