Thursday, April 30, 2009

An "Aha!" moment - but not of the Oprah variety

I think I understand now why some women stay in abusive relationships:  their significant other screws up, begs for forgiveness, promises to change, and things might seem good for awhile, until it happens again, and the cycle repeats itself.  How many of us have said, "I would leave the first time I got hit.  That is a deal-breaker!"?  Likewise, how many of us have said, "I would leave if my husband/wife EVER cheated on me.  That is a deal-breaker!"? 

 I am not trying to compare the pain of being cheated on to the immense trauma of being abused, but I do think there are some parallels.  We all want to believe in the inner-goodness of a person, in his/her ability to change.  We don't want to let go of what we have built together, of the good times we have shared. We worry about how we will support ourselves and/or our children if we leave, and about the long-term affects our decisions will have.  Our self-esteem diminishes.  We wonder if we will ever be able to trust another human being again.  We are in emotional turmoil, and wish the clouds above would part, making way for a message from above, a finger pointing us in the right decision.  We can't believe we are in this situation, having to make decisions that might defy our core principals, like the decision to stay.

No, I am not pretending to understand what it is like to be abused.  But I do understand what it is like to be in a situation that you never dreamed you would be in, and that is where I find myself today. 

So, I am asking you not to judge those who make decisions you think you would never make. And I pray you never look down only to find yourself standing in the shoes of the very people whom you once judged.

And I have still not changed my shoes.  I am standing in them, standing in limbo, looking around carefully, and calculating my next move.     



  1. It's very easy to judge when you think you will never be there. I know I was guilty of it. And now I understand why some people stayed, even when I thought it would be best for them to leave... and I wish that I had maybe been a little more supportive- because now I know how much they really needed someone...

  2. Well said momof4. Hope things are going better for you.