“I supported a beautiful young lady for almost two years before she was able to leave her abusive husband. I did not just tell her to leave because how will she feed herself and her children? We sat down to map out a plan. I linked her up with social supports, legal, etc. The most important part was me telling her that I wasn’t going to be supporting her financially because I didn’t have but she is smart and will figure things out. So we brainstormed on business ideas. For about a year, we waited till she was ready…she was married to a beast. If she had leaped suddenly, she would have fallen back in, deep.
So yes, it took a while but am proud of the woman she is today. She is happy, independent, feeding herself and her children with her business. The so called husband now knows she is no more the kitten he hits anytime he feels like. She knows her right now and she is wiser. She stood up finally and she is not looking back. It was a journey.
Another of this journey is calling and I am trying to dig deep to find out if I am ready for the intensity of this. Two years of waiting till the other lady broke free. Every time he hit her, I felt it. I cried with her and for her. Physical abuse is always so deep…you cannot just tell a woman to leave. Leave to where? What? When? How? Support her to answer these questions and watch her soar like an eagle. There was a day I invited her to sit with my friends, just so she can see how women can do such great things with their lives. She came, we interacted and she was inspired. She went back home to more beating for stepping out of the house. That day was the turning point for her. She was a final year student when the man went to lie to the school authorities that she has cancer. I want her to go back to school. The journey is not a year’s journey, so do I go again? Am I emotionally ready for it?
No one size fits all when it comes to physical abuse. There are some people that shouldn’t stay for one more day in that vicinity. They might not survive it. If it was up to me, she will leave the man immediately. There was a lot of learning curve in the journey. Understanding that the help people need is deeper than what they ask for is crucial to finding a lasting solution.
If you are that woman reading this post, your journey does not have to take up to two years. At the end, surviving is your choice. Her key to surviving was in her hands, all I did was support (If it were up to me, I will drag her out). Don’t sit there suffering emotional, physical and mental abuse. You can leave and you will be fine. You deserve to be fine today. Seek for the support and help you need today and get out. You deserve to be fine today, not tomorrow and not in two years.”
The above is a compilation of the WhatsApp statuses of a friend and colleague. I reached out to her to thank her for being able to help because like she said, it is not an easy journey. It’s easy to be lost in thoughts, wondering why a woman or man cannot leave an abusive relationship, thereby, losing all capabilities to empathize and help them through the journey. I used to be that way because I could not let myself see things from their perspective, no matter how skewed it may be. I only looked at things from my perspective – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, etc. But with time, I read and researched on the psychology of the abuser and the abused and I dare say that anyone can find themselves in the shoes of the abused if caution is thrown to the wind. No one will deliberately choose pain and suffering except that’s what they have known all their lives and that’s a sign of a deep rooted mental problem. There are many reasons a person will find it extremely difficult to get up and leave – fear, low self-esteem, financial constraint, mental health issues, societal standards, orientation and mindset, etc. The list is endless. Many suffer from more than one at the same time, making the problem multifaceted. I am yet to see a multifaceted issue in any area of life, be it in business, governance or corporate decision making being solved by just throwing around a simple sentence such as – Get up and leave.
The problems must be identified, defined, understood, and processes put in place to solve them. Above all, wisdom must be applied. Wisdom being about achieving purpose in an efficient way. In answering all necessary questions, the purpose of the journey must be defined.
The purpose of this post is to encourage us to do better as support system to men and women in an abusive relationship. They need your love, understanding, empathy, guidance, wisdom, etc. They need to know they are not alone. Like my friend said, it might take months, years or even days but understanding that you cannot fully grasp what goes on in their mind and that it can be way messed up than you can imagine will help you help them better. Identify the barrier and help them walk and work through it.
Again, no one in their right mental space will choose or normalize pain and suffering. Many have been broken and damaged from childhood. Be there for them and let your life show them what love is. Leaving an abusive partner is a journey
PS: In doing this, being a support system, take care of you as well. Take required breaks and refill your cup in order to keep pouring.
Feature image source – PEXEL