I have a soft spot in my heart for victims of domestic violence and abuse. I feel as though I can mentally put myself in the shoes of both the victim and slightly the perpetrator as well.
Mostly everyone has those memories of emotionally difficult relationships they have had, and maybe even regrettably had in the past, or maybe you like to call them bad relationships from the past.
The emotionally difficult relationships that I had in the past were difficult because of me. I take full responsibility for staying in a relationship even though I wasn’t happy.
I didn’t love myself and I didn’t like myself and I felt empty inside and needy. So, I looked for relationships to fill that hole and I stayed in relationships desperately hoping that one day that hole would disappear, no matter how unhappy or sad the relationship made me. Looking back, I’m sure I would have been less miserable if I would have remained single instead of relying on someone else with my every breath and thought to fill my empty heart and soul.
I can’t help but believe that domestically abusive relationships must share this same fact in common. The victim probably does not love themselves and does not believe they are worth better. The relationship must also serve some purpose that an outsider can’t see and is not easy for the victim to put in words.
Domestic violence is close to home for me as well. My grandma was a victim of domestic abuse and had a child with that perpetrator who also then abused that child.
My grandma was stronger than she probably even thought at that time and left the perpetrator, but was also left to raise a child on her own.
Later, I watched and experienced as my mom and I were verbally, psychologically, and on a few occasions physically abused by the same man who put a roof over our heads.
My mom stayed and I begged, but my mom stayed. It was so hard for me at that time to understand why she stayed. One day I asked her genuinely, “Why don’t you just divorce him?” She replied, “Because then we would be on welfare and live in an apartment.” I asked, “So?!” All I wanted was to be safe and stress-free and I wanted the same thing for my mom. I wanted us to be free and happy, but this relationship served another purpose for my mom — financial stability. A purpose that weighed more heavily than safety, self-respect, loving oneself, and mental health.
I always thought I would never be like my mom. I thought I would be strong and do the best for me, but in a tiny way I did exactly what she was doing right in front of me.
I got in relationships for one single purpose, for them to love me and fill the hole that was there because I didn’t love myself.
The hole was never filled by a relationship and instead I probably felt worse because I was desperately trying to attain something that was just unattainable through the means which I was trying.
I was emotionally cheated on, ignored, neglected, and once “playfully” slapped across the face, but I always stayed. I might have yelled at them and cried and was miserable, but I stayed.
It wasn’t until I was older and realized I needed to love myself because I couldn’t rely on anyone to be who I wanted them to be or give me what I needed. I didn’t trust anyone, but I realized if anything, I needed to learn to trust myself. If anyone was going to give me what I needed, it had to be me. After all, I was the only one who truly knew what I needed.
I did it. I began loving myself and trusting myself and I said goodbye to looking for relationships. I didn’t need a relationship. Then, to my surprise, a relationship found me and I chose that relationship for the very first time, for all the right reasons: compatibility, friendship, honesty, trust, and respect.
I know that my story cannot be compared to all the other horrific stories of domestic abuse that unfortunately exists, but that is not my purpose. My purpose it to share my story how it is and say that domestic abuse is real and scary and maybe even confusing. Never ask, “Why don’t they just leave?”, because it is much much much more complicated than that. Domestic violence and abuse touches an alarmingly amount of people; but I believe that the passion and understanding I carry for the issue makes me a strong candidate to work with such a sensitive and in-need community. I hope to one day be involved with making a difference in at least 1 persons life who has been affected by domestic abuse.