Looking back on things is hard, especially when you’ve started to heal. You can see those choices that were made in haste and through unhealthy thought processes glaring at you like red flashing becons. They seem to say: “HELLO, THIS WAS A HORRIBLE LIFE DECISION. REMEBER THIS FOREVER.” Today is one of those days for me.
A simple phone call changed the course of my life. I had the opportunity to ignore it, but I chose not to. I chose instead to answer it and wander my way back into the manipulative clutches of my abuser. I really hadn’t even paid much attention to the date itself until I found my old paper journal. Yes, in the days before blogging I kept a pile of paper journals. Lol. I kind of wish I hadn’t found it.
If I hadn’t found it I would have just had a window of the entire month to reflect on, but now zeroing in on a single day has made my regret over 9000x stronger. Looking back at young me, still full of life and innocence rearing to take on the world and how completely oblivious I was makes me laugh/cry. But you know, that’s how it works. That’s the cycle of abuse, and why so many people in outwardly abusive relationships (not specifically romantic, any relationship between two people) don’t just leave.
It’s a learning process. Something you have to grow into, especially in a society that doesn’t always recognize abuse for what it is. Sure it’s obvious if your partner beats you, that’s abuse. Everyone can see that as abusive, but what often gets lost in the cracks is the emotional, and sexual abuse. Those two facets of any relationship are fairly private. Not something that people discuss or others can immediately see unless they know what they’re looking for. All forms of abuse are destructive, but it’s the hidden abuse that seems to be the most dangerous.
While we are slowly turning a corner as far as empowering victims and general awareness society as a whole still turns a relatively blind eye to the abuses one can’t immediately see. Many people would step in if a man was physically beating his female partner on the street, but if he was emotionally barrading her no one would give it a second thought. Much the same as the first scenario, if a woman was being sexually assaulted on a street corner many people would step in to help, but if a woman is trapped in her own home being made to perform sexual activities against her will rarely does anyone feel the need to take a stand.
It can’t be a two way street. The results of abuse are the same, no matter what the circumstances are. The only way it’s ever going to change is if we as victims start talking about it. We are not just some statistical jargon filed away in a research lab, we are humanity.