BY: Janine Mitchell
Change consultant / domestic abuse
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I did a Facebook live this week where I talk about the effects of domestic abuse. I also talked about what we say to ourselves and the importance of this.
I have received some amazing and humbling feedback including “A masterpiece’, “brave and inspiring’, ‘Courageous and motivational’. I have received many messages from both men and women, domestic abuse is not gender specific. Men and women can both resonate with this.
Unfortunately domestic abuse is something that we experience commonly within society. Abuse can come in many different shapes and forms and can include verbal, emotional, psychological and physical abuse. It is a common misconception, as was once mine, that domestic abuse only comes in the form of a punch or a kick – some type of physical violence. This is far from the truth. I am not justifying any kind of physical behaviour, of course not, but physical injuries can often disappear within a space of a few days, where as a constant chipping away at your self esteem can be something that can have lasting and long term damaging impacts and implications.
When we are subject to this kind of abuse over a long period of time, it can be something which becomes the familiar, the expected.
However, remember, you are not alone, you should not suffer in silence. Very often, if you are such a relationship, over time you can’t see anything outside of believing it is your fault. This is where feelings of guilt and shame set in. You are being told it is your fault on a daily basis by someone who supposedly loves you, so why wouldn’t you think it isn’t?
I want to tell you right here and now, categorically, this NOT your fault.
Despite what you are being told continually and the abuser will often blame everything outside of them – i.e. external circumstances. It took me a long time to get and understand this next part that I am going to share with you. This person, in this capacity is doing the best job that they can do at any given time. I am not saying it is right in any way, or of course, condoning such behaviour. What I am saying, is that the abuser does not know how to react or act differently. It is based on their own belief structure in terms of what they have learnt through life, what they have picked up from role models in terms of what is acceptable and not acceptable. It is likely they will have a very disjointed view of the world based on their own internal understandings whereby they are holding on to a great deal of inner turmoil and demons.
However, this is not good enough for you. You deserve better. You deserve the best. You deserve respect, honesty and integrity within a relationship, nothing less.
There is support out there, and I urge you to find it and take it. This will be the next step for you.
When you do get the necessary support and find the wonderful confidence to put you first and get out of this, you can then focus on you. Focus on rebuilding your confidence, your social network, pick your self esteem up off the floor. Use whatever new strategies you can learn to develop your mindset that may have ebbed away. Lead the new life for you and you won’t look back, trust me.
I will leave with some final tips. Don’t hesitate to get in contact if you need further support, advise or guidance.
What can I do?
This is not your fault!! It may feel like it when all hell is breaking lose and you are being told everything that is happening is a direct result of you. It isn’t.
Make sure you talk to somebody. Whether it is a close friend, a work colleague, a family member. Whoever it feels right to confide in. Don’t feel guilty or shameful for speaking out to someone and certainly don’t spend your time worrying what others think. Those who care about you will be supportive no matter what.
Don’t be alone. You can feel very isolated in such a relationship, but there is a way out. Speak to who you can and be open with others whenever you can.
Get some advise. Check out local services. There is a great deal of advise and support out there. Even if it’s just a friendly chat over a cuppa with a professional to know there are things that you can do to find a way out.
Have an exit plan and strategy and set yourself a date. Have you tried to leave several times before? Work out a strategy for leaving and involve others if you need to. Setting a deadline or timescale is also helpful.
There is life after this relationship! You are beautiful, wonderful, amazing and courageous. There is only one of you. You may not feel it now, and you may feel at the lowest ebb possible, but trust me, there is life after this. You can be happy again. You will be happy again. You are strong enough to be on your own. You have got the strength to do this, you will come out the other side stronger than you ever thought possible.
If you would like any more advise at all, or any further information about how I can support you, or anyone you know, please get in touch in confidence via the contact form below.
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