“If you don’t talk back all the time, I would not have to hit you in the first place.”
Domestic violence is a sensitive subject to talk about but it is necessary to do so. Hearing about anyone being physically abused in a relationship is heartbreaking. On the other hand, learning that someone you personally know, one you deeply care about, has been in that very same situation is a completely different story.
Recently, a dear friend of mine confessed that she was not happy in her marriage because of her husband’s infidelity and abusive behaviour towards her. I listened to her carefully, although I will admit that I often kept interrupting her since I couldn’t contain my anger with respect to the situation. While there are two problems at play in her marriage; I will leave the discussion on infidelity for another day, and simply focus on the abusive behaviour she has had to deal with.
Despite the fact that my friend did not share every little detail on how she has been abused, I tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together on my own. After hearing all she had to say, I believe she has been mentally and physically abused by her controlling and obsessed husband. I asked her the obvious question, one that everyone else has already asked: “Why not leave?” Her excuse is that she does not want her child to grow up without a father, which is keeping her from leaving her husband. Her excuse for him is simply that “… at least he is taking good care of our son.”
She is in pain and she knows that there is a problem in her life. Unfortunately, I feel like she does not fully acknowledge that her husband’s behaviour is a problem. Therefore, it will be hard for her to take action. I cannot compel her to do what is the best thing for her if she doesn’t realize it herself. I can only help her along the way.
I asked her where does she see herself in 5 years? If the life she envisions is positive or negative? She calmly answered “Negative’’.
I told her that she is beautiful, intelligent and that she is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She was once such a strong independent women who did not need any man’s acceptance to live her life. The conversation moved her; I know that by the expression on her face. However, it felt like she did not believe the compliment or that her life was in danger if she remained with her husband.
I gave her endless possibilities to look into if she were to leave her abuser. She could only reply “I will think about it.” I tried every approach I can think of to make her realize that she is not helping her kid by staying in this situation as she thinks she is. That man has too much power over her. She does not listen to anyone, neither family nor friends.
I asked her what is the real reason for not leaving? Besides bringing up her child, according to her, he will change and that he told her: “If you do not talk back all the time, I would not have to hit you in the first place.” She added that she actually, tried it. When they start a heated argument, she thinks about what he said and stops replying back. She then noticed that he is slowly calming himself down. Her conclusion was that she would be at peace if she does not talk back and follows what he wants.
I explained to her that it is normal to make compromises in a relationship but what she is doing is not the type of compromises you normally make in a relationship. It pains me to say this but I learn that you cannot help those who do not want to help themselves.
We are all in a “not so perfect” relationships wanting to reach a life of ‘happily ever after.’’ I would like to invite you, dear readers, to give me bits of advice on how to better help my friend without frustrating her.
Are you in a similar situation? Do you know someone who is in an abusive relationship or has suffered from domestic violence? Please feel free to drop a comment below. Your comments can benefit others and myself who have found themselves in similar situations.