Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave. Leslie Morgan – TED / TALKS TEDX
Why would anyone stay with a man who beats her?
Having been in a similar scenario, I can identify with many of the points that Leslie raises and the scars it leaves behind. I’m writing this as a woman – but I fully accept that domestic violence happens to both men and women.
It’s something that wasn’t talked about; it was silenced and perpetuated. The stats are astounding but a new awareness is coming. Now we have One Billion Rising… and counting!
Sometimes beatings don’t happen; the threat of them may, along with the threat of losing children, family and/or lifestyle, but they swear they’d never raise a hand to you.
Your life might be a misery without getting a thrashing; you may be in a situation where confusion reigns – and nothing is ever right. Maybe you always have to justify your whereabouts, what you’ve spent and who you’ve been with. Perhaps close friends and family members are seen to be a ‘threat’ to your relationship but your often reminded that this partner is ‘all you really need’. And of course in the beginning, that’s all you really want.
Eventually the recipient will be ground down; living a life in fear of consequence, depleted of confidence and hope. If the abuser has done a good job, you’ll have lost best friends, the trust of parents and siblings – and will look like the complete fool you’ve been cast as.
There are specialist services which deal with emotional abuse or family mediation where a breakdown in a relationship has occurred. For some this may work perfectly well, for others the only option is out.
And this is probably the most dangerous time.
When faced with the truth of their actions, people who use their power to manipulate or control others, fear (possibly) a multitude of things, but mostly I believe they fear being shamed; outed as a narcissistic failure and being left alone – with themselves – the one person, they really don’t like.
Their fuel is their ego – keeping up appearances, never wanting to lose face is of utmost importance, so they’ll do anything to stop this from happening. Anything.
After they’ve sown the seeds of your insecurities, inadequacies and failings but realise you no longer accept it, they’ll change tact.
Strumming my pain…
They’ll plead with you to stay, beg for your forgiveness and promise to sort their tension/ anger/ anxiety problems out. This is likely the only time you’ll hear them acknowledge a failing. They’ll sound utterly despondent, pitifully remorseful and full of optimism for your future together – further confusing the recipient of the abusive behaviour; raising questions like; do they mean it this time? Have I got it all wrong, perhaps the problem actually is me?
This kind of reflection is great when you’re at a distance from the source of it – but attempting to see things clearly at this point is going to be a waste of time. Base your decisions in the clear, cold light of day; preferably away from danger and if possible, talked through with people you can trust.
Think only of your safety and well-being – and that of your children, if you have them.
Seek professional help if you possibly can – that could be via your GP or through a service like a local Woman’s (Men’s) Aid. You may be advised to consult with a lawyer; if this is the case, you can ask if there’s one connected with Woman’s Aid or other service that will help to protect your rights.
Know the warning signs;
*Charming and attentive
*Plausible and convincing
*Creating illusions; deferring power –
*Adoring and adorable
*Creating ‘need’ – using your weaknesses against you.
*Creating fearful situations
* Encouraging disloyalty/ betrayal at every level in the family structure (parents and children included)
*Creating the need to justify movements/ actions
*Thriving on creating confusion
*Duping you into believing you have a psychological problem
*Using the system; courts, lawyers against you to promote the illusion of power
*Terrorising – children and mother and using extortive methods to frighten others.
*Threat of death – sometimes.
Get out! And get your children out!
I was lucky; I built support structures around me who never failed to be compassionate and understanding. I learned new skills to cope and I improved my life-chances by investing in me.
I have terrific friends, eventually re-built my family around me and have a good relationship with my children.
I cut all ties energetically as well as physically to everything connected to this person – as well as to the people who stood by and watched what was happening to a once happy-go-lucky person who loved life; shrunken, agitated, fearful, crying in despair and contemplating suicide as it seemed the only way out, almost getting to the stage that I believed my children would be better off without me.
It was very short-lived as I realised that the person causing all of this distress would NEVER explain to my kids that it wasn’t their fault if I topped myself. I questioned what kind of life was ahead of them… and I came to this conclusion;
I couldn’t risk them being exposed to and adopting this type of behaviour, purely because it was dominant in the relationship.
I had to be strong. I had to do what was right; I left for my own sake and that of the kids. Then I had to suffer the ongoing traumas of being ‘punished’ for leaving.
The worm finally turned when confronted with a devious and angry man on the doorstep threatening to take my life – having firmly deposited the kids out of earshot and later leaking a (false) story that I was completely bonkers and out of control.
I had offers from people who wanted to come stay overnight to support me but I wouldn’t hear of it; this would be the first – and last night that I’d face this fear. The decision was made; if he returned, he was being arrested without me even opening the door.
NO-ONE had the right to threaten my life.
I was filled with rage; rage like I’d never felt before. How dare he!
I knew, in that moment, that I would not tolerate any further abuse from this insecure narcissist. I drew on the anger and decided on the spot this would never, ever happen again.
My whole body went on alert – I was experiencing something I later came to term as ‘changing your chi’, which is better explained in my book “Spiritual First Aid – Finding Balance, but is skirted around here.
I used my indignation and anger to find solutions to my problem; not once dwelling on the ‘victim’ state.
First thing next day I had practical tips on personal safety and a counsellor arranged for the kids, via Women’s Aid – the ball was rolling – and I would not look back with anything but disdain for the man I once loved.
He had long lost my respect – all that had remained were energetic ties through the children; there was nothing else left.
I had taken my power back; I had learned the Art of Moving On.
Nb. If your life, or your children’s lives are in danger contact the police, your local Women’s Aid or someone you trust 100%. Immediately.