Although it is hard for me to hear women justify their reasons for staying with abusive men, I have been there and I understand. There are so many of us out here - we have so much in common. But, it is embarrassing and socially unacceptable to talk about the real issues involved with domestic violence.
We dance around the abuse and call our husbands controlling, jealous or say they are penny pinchers. We accept the fact that they read our mail, listen to our voicemail, go through our personal belongings, check our pagers and caller id's, but we would never have accepted that nosiness from our parents when we were teenagers.
We allow them to scream accusations and obscenities at us and call us horrible, filthy names, with their faces inches from ours, feeling the heat of their anger and rage.
And we lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves it's okay, because they love us, it only happens sometimes, he always says he's sorry, my children need their father, I don't want to be alone, I need the money, I don't want to lose my home, what will my parents think, he's a good provider, the good times are so good, he's so handsome, etc.
But, we would never let our children or a stranger on the street talk to us that way.
Yet, we accept those things from the person closest to us, whatever you want to call them, they are our husbands --- our partners --- the fathers of our children --- our best friends --- lover --- confidant --- trusted friend.
And, when it's over they apologize and we forgive them --- tell them we understand --- make them dinner --- share their beds --- love them. And we promise ourselves that we will be more careful, never say "that" again, never ask that question again, never get that look on our faces again, never confront him again, never spend that much money again. And we walk on eggshells, watching how we talk, dress, act, sit, think, and eat.
And they think it's okay. And when we watch them pretend like nothing ever happened, calling us honey, baby and sweetie a little piece of us dies. A little bit of that beautiful flower our mothers and fathers planted inside us long ago wilts, and over the years the beauty fades, the self esteem goes, the smiles turn to frowns, and our hopes and dreams are a distant memory.
What is it in us that we make the unacceptable become acceptable for them? How can we trick ourselves so successfully into believing that they have our best interests in mind? How can we keep smiling, holding down good jobs, raising kids, while all the while we live a lie on the inside?
How? Because we are strong women. Imagine if we focused that strength on OURSELVES instead of on them.Just imagine...