Sometimes, things are not what they seem. How many times have we all heard this warning? No doubt, it has been peppered throughout our lives. And I sure we all have our stories about warnings we foolishly did not heed simply because we thought we knew exactly how things truly were. I have been warned about many things in my life; some advice I took and some I left fall by wayside.
Some warnings I desperately wish I would have gotten ahead of time never came. These I had to learn the hard way: through firsthand experience. And I find myself wandering in thought to one question that was posed in a video I have posted here on my blog (Conspiracy of Silence): Why wasn’t I warned about this, about the evil I silently suffered at the hands of the one person who should have been motivated to protect me and make me feel secure, at the very least in the one place I should feel at peace? That it could happen to me.
It wasn’t that I did not know that domestic violence is an all too common occurrence; it never dawned on me that it was a catastrophe that could ensnare me and almost take my life. I was smart, according to people around me, and things like this don’t happen to smart people. Maybe this is why they didn’t feel they needed to warn me. Maybe they just didn’t know. And this is a problem in society as a whole: tunnel vision and a confusion of priorities. As long as her grades are good, there’s no need to worry, right?
Wrong! I have two fatal flaws: I always look for good in others, and I am too forgiving. I say fatal, because they cross the line from being beneficial to detrimental. All you have to do for proof of that is to look at the chaotic situation I just escaped three and a half months ago. There is no amount of book smarts or academic knowledge that can save me from this. When the logical part of me is at war with the emotional side of me, logic will be over-ridden, trampled, and devastated. The need to see the good in others and forgive their faults wins, regardless of how hard my brain tries to alert me.
And since the abuser does not start going full tilt from the get go, the subtle signs are missed. The abuser choreographs a seduction and builds their partner into believing their are loved. Then little by little, the abuser chips away at the other until their confidence, social life, and independence are stripped away, leaving the partner vulnerable to the evil that is about to be unleashed.
They test the waters and let loose with a slap, a few punches, or something along those lines, always over something trivial. Excuses about being under stress are made, and they swear they will never do it again. For a while, or so I have read, there is a honeymoon period that diminishes in significance and duration over time.
I say “or so I have read” for one simple fact: I only clearly remember one occasion where my abuser actually apologized to me for hitting me. He had been smoking the night before and was pushing random buttons on the phone. By the next day, he had forgotten this. He sat down with the phone and pushed redial to see who the last person was that I called. I hadn’t called anyone, and he went crazy on me after he got through to the operator. In between punches to the back of my head and his hissing like a snake that I had hit 0 to hide who I called, I had to remind him what he had done the night before. And he stopped. We sat on opposite sides of the bed, and I started at the floor in silence.
I cut my teeth at him and shook my head, but I did not respond to him. He cleared his throat.
I said I’m sorry. It was wrong.
I continued to ignore him. He got up and went into the office and did what he does best: act like a pig. This was the full extent of his apology. It meant nothing, and I was not about to ease his mind any by telling him it was okay, that I was okay. Because I wasn’t. There were no flowers, no acts of kindness. Just words forced out in between rocks.
There were occasions he admitted to me that he could be cruel and nasty, but he never went so far as to apologize. I cannot say that I am bitter about this. The honeymoon syndrome is just yet another massive lie perpetuated by the abuser to regain control over their victim so they can continue to do the same for as long as the victim is willing to allow it. His only apologizing once to me in four years means far fewer lies for me to have to forgive myself for. Why would I have to forgive myself for him lying to me? For this incredibly overwhelming and alienating feeling of stupidity for falling for it.
Go back and study the picture I included with this post. Look at how it seems to be peaceful, serene, calm, happy. A place of rest and security. Notice the lack of distractions of interruptions, and the natural beauty. It’s hard not to be drawn to that. However, in the case of domestic violence, looks can be deceiving. The outside world is kept at a distance from what really goes on behind closed doors. People will at first only see the abuser showing up with flowers,gifts, or leaving romantic notes or voice mails. They don’t see the bruises, cuts, welts, red marks, and swelling that prompted this. So they assume that everything is wonderful. They are deceived by the beauty and calm that is presented to them so they will ignore the destruction taking place behind those walls. At a distance from everyone. Unreachable. Silent. Desperate. Devastated. His threats litter the water like sharks searching for prey.
Look beyond the pretty picture and see what really lies behind the door…..