I’m Still Standing

I’ve blogged a number of times about abuse.  Honestly, for me they are each a PSA (Public Service Announcement).  I hope to help others the way I was helped (knowledge is power).  I am so far removed from it, that it doesn’t really sink in.  Today, it did.  I was watching “Law & Order, SVU” and I watched a woman die at the hands of the one who was supposed to love her the most.

I am one of the lucky ones – I got out.  When I watched her die with that knife plunged into her heart, it horrified me.  What might have happened to me, had I not gotten out?

Today, I’m very thankful that I’ll never know.

I’ve told you that abuse only gets worse, unless help is very seriously sought by the abuser.  My abuser was abusive in every single way.  When I say that, most people will assume that he slapped and punched me around.  Nope.  Never did.  But, he was physically abusive.

Abuse isn’t always the simple form that is portrayed on TV and movies.  Physical abuse doesn’t have to mean leaving marks.  It can be as subtle as stopping you from leaving the house (keeping you prisoner).  Sexual abuse isn’t necessarily rape or molestation.  It can be as simple as using sex as a weapon or a source of control (withholding sex to punish or show dominance).  The abuses I suffered were hidden deep within the cracks so I wasn’t as easily able to recognize it as, say, a black eye.

Because of this, my abuser had lots of room to worsen.  When I saw the first sign that the physical abuse was going to escalate, that’s when I got out.  I knew that if I had anything to say about it, I would never allow a man to hit me.  For some reason, I was fine with accepting a tearing down of who I was, but god forbid I should let him slap me around.

Would he ever have hit me?  I tend to think so.  He didn’t understand that he was abusing me, and he didn’t want to see it.  As long as he was in that rock-solid denial, he would never acknowledge what he was doing, and it would have only become worse.  Also, in the years since, I received word (rumor, so who knows it’s validity) that he has struck a female in his life.  While it made me sorry for her, it reaffirmed my gratitude that I had escaped.

Would he have killed me?  *long pause to think*  Honestly, I don’t know.  I know of his temper.  I know how enraged he became around me.  I know how important it was to him to be able to show his dominance over me.  Would it ever have escalated to murder?

Again, I’m really thankful I’m not there to find out.  I’ve always thought that, deep down, he’s a good guy.  That if he would just realize what he was doing…  But, we all think that of our abusers, right?  If they don’t seek help, they escalate.  Women think the best of their abuser… until it’s too late.  They have hope that someday something will change.  And it does.  Almost never with a happy ending.

Today, I am very grateful for that Saturday morning when my friends came to my home and helped me escape in under an hour.  I’m eternally thankful for the loved ones who took my afflicted children and my tortured self in and harbored us.  I’m blessed to now know what it is like to be treated well and loved completely.

And I’m thankful to be alive.

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