Written By: Wadzanai Mhute—I have always wondered how women who are abused continue to remain in the relationship even defending the abuser at times. Abuse occurs because the one being abused accepts it and at some level believe that they deserve it. They also believe that they can do no better than their current partner and are actually made to believe it because the abuser is just as insecure if not more. The relationship remains because neither wants to let go, they both need each other in order to keep the status quo no matter how misguided.
The abuser has control and power over one person (they probably don’t have control in any other situation except this one) thus they want to mask their insecurity with the abuse. They blame outside forces for their many failures. Even when they are directly responsible for a failure, the “system”, something, somewhere, anything is the cause and not them.
The one being abused is used to being looked down on and being last in everything therefore they feel that they deserve any abuse coming their way and are in effect powerless to defend themselves. Defense is usually half-hearted because they actually welcome the abuse, it gives them an excuse to keep their feelings of persecution, to remain the abused in order to feel sorry for themselves and blame it on the cruel world. Blame is always placed on themselves and their inadequacies. Failure is expected at every corner and is welcomed because it is a familiar feeling.
How do you end this cycle? It's up to the one being abused. The abuser often needs a rude awakening before he changes therefore don’t look to this one to change the dynamics of the relationship after all he is in control, why relinquish it? In most cases the one being abused looks at themselves, decide that they are worth more, or that they don’t deserve this sort of treatment and they break the cycle. This usually takes a great deal of courage because the unfamiliar does not always have a light shining bright and welcoming you, its usually dark and scary. A dark path to the unknown. Learning to trust your instincts and realize that you have to rely on yourself and only you can love you and take care of you despite what anyone says. It’s a long hard road on which you may not want to continue but if you stay it is ultimately rewarding. At the end you find yourself where you had always been, in the light of your authentic self.
The exterior life will always present challenges, one can hardly control that. It is, therefore, up to the individual to concentrate on what they can control—the interior. Most people who have faced the exterior challenges had already defeated them within. You may have heard the expression, “Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves”. In this instance take care of the little issues inside and the big issues outside will take care of themselves.
If you or someone you know is being abused please call: (United States) National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). In other countries please check local listing for the relevant domestic violence numbers.
(Originally Published In MIMI In February 2007, Love Actually)
(Photo Credits: © Piotr Stryjewski / Dreamstime.com) (Model Used Solely For Illustrative Purposes)