One of the sad facts that exist out in the real world is the amount of physical and mental abuse that is happening on a daily basis. And if one has never lived under those circumstances, it is hard to understand how one allows it to take place. What prompted me to go in this direction was a news story that my wife caught this week, where a woman was killed by her ex-husband. He then left and killed himself, with all of this happening while their children were sleeping. although one of the children discovered the mother just before she died. Is it something that they, the children, will ever get over? Probably not. Unfortunately abuse doesn’t end with one generation, but perpetuates itself through the following one, and if not stopped will remain within a family for generations. Statistics do not tell the true stories of the many tragedies that this causes, and with a failing economy it usually increases. In the above incident the abuse had been going on for close to 20 years before she was able to break it, but unfortunately, for only a short time.

As one who was outside this cycle of abuse I had no understanding as to why a person, who was a victim of abuse, just didn’t walk away. After all, it would seem like it would be a simple thing to just leave. But as I learned about it, I found that like in most things that appear to be simple, this problem is far from it. The question then becomes: “How do you know about such things if you yourself was never abused?” And that is a very good question. To put the answer in perspective requires a little history. Back when I was dating my wife I found that in her previous marriage she had been abused, both mentally and physically. When I met her I found, that as time passed and got to know her, that her self-worth was nonexistent, and she had absolutely no confidence in herself or her abilities. This is one of the common threads with abuse. So the above news story hit a little too close to her past.

Abuse usually begins subtly, and slowly escalates, and the abused never knows when it will happen or even the why. And when it does, there’s usually apologies saying that I’m sorry and it won’t happen again, but it always does. Eventually as time passes and the abuse increases the person starts to lose all sense of self-worth, and begins to live through the abuser, looking for approval from that person for any and all things. When they reach this point they cannot live without the abuser, and will actually defend and deny that anything is going on. It reaches a point that even if someone witnesses an incident, that all sorts of excuses will be developed to downplay what was seen. And the abused feel that they must, because if they don’t make it trivial, that it will be worse later, once they are alone with the abuser.

In something that is supposed to be loving, it instead, becomes hell on earth with no way out. Between the threats and the actual abuse, the person is kept off-balance and feels that there is no escape, and unfortunately many times that is the exact truth. While I do not know the circumstances of this murder – suicide, I will say that it has all the classic symptoms of abuse taken to its fullest. This is a shame that affects all of us, especially when we ignore or downplay it ourselves. I have found that this statement to be absolutely true: “Walk a mile in my shoes.” If you’ve never lived the life of an abused, don’t assume that the abused can walk away, just because you feel that you would. Many times, as in this murder – suicide, there are children involved, and the threats to the mother include the possibility of the abuse that she is living through being brought down upon her children – creating a never-ending nightmare for which there is never a chance to wake up and escape.

This is a tangled web, since the abused attempts to hide what is happening. She will deny, defer, lie, and change the subject to lead one away from the truth. The fear is so great, and the confidence so low, that she would rather stay with the abuser, than take a chance and run – knowing in her heart that if she is caught that the punishment for running will be severe. For her, the darkness is complete, and life becomes hell, and each day is a day full of uncertainty and with a great possibility of another beating. She never saw it coming when she entered the relationship, and blames herself for all the failures both imagined and real. After all, it is never his fault that she couldn’t read his mind – after all she was supposed to be able to do that, right?

Published in: on May 26, 2012 at 7:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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