Some people’s New Year resolutions are as simple as joining the gym, beginning yoga, quitting an addiction, switching careers, earning a College degree. (Okay, to be fair, some of those resolutions are hard to keep) But let’s be honest, one of the hardest resolutions to keep is leaving an abusive relationship, or deciding to overcome the battle scars from one. But with the new year ringing in, it may be time for a fresh start…
Whether you’re a professional Artist or not, almost everyone has experienced being in a toxic relationship. It happens to bankers, teachers, painters, real estate agents, singers – it can happen to any and everyone! Yet there’s a small difference between toxic and abusive relationships. Or is there?
When some people hear the word abuse, right away they think of physical violence. It’s seldom that people will consider emotional and verbal abuse just as seriously. Because physical violence can take away a human life or drastically change a person’s destiny by causing them to be paralyzed, the wounds that aren’t visible are hardest to prove, and yet, that’s how it all starts – with emotional and mental disrespect. Well, if you can avoid being killed or physically beaten, wouldn’t you like to stop it from the root? From the beginning?
First, let’s understand that the abuser is usually someone who’s been abused themselves in the past and thus, it’s become a learned behavior. Think about it. Someone who inflicts pain upon another human being must be in pain themselves because a happy person wouldn’t feel the need to inflict pain upon another – they’re too happy to go there. With that being said, you don’t want to end up just like the abuser down the line by becoming bitter, becoming moody, snapping at people, becoming insecure, not trusting anyone, becoming self absorbent, and so forth. Abusive behavior starts from a mental & psychological place before it moves into physical action. Remember, your abuser became that way because someone (most likely his parents) abused him, and the cycle will continue with you if you don’t heal from it. Therefore, part of the healing process for yourself means not labeling the abuser as evil or monstrous because that’s how negativity spreads and wins like a Cancerous disease that destroys all living things around it.
Ever heard the saying, “The Devil Is A Liar”? Well, if you’ve been a victim of domestic violence and you’re still holding onto a deep hatred for the person who inflicted pain upon you, you’re actually weighing yourself down and that’s exactly what evil entities want – to suck the life out of you through any means necessary. Your mind can either be the deadliest weapon of self destruction or it can be the most powerful tool for rebuilding an empire of self worth. But I promise you, any negativity you hold onto will corrupt your building blocks if they’re not sewn with love, wisdom, compassion, forgiveness, and other positive virtues. However, while it’s perfectly normal to feel anger at the beginning of your break-up or divorce, the healing process must begin, and when you learn to forgive others you will free yourself from what happened instead of carrying the pain like a dark cloud over your head. You don’t want to become a bitter old person with a chip on your shoulder because of what you experienced, and you don’t want to become a damsel in distress that everyone should feel sorry for either. Just look at Tina Turner. Yes, maybe you think it’s far fetched at how she moved on because she’s a super star. But it’s not far fetched because she’s flesh and blood just like you and me. She’s human. She was knocked down, but she got back up and soared to higher heights because she refused to walk around with the word victim written across her forehead. Her story may have been a part of her past, but she did not allow it to become a part of her future – and that’s how you survive.
Secondly, forgiving someone doesn’t make you weak. It also doesn’t mean that you should get back with the person who harmed you either. Forgiveness simply means that you let go of the need to hold onto the pain, and that you are compassionate to what caused them to react the way they did. It’s important not to lose yourself and forget your true nature – happiness. Most women of domestic violence had great personalities and were extremely sweet, which is why their predator knew that they could become aggressive with their mate because the woman probably didn’t like to fight back since they were kind hearted. But after your kindness has been taken advantage of time and time again, you may have started to change. While it’s brave and essential to set boundaries, it’s also important not to allow darkness to fester inside. You don’t want to push away good people in the future because you’ve decided to put up a wall. Yes, protect yourself and practice discernment. But you’re stronger than to give up on men all together. Eventually, you must allow your brightness to shine again so you can radiate any room you walk into with your glowing face and genuine smile. You want to stand tall, stand powerful, stand happy, stand confident, stand with clarity and purpose, and stand with a compassionate heart. You deserve love too, but you must first BE LOVE in order to ATTRACT LOVE. It’s very hard for others to hug you if you have your arms closed. In other words, don’t block your blessings. Instead, open up your heart so that blessings will rush towards you and into you.
