Whether it’s a job, a relationship or just a particular place in life, in order for us to move, the fear of been trapped has to be greater than the fear of change. Like most things, understanding something you’ve never been exposed to, or experience is difficult.The white man cannot truly understand the intensity of what the black-man feels to be called a Negro, a straight guy cannot understand what a gay man feels to be called a faggot and the beauty queen does know what ugly betty feels. So when they ask, why do you stay? it’s a genuine question without judgement, requiring a genuine answer.
The paradox of the familiar ground keeps us safe but also weaken our defenses causing us to forget the dangers we know lies ahead.Change can be scary, it’s the reason we often take the same route home, and the reason we refuse to try new things.When we get comfortable it’s easy to stay.
The reason she stayed:
For ten years she’s known him, never dated anyone else and with two kids how could she possible leave. As an on-looker you’re thinking this should be the reason she leaves, and if that isn’t, been abused in front of your children has to be reason enough. So, why does she stay? I don’t know how to begin to leave, I’ve never been on my own, is the answer I get. Her situation is better than most, she has a career, so, it’s not financial dependency; it’s emotional and mental, the worst kind of captivity. Conflicting emotion of love on a good day,the social pressure of people finding out, and appearing weak, are more reasons she stayed. A 10 year relationship that should have been 10 minutes.
Why she almost stayed
She considers herself a strong woman, not defined by her situation or society. Like most she has a list of all the things she wants in her man. After all she had her own success, a career, promotion and financial stability. Hence settling for anything less is out of the question. So imagine how elated she felt when she finally met the guy that fits on the list. A software engineer who embodies the kind of guy you introduce to mom. The signs were there, but, she didn’t ask the questions for fear of what she knew she must do base on the answers. A month in, she felt like she was losing who she was for who he wanted her to be. Then the occasional verbal abuse, very subtle, not in the way you’d think. She has always believed that allowing someone to use the F word directly to her was disrespectful. However, she ignored it, the little outburst for been 10 minutes late, and taking the wrong turn she could explain away. 4 months in she saw it, the final outburst that gave her a preview into what her life would be if she continued. A battered woman who has to hide her scars with sunglass and that was the be all, end all.The house on the hill, the guy who can hold his own and the nice car , it suddenly wasn’t worth it.
So many of us got out in time, but too many of us stayed. Don’t ignore the signs, occasionally getting drunk, accompanied by verbal abuse, chipping away your self-esteem and the controlling ways. Value yourself enough to leave, ask the question, if you’re thinking it, trust it. Be the support for someone, you can’t make them leave but don’t make them go it alone.
National Domestic hotline 1-800-799-7233.