Abuse Victims & Self Empowerment

Emptiona Prisons

We’ve all seen, or are at least aware of the Ray Rice elevator video of him knocking his then fiancée, Janay Palmer out cold.  Of course this promptly sparked numerous conversations, articles and blog posts dissecting abusive relationships and what causes people to stay in them. No one can fully answer that question except the victim but even then, the fog of relationship war with all its physical and emotional trauma, unhealed wounds and sheer physical exhaustion can cause a person to not fully comprehend what is going on.

There is a profound loss of freedom for an abuse victim, not usually with physical barriers but unseeing mental ones that bind the mind in to thinking there is no way out. In severe cases it’s a form of slavery where the abuser keeps his prey around not out of love but to control, dominate and fulfill his needs. The abused person is devalued to the point where *she really believes she has no worth and would not survive without her abuser.

Whatever the reasons a person stays in a harmful relationship; kids, finances, fear for their safety, co-dependency issues, you’ll never really get to the heart of it as an outsider. I’m not inside Janay Palmer’s head and so am not at all qualified to comment on what she should have done or should be doing now. This post is not about her or anyone specific person but thoughts on abuse victims in general.

After a public incident of abuse, there is always incessant talk on who or what is to blame outside of the abuser himself.  Much of this I believe is unhelpful at best and just blatant self-important posturing at it’s worst like the ridiculous diatribe ESPN commentator Kate Fagan made about the need to spend millions of dollars reprogramming how we raise men.”  Abuse is an enormously complicated subject that requires deep thought and empathy from those wanting to help plus an honest look at how personal responsibility plays a role.

**That process has to involve an abused person looking within though to see why she allowed a person like that in to her life in the first place and repeatedly put up with such awful treatment. Do I mean they are responsible for getting themselves beat up? Absolutely not but the point here is to focus on what would actually help that person and I believe a national conversation about abuse that doesn’t mention a need for the abused to change things about themselves does them and future victims a disservice.

First of all, it makes it seem like any woman at any time could suffer from abuse and there is nothing she can do about it. This is just not true and not only because most men are not abusers but because an emotionally healthy woman’s immune system will not tolerate an abusive partner for long.   A person with emotional baggage however that makes her vulnerable to bad people could be left with the impression that men being violent with women is just the way things are and prevent her from doing the inner work needed for change.

I’d like to see the narrative on abuse formed around empowering its victims by making it ok for them to be open about their weaknesses. ***There is so much shame in our culture around admitting your faults that even normally shameless day time TV is hesitant to bring it up when talking about abuse victims. What if this were not so though?

Can you imagine what the response would be if after the next celebrity abuse incident, the victim came out and said, “The reason I stayed with Mr. Bigshot for so long and allowed him to treat me so poorly is that I have some deep areas of hurts in my soul which required filling regardless of what else came with it. I am fully aware of this now and have left Mr. B in order to heal and could use your prayers and support as I do so.”

I think it would be overwhelmingly positive, not only for the celebrity victim as she embarks on her path of healing but for those suffering silently and who may be inspired by such a display of vulnerability and courage.

Look, we all have broken parts to us that affect the way we react to things, many of which we probably aren’t even aware of. When a person reaches bottom though, that’s when a choice has to be made to either continue living in unawareness and attracting the same sort of crap that is making you miserable, or look within to identify things that may be contributing to the situation and how you can change them. That’s empowerment and is something we should encourage.

*Many men suffer from abusive women but for the sake of simplicity and continuity I’ve kept the terms as he/she for abuser/abused.

**For more information on how we bring about our own healing see Melanie Tonia Evan’s very incisive blog on overcoming narcissist abuse and how our “unhealthy parts attract other people’s unhealthy parts” at http://www.melanietoniaevans.com/

***Researcher Brené Brown has done great work on the subject of shame and vulnerability. Her book “Daring Greatly” is a fantastic resource on this topic as well as her blog, http://brenebrown.com/ .

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23 Responses to Abuse Victims & Self Empowerment

  1. Hey, great blog. You show remarkable intelligence and maturity.

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  2. Tricia says:

    We’ll thanks Male Matters. I like your blog too, it’s interesting for me to read about things like The so called War on Women from a man’s perspective.

