Content Warning: This post deals with domestic violence and may be triggering for some readers.
To the woman with the bruises:
I know you. I don’t know your name, where you live, your age or phone number.
But I know you.
I know that look in your eyes – that frightened, defeated, depressed, broken look. I know you, because I once saw that look in my own eyes.
I know what it’s like to live with someone you’re terrified of. I know what it’s like to go to sleep sick and wake up scared.
I know you.
And I want you to hear me, as one domestic violence survivor to another: it's not your fault.
I know the psychological warfare you've been besieged with. I know how your self-esteem is non-existent, replaced by a constant stream of negatives.
I know that you've come to believe that you're so useless, damaged, stupid, and lazy, that you deserve every word hurled at you in anger, every blow that's ever landed upon you, be it emotionally or physically.
I know you believe that if you could just be better, this would all go away, that you'd meet with approval, that finally, he'd be happy. And love you.
After all, he can be sweet, can't he? You have memories that you treasure in your heart, that you keep close and turn back to time and again. There's hope there. Proof that he can be loving, and kind, and gentle, that the rage that takes him over, that's what's to blame.
At heart, he's so loving, isn't he? Here's the truth: No, he's not.
His rage is just a part of him as any good you've ever seen. And the reality is no amount of enduring his rage will ever get him to stop. Nothing you say or do is responsible for his behaviour and therefore, nothing you say or do will ever make him stop lashing out at you.
Because, it's all on him. You bear no responsibility for his abuse of you. None.
It doesn't matter how angry you make him or what you've done. Burn dinner, late home from work, decided to go out for a girl's night, put a dent in the car. Doesn't. Matter.
As an adult, he has the responsibility to control his emotions - because he's the only one that actually can. And unless you're physically attacking him and he's defending himself from you, there's nothing you can ever do that would justify him putting his hands on you in anger. Nothing.