Leaving abuse isn’t easy. The process may be simple, but the action is definitely not.
Each of us hits a breaking point…well, some never do and they stay forever. I hope younger women see options that are available: Shelters, support, counseling was not always there for abused women. A lot of the services available today were not in place twenty, thirty, forty years ago. So, bringing the topic of abuse out in the open in recent years is opening channels of support.
For some reason, the story popped into my mind about the young woman who was kidnapped and kept in a tent in her captor/abuser’s back yard. She was taken to the store now and then, as I recall. The captor’s wife, who lived in the house with the guy, knew the young woman was living in the tent. A neighbor called the police a time or two because “something was going on over there” but the captor/abuser was apparently sly and cunning enough to convince the police nothing was amiss.
Oh my gosh!
Think about that from the perspective of why it’s so difficult to leave abusive situations. How skillfully controlled did that man have to be!? He kept a woman in a tent for years; it seems like she eventually had at least one child. His wife knew but didn’t report the kidnapping or the abuse (of herself or the other woman!). Police were on the scene but were side-tracked, connived, convinced by a sick-o that things in the house were normal.
The neighbor stopped reporting that there was something going on over there
The wife had police in her home and didn’t seize the moment to turn in her husband.
The young girl living in the tent didn’t ever scream when she heard voices of others besides her abuser.
Everyone was scared to death.
They knew what the abuse was like…my assumption is, they knew he would carry through with his threats to kill them if he were ever reported, discovered, arrested.
And, the man pulled this all off for years and years.
Now think about a woman, married to an abusive man for ten, twenty, fifty years. She believes the threats, too. And, as strange as it sounds to anyone not having ever experiences the dynamic, she also loves her abuser.
He generally isn’t nasty all the time. Sometimes he’s kind and caring, apologetic and remorseful. And, we believe him, we convince ourselves he really means it this time. On some level, we know it’s the same as before. We continue walking on egg shells. The tension builds and then the cycle rolls around, one more time.
Finally, something becomes The Last Straw. Finally, we choose to leave…often we come back (several times).
Without personal growth, without changing ourselves, the cycle will continue. Hold Wayne Dyer’s quote in mind: “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” A simple Truth.