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  3. Pingback: F Bombs For What? | Freedom Through Empowerment

  4. Ray Rice got let back in the NFL this week heh. He is an abusive guy, but I do agree they couldn’t punish him twice for what he had already been punished for. It should now fall on who messed up in their investigation. =\

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    • Tricia says:

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with you too. Honestly I’m not even sure the NFL should be involved with stuff like this unless criminal charges are filed. Ray Rice knocking his then fiancé out cold was disgusting and outrageous but it’s really more up to her to decide what she will put up with from there. She chose to stay and hopefully he has cleaned up his act.

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  5. Great post! It’s good to know others are taking a good look at these things, too.

    Amen to this, too, “That process has to involve an abused person looking within though to see why she allowed a person like that in to her life in the first place and repeatedly put up with such awful treatment.” That’s really the kindest and most healing thing we can do for people. That’s where their power lies, their healing, their future safety.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This perspective would be called victim blaming. I understand that you’re trying to explain why someone would stay with an abuser, but the idea that a “healthy” person wouldn’t date an abusive person in the first place? False. When you first meet someone, he or she only shows the good sides. The abuse starts slow, subtle. The abuser is a great manipulator, and uses lies, brainwashing, and other techniques to keep his or her victim in the realtionship. That’s why it can take so long for the victim to get out of the relationship. Because he or she is terrified of what the abuser could do, and because the abuser brainwashed him or her.

    When you understand the psychology behind abuse, it’s easier to make sense of why it happens, and why it’s so difficult for people to get out of abusive relationships. But explaining it away with the excuse that the woman isn’t healthy and shouldn’t have dated him in the first place only makes abuse victims feel worse. It’s offensive and inaccurate. I’m just saying this in case someone who has been abused reads this post. I know abuse victims, and this is a damaging perspective to have when helping someone who has been abused.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Hi Rebecca, thanks for your comment. As I mentioned in the post, “Abuse is an enormously complicated subject that requires deep thought and empathy from those wanting to help plus an honest look at how personal responsibility plays a role”, which I just don’t see as victim blaming. I also plainly state, “Do I mean they are responsible for getting themselves beat up? Absolutely not but the point here is to focus on what would actually help that person and I believe a national conversation about abuse that doesn’t mention a need for the abused to change things about themselves does them and future victims a disservice.”

      While you are correct an abuser/manipulator takes their time in wooing someone in to their web of horrors, many large, flaming red flags go up along the way that are ignored due to unhealthy co-dependent needs being met, which is one reason why it can be so difficult for the abused to break away from their monster. Even when they finally do, if they don’t face up to and address those unhealthy parts, it’s only a matter of time before another abuser steps in to fill the role. I think one of the most empowering things a person can do for themselves is to take an honest look at how they may be contributing to their own problems and taking steps to change. On the flip side, one of the most lovable acts a friend can do is help their suffering friend realize this and walk with them through their recovery. I speak as someone who was emotionally and verbally abused.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad you survived through your abuse and are speaking about the topic.

        Here is a good Time article that explains some of why women stay with abusers.

        I just think we have to be careful with topics like these because when we say things about how we have to “take a look at how they may be contributing to their own problems” is putting blame on the victim and saying that the victim is part of the problem. This is dangerous because someone who is abused already feels like it’s his or her fault, and so when someone says things like that, it’s just perpetuating the myth that the victim is part of the problem.

        The abuser is the one at fault. The victim should take steps to get out of the relationships safely and with the help of friends, family, and maybe the police, but he or she should never feel like she did things to cause the abuse or keep it going. That would be horrifically damaging emotionally.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tricia says:

          Well thank you Rebecca, I appreciate the kind words. We are definitely on the same page as far as wanting what’s best for abuse victims, we just both obviously have different view points on what may or may not be helpful. My post was not about singling out the personal responsibility of the abuse victim as the only factor or trying to blame/shame them, but that to have a national discussion about abuse as we were at the time of the Ray Rice incident and leave this off the topic for discussion was disservice for victims. It’s a touchy subject and I went to enormous pains to point out that it’s impossible to get inside a person’s head and that there are multiple reasons an abused person may stay in a toxic relationship. Personally I believe our society is rapidly succumbing to a victimization narrative which I don’t think bodes well for any of us, but that’s a post for another day! 😉 When I have time later I’m going to check out your blog, I’m sure you’ve got some interesting things to say.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You’re welcome, Tricia. And thanks for the great discussion. I do think it’s important to have an open dialogue about abuse and show that it’s still so unfortunately common in our culture.

            Thank you, I’m glad you’ll look at my blog. Great discussion, and thanks for commenting back. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh all this happiness between you two makes me so angry! Angry! lmao! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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