Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Strongest Person You Know

I have had the misfortune of knowing a lot of abusive people in my life.  And, because of that, people have asked some of the most ignorant and insensitive questions when I confided in them about my past relationships:  "Do you enjoy drama?"  "Do you like being beaten up?".  Or they would just turn those questions into blunt rude statements.

Let me set the record straight for anyone reading this that has ever wondered or ever been stupid enough to ask a victim of abuse these questions.  NOBODY enjoys being abused.  Nobody.  That includes males, females, gay people, straight people, every race, and children.  Often the victim grew up being abused and that is what is familiar to them.  They were taught that love and tears go hand in hand.  They were taught that they were not worthy of being treated any better.

They want to be loved, they want to escape, they want to not be abused but they don't know how to leave and are often scared to leave due to a variety of circumstances.  And if you can't figure this out on your own, then take a class or get a library card and educate yourself before you go around spouting off ignorance and hurting people that are already hurting.

I left those relationships.  It took me many years...  but the important thing is that I left.  And in a big way. I put so much distance between us that I insured we would never see each other in this lifetime again.  Sure, I wish I could have those years I wasted on him/them back. But sitting around and being angry with myself won't get me anywhere except stuck back in the past, and the past is what I left behind.  It took a while to get over them and it was miles away from easy.  Many days I thought I would die from the heartbreak.  But slowly the pain eased.  Now those people are just a lesson I learned in this wild adventure called my life.

Not everyone is rude when I share with them this part of my life and past.  Many people have told me that I'm the strongest person they've ever known.And my usual reaction is to blush, shake my head, and awkwardly thank them. For so long I thought I was very weak.  I had to be to end up with abusive people, right?  But I've come to realize that I was so very wrong.

The abusers are the weak people in this world.  Their minds, their hearts, and their souls are so weak and so fragile they are like cracked glass.  It takes amazing amounts of strength to endure, walk away from, and succeed after abusers have tried their best to break you down.  I am a fighter with a voice and a strength inside of me that nobody can ever take away.  And that's exactly what you are and what you have as well, dear reader.

For any of you reading this that are in abusive situations or that know people in them...  you are not weak.  Your abuser is weak.  You are strong or you wouldn't be alive and reading this right now. Leaving is a brave and scary thing to do.  I know because I've done it several times.  Forgive yourself and recognize that YOU are the strongest person you know.

Need help or someone to talk to?  Please don't hesitate to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit their site.