Abusive Worms in a Can
Yeah... so today I'm opening a can of worms. Abusive worms... the type we want to squash under the heels of our kickass boots. I've got a feeling that I'm going to have to turn this into a series of posts though because there is so much to talk about.
So abuse... so many forms, so many victims, so many perpetrators. We could argue for hours about which form is the toughest to heal but the fact is that when you are on the receiving end, you don't care where that particular form falls on the Richter Scale of shaking your world to its core. You're stuck in it and it's hell to get out. And when you do get out, you feel lost and hopeless and you want to go back. It's called Stockholme Syndrome, sweetheart and it's okay to feel that way.
I've got to be honest, I'm not even sure where to start with this, so let's pretend I'm back in the corporate world and at least attempt to be logical.
To my mind, abuse takes one of four forms - physical (including sexual), emotional (including financial), verbal and spiritual. You could experience a combination of these with one person. I'd like to address them one by one, post by post.
So let's start with the most obvious... physical abuse.
And of course we'll start with a story... cause stories are fun, aren't they? Maybe not so much.
I was a strong, successful woman. I'd dealt with crap. I'd weathered divorce, death, financial ruin, childbirth. I was a high flyer who had risen to the top of her field. I was tough, goddammit! Hell, I was a witch who'd even done a bit of kickboxing. I was all those things until the night I found myself pushed to my knees, a strong hand holding my hair beating my face into a very hard floor. Gods! I needed to get my carpets cleaned! It let up a bit when I shouted that I'd called my son and he was on his way. Only a bit though... as I curled up on the floor, I received a number of well aimed kicks and then a whole lot of spit in my face.
Long story short, son arrived, son escorted boyfriend out and took me to spend the night with him. And yes, I took the abuser back.
So let me answer the obvious questions... Yes, I hit him back. No, it didn't help. All it did was escalate things. No, I wasn't strong enough to do real damage. Yes, the abuse continued. No, it wasn't as bad as that first time. Yes, I'm still with this man. Yes, he is sorting out his issues and hasn't lifted a finger to me in a long time. He's working with a coach to deal with his anger issues and the particular demons that plague him.
Stockholme Syndrome? Possibly. The point is that we deal with these things in the ways that we are led to. There is no right or wrong and I've learned the hard way not to judge people in this position.
I realised that the worst part of abuse is the self blame... the abuse we heap on ourselves for not being strong enough, defensive enough, streetwise enough. For not seeing the signs. For not getting out immediately. We begin to believe we deserve the crap. We begin to believe that our lives are the abuse.
It's hard to break that cycle. It's easier to be a victim and allow the circumstances or person to control us. The real strength involved is not in defending ourselves or leaving the situation, it's in healing ourselves. It's in learning to love ourselves again.
This is already getting too long and it's something that needs addressing. My next posts will pick up on emotional, verbal and spiritual abuse but I want to leave you with this.
In the rawness of escape from an abusive situation, the most important thing you can do is take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to cry, to be angry, to hurt, to feel. Allow yourself to heal and realise it won't happen overnight. Love the beautiful spark that you feel you lost because I promise you, it's still there... even if you don't feel it. Loving yourself is the only way you will become whole again and that love is a conscious decision.