I spoke with Paul this morning and we were calm and rational but getting on each others' nerves a bit. We talked about my mom and it's a topic that we can't talk about easily. He has been blessed, very blessed. And sometimes I think that it doesn't allow him to relate.
I told him that I was considering therapy. That when I speak to him or even a friend, I don't think that they understand. They think logically about the story I tell them. They tell me to walk away. To live my own life. But logic isn't enough. I'm an emotional person and when you couple logic with emotion... it results in illogical thoughts.
He has told me that my desire to move is running away from my problems. I told him that I didn't agree. If I'm here and I turn my back on my mother, I'd be consumed with guilt. But if circumstances caused me to have to at least turn my back a little... then I'd feel less guilt. At this point Paul compared me to an abused wife in an abusive relationship. That they just can't leave...
This made me think. I did a google search to see 'why women stay' and found this website. I began reading it and he is right (wow it's weird admitting that), a lot of what I feel is similar, but a lot is different as well.
The situational factors are hardly applicable. I'd say my biggest fear is her keeping me from my brother and sister. Which I suppose can be compared to fear of losing your children.
Where the similarities were uncanny where in the emotional factors section:
- Insecurity about being alone, on her own; she's afraid she can't cope with home and children by herself. n/a
- Loyalty. "He's sick; if he had a broken leg or cancer--I would stay. This is no different." yes, I'm loyal to my family. blindly loyal.
- Pity. He's worse off than she is; she feels sorry for him. I know she is damaged emotional. I know that she is weak and I know that she is hurting.
- Wanting to help. "If I stay I can help him get better." She is alone raising 2 children and she needs my help and I provide it to her
- Fear that he will commit suicide if she leaves (often he's told her this).This has crossed my mind. I've even wondered if my family would be better off. I still don't know the answer to that.
- Denial. "It's really not that bad. Other people have it worse." I deny that I am in denial - I kid, I'm sure with this one you'd have to ask someone else.
- Love. Often, the abuser is quite loving and lovable when he is not being abusive. She has shown me love... as I've shown her. It's just always been conditional.
- Love, especially during the "honeymoon" stage; she remembers what he used to be like. I don't know if this is applicable, but yes, I remember the times that are good.
- Guilt. She believes--and her partner and the other significant others are quick to agree--that their problems are her fault. I don't feel guilt at all that this is my fault, I do however feel guilt that I'm disappointing my siblings. In a lot of ways I feel as if I'm their parent, the only stable thing in their lives... and that they are my responsibility.
- Shame and humiliation in front of the community. "I don't want anyone else to know." I'm maybe ashamed that my family is so dysfunctional, but I don't think the community would know and if they did, I don't know if it would really bother me.
- Unfounded optimism that the abuser will change.Yes, I always pray to God that it will change
- Unfounded optimism that things will get better, despite all evidence to the contrary. Same as above
- Learned helplessness. Trying every possible method to change something in our environment, but with no success, so that we eventually expect to fail. Feeling helpless is a logical response to constant resistance to our efforts. This can be seen with prisoners of war, people taken hostage, people living in poverty who cannot get work, etc.Yes, people always ask me if I've spoken to her and on the few occasions I have, she has lashed out at me. She has accused me of stupid things, she has shown hatred for me and she has stopped talking to me. And nothing had changed. If anything, it made it worse. Because of that, I rarely even try anymore to improve the situation by asking her to improve. Instead I do what I can to supplement where she lacks.
- False hope. "He's starting to do things I've been asking for." (counseling, anger management, things she sees as a chance of improvement.) Yes, there have been so many small steps she'd make that would give me hope, only to have them dashed by an undeserved outburst. (similar to my father)
- Guilt. She believes that the violence is caused through some inadequacy of her own (she is often told this); feels as though she deserves it for failing. no
- Responsibility. She feels as though she only needs to meet some set of vague expectations in order to earn the abuser's approval. no
- Insecurity over her potential independence and lack of emotional support. no
- Guilt about the failure of the marriage/relationship. no
- Demolished self-esteem. "I thought I was too (fat, stupid, ugly, whatever he's been calling her) to leave." no
- Lack of emotional support--she feels like she's doing this on her own, and it's just too much. Yes, I know that people want to help me but I don't think they can. Because of that I feel as if I'm in this alone.
- Simple exhaustion. She's just too tired and worn out from the abuse to leave. Yes, I am tired and depressed because of the circumstances and sometimes It's better to just put it out of my mind and roll with the punches.
So am I the victim of a abusive relationship.... possibly. I'm not a wife, I'm not a small child, but I've being used, abused, and manipulated... and yet I stay.