Over the years I have witnessed many individuals finding their courage and strength in a place where little was to be found. I have heard stories of violence, oppression and sexual assaults that have wreaked havoc on lives and also that have inspired a rebirth into a stronger stance as a survivor. I believe that many give up and, over time, let their power be dwindled down. And then at some point are awakened. Something comes along that inspires them to make a change. I know that once this happens, the sky’s the limit. With help anyone can break out of the chains that have been binding them, whether metaphysical, emotional or human, a new way can be learned and a new life of worth begun.
In this blog, I’d like to touch base on the dynamics of domestic violence. I hope that through a little insight into the problem, that a spark might ignite a desire to break out of the vicious cycle and steps toward a life worth living can begin.
In the beginning of your relationship, you may have noticed some small concerning things, things that they’d do that were unsettling but dismissed because the passion of the relationship felt so strong. Initially, you may have seen their jealousy towards others that you are close to, even family members. They may have been wanting you to account for all the time that was not spent with them. You may have seen their anger erupt over little things. Little by little your freedoms were been taken away as well as your relationships with others as they slowly isolate you. You are finding it more difficult to spend time with family, with friends – those important relationships that keep us healthy and happy. But when they’ve isolated you, they can control you, which is the key component to domestic violence. Another form of control is through psychological abuse and lowering your self-worth. Once you believe you aren’t worth respect or worth being treated in a loving and caring way, then the abuse can worsen and the two snowball together.
Hard to Leave
And this leads into why it’s hard to leave. When we make these important changes in life, we lean on those closest to us to help, but through the isolation, there’s no one the victim is close to anymore. The psychological abuse has led victims to believe that they don’t deserve a better life and that no one else would take them. Economically, it can be incredibly different to start over, especially if your partner controlled all the finances. Many believe that if they could just love harder they’ll be able to change their partner. A lot of times, the victim has so much empathy and understanding into why their partner acts the way they do, almost to the point of providing an excuse for the violence and psychological abuse.
The First Step
The first step is simply observing. Notice what is happening and not happening in your relationship. Start asking what it is that you love about this person and what is keeping you in the relationship. Begin reaching out. Build a system of support. Save your money and documents in a safe place. Develop a plan. And know, you do not have to go through this alone.
For more information or for help if you find yourself in this situation, contact Breaking Free Services.
Molly Terry, MA Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with Breaking Free Services.