Friday, November 13, 2009

It's Not About You

Abuse is not about you. You did not deserve it or cause it.

If you've been recovering from abuse for any length of time you know this. At least you know it in your head. You've been in the healing process for awhile if you know it deep in your heart.

Unfortunately, society doesn't help you get these truths. People say things like, "You seem like a nice person, so what did you do to get him so upset?" or "You're pretty and smart, it is hard to understand why he did that!" As if women who aren't as sweet, pretty or smart deserve to be abused physically, sexually, or emotionally. And, as if men or children would never abused by women.

Once I was in a restaurant on Christmas Eve. A dishevled woman came in and frantically fumbled with the pay phone on the wall (this was prior to cell phones). She started putting coins in and then frantically called out, "Does anyone have a dime? I've got to make this call! My husband's going to kill me!"

She had everyone's attention. No one was eating or talking anymore.

I searched my purse and then nudged my husband.

He made no move.

I hissed, "I know you've got change. Please, give it to her." I had to nudge him again, then my husband who was big boned and a full 8 inches taller than most men got up and gave her change.

Just as he was returning to our table, a man came in and grabbed the woman by her hair and slammed her head against the wall, saying, "Enough, B-----. You're coming home where you belong." He looked at my husband in challenge.

It shocked me that no one else was doing anything. I stood with my cheeks flaming. I was so embarrassed that their were at least ten able-bodied men who were not moving and three other women who weren't responding outwardly.

My husband said, "Hey, man. Take it outside. You shouldn't be doing that here."

As if doing it elsewhere was fine.

In hindsight, I wish I had done more. I wish I had passionately implored that shocked, passive people get up and restrain the man until the police came. I wish I had tried to interfere physically if necessary. I wish I had said something to the woman that would help her battered spirit.

There was so much I did not yet understand about abuse.

Today, I want to urge all abused women to get help. Pray to God and then talk to people. There is hope. There is help. You do not earn or deserve the abuse, no matter what your abuser has told you. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1−800−799−SAFE(7233)) for help from people who can listen and direct you to local help.

Today, I want to urge all those who are recovering from abuse to reject the lies your abuser(s) told you. Reject the false accusations, the name calling, and the devaluing words. Refuse to accept the insidious implications, the condescending looks, and the sarcastic evaluations. Recite to yourself important, true words. You are valuable. You do have a purpose. You are lovable. You are precious to the Creator of the Universe. You did not cause abuse. You did not deserve the torture you survived. If your mind is arguing against such truths, keep persevering in healthy, healing activities--better tomorrows are ahead.


Jan Parrish said...

Yes, it's not their fault. And most people don't know what to do. The general public needs to be educated on this.

Tanya T. Warrington said...

The general public has come a long way, but still needs much more education on abuse issues.

Anonymous said...

This was so well-written. Thanks so much for what you do!

Tanya T. Warrington said...

Thank you for the kind encouragement, Anonymous.

Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft