Escaping an Abusive Relationship
Gentle Encouragement; Without Blame
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | February 2013 (edited July 3, 2022)
Domestic violence sneaks in and destroys beautiful lives. There is escape; there is support.
I proceed with gentleness because of the sensitivity of this topic—domestic violence.
The emotionally destructive relationship is an epidemic. We are surrounded by violence. These painful relationships quietly pull the unwilling and unknowing participants in through gentle webs of deceit. Often the dangerousness of the relationship is unknown until the victims are deeply enmeshed in the relationship.
The stigma associated with abusive relationships compounds difficulties. Even after the victim recognizes the abuse, they discover that seeking help is difficult. First recognizing the problem, then escaping the danger often is a process that takes years, robbing precious time. The abuse harms psychological health, narrowing deep examinations, strangling growth and inviting deceptive coping mechanisms. Abusive relationships create the fertile ground for dysfunctional thinking.
A victim of a vicious attack, with staples still holding together the gashing wound from a ferocious strike, lashed out at investigative questions, “you are blowing this way out of control.” The mind steps forward, lessens the crime, and excuses a partner's injustice. It's what our mind does.
"Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone; it does not discriminate. Abuse happens within heterosexual relationships and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels."
The cycle of violence (love, anger, violence, sorrow) is an informative pictograph but is incomplete. The cycle focuses on only a fraction of the felt experience, skipping the deep feelings intimately part of each station of the cycle. A victim endures a myriad of powerful emotions, behaviors, unhealthy needs, insecurities, and faulty thinking that play primary roles in this life-destroying-cycle; both partners contribute and pay a significant price.
The courage to break free requires many resources—both internal and external.
Escape is Possible
The good news is that escape is possible. Millions escape the violence and move forward with a better life. They obtain freedom by humbly accepting the reality and courageously reaching for help.
"I saw absolutely no way out and was convinced that he would carry-out these threats if I ever left, so I stayed."
Mekisha Jane Walker
The abuser’s promises, small improvements, and apologizes are often shallow, just another turn in the on-going drama. Hope derived from short-term changes are shattered many times over, leaving the victim feeling ashamed and stupid. Through the goodness of their hearts they nurture the kindness of hope, believing their partner will change.
None are perfect; we all struggle. But no one deserves abuse. There is no excuse. Accept the rottenness of this behavior for what it is—unwarranted, unhealthy, and destructive. Seek guidance, find support, and find peace.
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