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The word abuse is a very serious one and is not to be taken lightly. It usually takes an awful lot of courage to use it.
Abuse is when a person repeatedly/regularly mistreats you. It is cruel, and can often involve manipulation, control, blackmail, etc. It is a misuse of power and ill treatment of a persons vulnerability. Often, the person being abused will end up feeling as though they are worthless, overreacting, stuck, and like there is nothing they can do. It is like you are the only one with a problem, and it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that you are the problem.
It takes a lot of will, consideration, reflection, and analysation to realise that you are not the problem.
People have a lot of skepticism about the word abuse which makes it even more scary to admit that it is what is happening to you. People often judge the level of the abuse you are facing, saying “if it was that bad you would leave,” “you need to be careful using words like that,” and so on. When you are spending every day being mentally, emotionally, perhaps even physically drained by a relationship, to finally admit that you cannot take it anymore is a hugely intimidating step.
It can always be worse than what it is, but that does not mean what it is should be tolerated, or endured. Happiness is always an option, despite what you have been taught. Happiness comes from within, but is influenced from without. Do whatever it is you need.
A lot of times, the victim of abuse is not always considered entirely innocent. When you are in such a toxic relationship, emotions rise and you do sometimes bite back, lash out, say things out of impulse and fear. The guilt of not being an entirely innocent being is another thing which may keep a person stuck in this relationship. People are not heroes and villains, people have good and bad in them. You may take responsibility of your actions without blaming yourself for an outcome that was uncalled for and escalated to levels beyond control.
To tackle the question of “why don’t you just leave,” it must be brought to attention that there is far, far more to it than that. For a person who does not have resources to help them leave, someone who doesn’t have a place to go, there are practical blockages. For a person who wants to protect a third party from harm, or for someone who feels deep compassion for the abuser, there are emotional blockages. For a person who needs time, and to not rush into things because that way, things would end much worse; there are blockages regarding time. To become judgmental and lose empathy for a victim of abuse because they are facing any of these blockages is entirely wrong of a person. It takes great strength to continue to put one foot in front of the other when in an abusive relationship. You may care for the victim and offer help, but remember that love is not judgmental, love is free, and love is there when and if it is accepted.
Abusers are broken people, who do not always realise they are doing wrong. It is likely that their abusive behaviour is filtered down and learned. They are lost and do not know how to fix themselves, but you must remember it is not your obligation to fix them, and that you are your main priority.
When someone is so reluctant to be open to the idea that they could be wrong, paired with the desire to influence people, they can become manipulative and controlling. Very quickly, a good intention becomes poisoned by the idea that you must restrict a person's freedom and treat them as though they are less than, treat them as though they must learn by any means possible.
This is why abusers do not recognise that they are abusive. They feel as though they are doing right. They feel as though they are misunderstood. They feel as though people must see things through their eyes. They refuse that they are the person with the problem. It is a state of deep denial.
It can be difficult to leave an abuser because you are brainwashed to believe their ways are fine and to play by the rules.
This being said, people may come to the realisation that the abuser is not to be blindly obeyed, and want to help them see another way of living; and repair them with love. This is why people feel as though they are trapped and as though there is no escape. People love the abuser—and feel as though they must teach them to open their mind. It’s a battle of mindsets and everybody is a loser. Abusers can do bad things without being bad people, and for this reason, they can be seen as beautiful souls to those who do not share the same relationship. People will not always believe your truth, but you are the only one who must stand by your truth. You are not crazy for seeing something that nobody else is exposed to.
You can love a person without feeding in to their mistreatment of you. You are not obligated to fix a person. If you have given it all you have got, and the situation does not change, you must save yourself and remove yourself from the relationship.
Free yourself from depending on the person.
Know what they are in control of, and find a way to not rely on them for what they offer you. Do not take things from them that they can use against you. Work towards being fully independent, but have a plan for if they were to turn around and deny you a place to live while you are figuring it out.
When they begin to feel as though they are losing control, the person will begin to clutch at straws, pressuring you with demands and blackmailing you into giving. They will insult you, and react negatively. Stay as balanced as you can and know that this is from a place of fear, and that things are working in your favour. Keep yourself safe. Do not allow yourself to fall for the illusion of power. You are getting your control back, stand in that strength.
Abusers do not always need to be locked up and shunned from society. You do not need to match an abuser on their level. You need to break free from being on their level. Of course most times abusers need help and enlightenment to be able to see things another way, but once again this is not your responsibility. Sometimes all you need is to walk away, and care for yourself. When you have walked away, you will likely experience feelings of anger and resentment due to your newfound empowerment. Do your best to forgive, for your sake before anybody else’s.
You will be thankful for this one day. Right now, it is probably the most awful thing. Right now is not forever, so keep your head up as much as you can, be gentle with yourself, and keep your eye on the end goal. You may be known as a victim of abuse, but you do not need to be a victim. No matter what happens to you or what is taken from you, you have potential to make of life what you will. That cannot be taken from you. There is always something you can do.