Hello and welcome to a piece of peace, your weekly dose of motivation and inspiration. Today I would like to share on the topic of “avoiding the trap of abusive relationships.”
I came across a post during my travels on social media, which got me a little confused. The post was a picture of what I assume to be a lady and her boyfriend and the tag read “He may slap, beat and kick me till I pass out but at least I have a man, what about you and your lonely, single self?” I honestly could not decide on whether to cry or to laugh. I know most people in controlling and abusive relationships develop several emotional dependencies sometimes on the person inflicting that abuse. Back in the good old days as a psychology major in university, I came across the theory of the “Stockholm syndrome.”
Basically on August 23rd, 1973 two machine-gun carrying criminals entered a bank in Stockholm, Sweden. The two bank robbers held four hostages, three women and one man, for the next 131 hours. The hostages were strapped with dynamite and held in a bank vault until finally rescued on August 28th. After their rescue, the hostages exhibited a shocking attitude considering they were threatened, abused, and feared for their lives for over five days. In their media interviews, it was clear that they supported their captors and actually feared law enforcement personnel who came to their rescue. The hostages had begun to feel the captors were actually protecting them from the police. One woman later became engaged to one of the criminals and another developed a legal defense fund to aid in their criminal defense fees. Clearly, the hostages had “bonded” emotionally with their captors.
The psychological condition in hostage situations became known as “Stockholm Syndrome” due to the publicity.
I know to a lot of us, this might be a shock. That a condition actually exists where people who inflict harm on us are worshipped because in some strange way, we feel we deserve the pain and suffering and abuse they dish out. I have heard several stories from my friends of how they physically fight with their partners and I have witnessed bruises, cuts broken ribs etc. When I was a lot younger, I practiced as a child psychologist in the UK and I saw many broken homes where physical abuse was a normal practice. Children had to witness their mothers being physically assaulted by a drunken dad within an inch of her life. And when we stepped in to take the mother and child away to a safer environment, we were often shocked that the mum would start screaming at us as if we were the ones trying to destroy their loving family. The truth of the matter is, no relationship is perfect and no one can conclusively tell you which relationships to stay in or which ones to avoid. However, something has to be said for any situation that puts your own life and the wellbeing of other loved ones at risk.
I have heard several excuses of how you should endure, everything worth having is worth working hard for, it is always darkest before dawn, God will turn things around, what he has put together let no man destroy and many other self motivating epilogues that people consistently use to justify why they remain in an abusive and dangerous relationship. Many times, when we make certain decisions, it is difficult to see the true impact of what those choices are having on us and those around us. I remember speaking to an elderly woman about reasons why she would leave her husband. After asking her a range of definite relationship don’ts like cheating, having a child with another woman and not telling you about it, and abuse, my elderly friend calmly explained to me that, none of those reasons were good enough reasons to leave a marriage in today’s society. She highlighted how difficult it was to find a man and concluded by saying she prefers being a married woman to a woman without a husband. Naturally the loud mouthed opinionated girl in me wanted to immediately start screaming out several well documented points why I believed what she was saying was so wrong. But I didn’t. She clearly knew what worked for her and that was that.
Dealing with abuse in relationships is a difficult thing. Unless the individual person says enough is enough, there is no amount of talking or persuasion that will compel them to leave. Whether it is as a result of the Stockholm syndrome or a lack of love and appreciation for ones self, the reality is you cannot force anyone to leave a situation that to an extent they are happy to be in. like the post I saw this morning, most people have reasons that help them justify why they are still in abusive relationships. To this young lady, she would clearly stay with her man that beats her up until she passes out than be single and lonely. At the end however, it all boils down to one thing. Self Love. Do you love your self enough to want the best for you as God intended. It can be a difficult thing to break free from an abusive relationship, but if you are reading this post today and you have decided that enough is enough, I am here to tell you that you can do it. Muster the courage to walk away no matter how you feel. Let your head lead you, not your heart. Think about what is best for you and your children. You are the only one that can save you; it begins with a decision from you. Once you decide, you will find that there are people around that are willing to help you come out of it. Decide today that you will no longer be a punching bag and that you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. No situation is ever permanent, let today be the beginning of release from that abusive prison.
And always remember, be yourself, because everyone else is taken.