I’ve been under the weather with what started as a simple sinus infection but morphed into the flu for the past few days. I’ve rarely left my bed so please forgive me for the absence.
I have great difficulty in keeping quiet on pressing issues, especially when it comes to the effects that any level of domestic abuse has on a woman. I’ve been blessed in that I have some of the most amazing friends on the planet. Some of them have survived domestic abuse just as I have and outside of the whole tragedy of the abuse itself, some of them remain numb many, many years after they’ve escaped. I was in that position for a long time. I can’t say which is worse, being numb, being angry, or continuing to drown in the pain of it all.
The Pain, The Scars
The pain that a woman suffers while trapped inside an abusive relationship is immeasurable. Domestic abuse can be physical or mental/emotional. The former will leave physical scars; the latter will leave invisible scars. Neither should be considered less deadly than the other. Last year, a very dear friend of mine lost a sister-in-law when she was stabbed to death by her estranged husband. He had planned the attack for months. I almost died in 2009 after suffering a brain hemorrhage that was the result of years of verbal, mental and emotional abuse. More times a day that anyone will ever be able to comprehend, women die from heart attacks, strokes, brain hemorrhages, etc., that are the direct result of domestic abuse.
The pain is indescribable. It is both incredibly sharp and numbing at the same time. It jars you and paralyzes you at the same time. You want to run, but you can’t move.
Belief, Disbelief, and the Numbness
Wondering why any of it is happening to her in the first place is inevitable for any woman suffering in an abusive relationship. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that in the beginning, she is more likely than not to believe that it’s somehow her fault. Maybe if she cleaned the house better; if she dressed better; if she was more this or that — none of it would be happening.
I’m here to tell you that nothing you could or would have done would have stopped that man from displaying his abusive nature. IT IS NOT, WAS NOT AND NEVER WILL BE YOUR FAULT! There are a whole plethora of reasons that men (and some women) become abusive, but not one of them is your fault! All of that lies with and in him. Don’t ever let anyone tell you any different.
The numbness following abuse can be staggering. I experienced it for so many years. To be honest, I didn’t even realize just how numb I was until after the death of one of my closest friends. She passed away on February 16, 2011, and that was one of the last times I “felt” anything for anyone except my son for the next three years. It didn’t matter what happened or who it happened to, I felt very little. I couldn’t. My heart, mind, and emotions had been so battered over the years that there was nothing left. It wasn’t until after I had been divorced for a while that I began to feel life again.
In the Aftermath
My mother used to tell me all the time that if you just keep living, everything would change. During the time I was married, there were more days than not when I couldn’t even imagine when that change would come. I didn’t think it was possible. It had been the same way for so many years, there was no reason to think it would change. Then it happened. Then he told me he wanted the divorce.
Some of the days following that announcement would prove to be harder than some of the actual abuse, but I am thankful nonetheless for the journey. I was built for it. I was built to carry the load. I was built to tell the tale. I was built to live in the aftermath of domestic abuse.
You are, too. Live out loud, my friend. Live on purpose. Feel life. Living in pain, tolerating the numbness, dealing with the pain is no way to live. Enjoying life, basking in it’s bliss is the real business. Allow no one to take that from you.