Read Margaret V Aberdeen’s latest blog post, taken from her upcoming book I’ll Never Be Hit Again:
I am sick and tired of hearing the ignorance of some people ask a victim of abuse:
“Why did you stay?”
“Why didn’t you just leave?”
“Other people have survived worse.”
“Just move on.” “Get over it.” Or “Let it go.” “It’s all in the past.”
There may be a number of reasons why a victim may choose to stay. The most common ones are fear, self-blame, conditioning, insecurity, especially when there are children involved, followed by financial reasons or fear of losing their children. And also, not really understanding that the psychological effect of abuse can rewire the brain and make you go insane. You get used to the way of living, you don’t know anything else. Even after victims are physically safe and bodily wounds have healed, emotional and psychological scars run deep.
Believe me I know that for a fact.
Too often, victims are prematurely hurried into forgiveness. Ultimately, forgiveness is the thing that will set a victim free. But true forgiveness cannot be extended if the scars of the abuse are not first acknowledged and dealt with.
Having suffered an emotionally painful childhood, full of abuse and confusion, followed by more abuse in my adulthood, as well as subsequent years of low self-esteem, depression and suicidal thoughts. I knew first-hand how hard replacing old negative patterns with new and positive ones could be. It is an uphill battle, as they have been enrooted from childhood. And when I was later diagnosed with brain and kidney cancer tumours, I understood that this was an opportunity to clear out my old rubbish, baggage and patterns of resentment, once and for all.
I did a lot of deep searching, de-programming to get to the root causes to make real and lasting changes work, released the pain of the past, and healed my mind, body and soul. Most importantly, I learned to get to know myself, have faith in myself, be my best friend and genuinely love and respect myself.
I know this may be hard-hitting for some of you to understand. Sometimes it can be hard to make a major change in your thought patterns or actions, especially after abusive relationships. Life after domestic violence is the beginning of a new challenge. The healing is a process and takes time.
To regain your health, happiness, sanity and sense of Self, the emotional reaction to the situation must flow. Speak! Shout! Cry! It is appropriate to express anger over the abuse. If we do not acknowledge the cruelty of the situation—the anger, the confusion, the hurt, the pain, the shame, the guilt, blame etc.—we cannot heal from it.
I wish I could wave a magic wand and say: “Forget everything that happened in the past.”
They usually become emotional baggage that keeps you rigid and stuck, which inflicts a lot of physical and mental illnesses.
The more I share my story with others, I have become emotionally detached, like it was someone else, not me that had undergone all these challenges.
By Margaret V Aberdeen
Domestic Violence Survivor Warrior
Margaret is a prolific speaker, writer, coach and trainer, founder and CEO of Break Free of Domestic Violence Forever. She has a proven track record of devising and delivering dynamic, innovative workshops, where she uses an honest, gentle approach laced with enthusiasm to share her life experiences with others. Visit Margaret’s website at http://margaretaberdeen.com.