Now back to the title – “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” It’s okay to admit that you love someone who’s hurt you, damaged you and broke you. Some may tell you that you’re dumb, stupid, and question what’s wrong with you? But no one is in your shoes to tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel. Of course, healthy love shouldn’t hurt, but matters of the heart are complicated. (Although making a decision to love yourself should never be complicated – loving yourself should be a given.) And if you’re in an abusive relationship that is killing or diminishing your spirit – mentally, physically and/or verbally, then you need to WALK AWAY. However, (between you & me) you don’t have to pretend not to care and lie to yourself if you’re still in love with your previous abuser, because bottling up your feelings is actually self destructive. Remember, if you stuff your feelings inside, then the process of letting go will TAKE EVEN LONGER. The best way to get over someone is to admit and acknowledge how you feel (to yourself). Not everyone will understand or agree with you, but these aren’t their feelings – their yours. So allow yourself to cry, allow yourself to vent, and allow yourself to mourn. Shutting down cold turkey will only make you curious to get back together because of unfinished business. You need to listen to your body and intuition, and honor your private feelings about your situation. Also, as similar as other domestic violence stories are, try not to compare them because we’re all different types of peoples. Only you know your own inner truth.
Lastly, to make sure you don’t repeat history by getting into another abusive relationship again, well…. that’s a chance you have to take. Professionals, friends, and relatives will tell you to join support groups, to take time to yourself and be single for a while, to keep your mind constantly occupied by joining a gym or hanging out with friends, and while they’re all great suggestions, I think the process is different for everyone. You can stay single for a couple of years and still get into another abusive relationship, and it may not be with a romantic partner but it can end up being with a coworker, a relative, or a friend. One thing I learned is that women who attract abusive partners usually attract abusive people – period! Because they allow others to walk all over them like doormats. You have to take the power back into your own hands and speak up for yourself. Don’t be shy and let others boss you around. Get out there and mingle. Shake off the experience and don’t make it become a part of your entire existence. This means that you have to be willing to love again. That doesn’t mean that you should move in with another man right away. But you can date. You can party. You can start new friendships. What you don’t want to do is isolate yourself and become…. AFRAID.
The worst thing that happens to women of domestic violence is that it makes them fearful and suspicious of everyone. Because they don’t want to feel that kind of pain again, they avoid the chance of being happy with someone because they’ve forgotten how to trust. Their guard is up. Or they do open up, but not in healthy ways. Some women will continue to have sex with men but will not be able to love them, resulting in having cold, casual sex without any real heart to heart intimacy. In short, they become empty shells.
In this life, we may all have our up’s and down’s at one point or another, but never allow a man (or anyone for that matter) to break your spirit. It’s one thing for him to break a body part that will heal in time, but to allow him to break your spirit where you’re not able to radiate from the inside out anymore – NEVER! Don’t allow that to happen! After you’re out of that relationship, regardless of where you live, where you work, what you do, or what you have (be it a little or a lot) you must continue to nourish and replenish your spirit. Smile often. Eat healthy. Laugh out loud. Travel. Learn. Have a curiosity for life. Do not neglect your inner child because you think that grown folks should be more serious. You need to enjoy life. Be spontaneous. And little by little, let that horrible experience wash away and disappear with the shores of time back into the ocean. Be cleansed of that negative energy, and purify your golden soul. You are God’s child. And you’ve survived in order to blaze a new path with your inner light. Shine on —–> And buy a purple T-shirt to support other women warriors! (Proceeds will go to a Domestic Violence Shelter in the Bronx.) How’s that to start your new year? You deserve better.