The One Who Will Be Abused After You
Violet is ready to leave her abusive husband - almost. She struggles with what-ifs, but I sense she has one foot out the door already. She asked in her comment,
"I think about him meeting someone else; what if he is good to her? Does that make her better than me? I know someone else addressed this, but it is a real fear of mine. Am I making him act this way?"
Am I Making Him Act This Way?
Fifteen days after leaving my husband, Will, I came to a powerful realization. I wrote on my blog and this is what I said:
You see, once upon a time, I believed Will when he said that I made him angry. I made him yell. I made him go into a$$hole mode. I made him want to hit me. I made him cut me down. I made him use physical force to subdue me. I must have thought I thought I was pretty damn powerful, being able to spin that man around in such a tizzy that he would justify his own behavior by blaming me for it.
There is a flip side of being so omnipotent and powerful. I could make him mean, hateful, vengeful even…but I couldn’t make him love me, I couldn’t make him respect me or be nice to me. What’s the point of being “omnipotent” when your “powers” only work against you?
Fact is, I tried to make him love me for me, and when that didn’t work, I thought he’d love me as his baby’s mother. When that didn’t work, I morphed into the house frau he said he wanted me to be. Along the way, I’ve tried to be his mother, his MawMaw, his aunt; I even tried to be “more like” other people he’d point out to me. I tried to make him love me, and I couldn’t do it.
So why did I buy into the idea that I could make him angry?
I think that believing I could make him feel something was better than acknowledging he would never feel love for me. I thought there was something broken inside me, something that I could fix. I forced myself into fits of depression thinking that there, at the bottom of the pit, I would find the thing that made me so unlovable. Once I found it, I thought I could pluck it out and dispose of it, then rise to the surface of myself to find that he was able to love me.
I do not wonder why I spent so long looking for something that was broken [inside of me]…I know that I wanted a happy marriage, a loving husband, a close family. I wanted what I wanted when I married Will – to be a part of his life, to share myself and my gifts with him believing that we complemented one another and together, we were unstoppable. I wanted this so badly that I stuck around for almost 18 years trying to create it.
Underneath it all, we want to know we're lovable. Abuse convinces us that we are not lovable, not even likable. Abuse convinces us we're sub-human and everyone else in the world can see it. Abuse shames us, it shames and dims the light God meant for us to shine bright for all the world to see.
Our abusers circled our light in the beginning like a moth to the flame. Our abuser wanted us, just as we were, because they thought we could share our light with them, and "make" them better for it. The abuse begins when the abuser realizes that no one, specifically not their victim, can cast a light so bright that it illuminates their own darkness. And trust me on this one, abusive people live in a very dark place.
What If He Is Good To Her? Does That Make Her Better Than Me?
Your abusive mate will find another light shining brightly from another person that beckons them like a moth to a flame. After you are gone, your abuser can no longer believe that verbally, emotionally, or physically beating your light out of you will work. Your abuser may wonder what they ever saw in you, seeing that your light faded so drastically. Your abuser will not comprehend that the effects of the abuse caused your light to fade, and they certainly will not wait around in their darkness to see if your light reignites.
Your abuser will find another person who shines brightly. Your abuser will wow his New Light with loving actions, sweet words; your abuser will seem to the New Light like a gift from heaven. The New Light will probably be a lot like you.
The New Light is no better than you. Sure, you may feel defeated right now, but your light is on the mend. You are coming back into who you are and always were. But your abuser's New Light is on the way to darkness. You probably won't see it happen because, if you remember, the Abuse is kept a secret. You are no longer allowed to see your ex-abuser's inner world because you've been cast out.
But you KNOW.
Please remember that despite your ex-abuser's opinion of you, Abuse is always wrong in its judgments. Abuse seeks to kill what lives when Love seeks to nurture what lives. Loving yourself in the absence of abuse nurtures you. It guides you to new insights. You realize that no one is better than or less than, we're all simply trying to shine our lights. You heal. You believe your Self again, and any pain caused by seeing your abuser with a new victim subsides into the light of truth.
Jo, K. (2012, September 27). The One Who Will Be Abused After You, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 6 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2012/09/the-one-abused-after-you
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
I am afraid to look back in 20 years and say the same thing. But I don't know what is stopping me from going? Things have been better. But this happens; we ho back to the honeymoon phase and then, just when I'm getting comfortable, $hit hits the fan. But I am sucked back in...maybe this time things are different. Maybe this time he loves me enough to be good to me. The whole while I am just so mad at myself.
I currently in a 20 year marriage strangely similar to the one you described. The biggest difference is that I am the husband. I am thankful for your posting this. Hopefully others will take the warning and not stay as long as you did and I have. It is hard to face. If I just try again a little harder...maybe she won't be so mad at me. Maybe she will show love for me.
This is how I have felt for the past 20 years.
And don't even bother trying to warn the next victim, no matter how morally obligated you feel to do so, they will never listen (would you have, when you were so blindly in love with the charmer?). They will find out soon enough, your warnings only make them deny it longer, to prove you wrong. They will team up against you, impeding your healing and bonding them even more which will make the future abuse easier and more devastating for the victim. You learned your lesson, now move on and let others learn theirs. I made that mistake, but never will again.
I tried to warn her and she did exactly as you said - she bonded to him even more and I'm the enemy and they have teamed up against me - the whole family actually which has hindered the healing process. He warned me that walking away from him would bond him to her more. He knows what he is doing! I figured if I have to compete with another woman then he really doesn't love or value me to say the least. She is definitely being used because he was willing to leave her to keep me and when I wouldn't forgive him because I began loving myself that's when he began threatening me and their bond grew stronger. It is so deranged! My greatest challenge now is minimizing my daughter's exposure to the abuse that will occur in this new relationship. I was so happy to leave and take my daughter out of this environment only to find out that the exposure exists with another woman. smh.
Thank you. It is difficult to regain self-confidence after emotional abuse makes you feel unlovable. Your article reinforces that even though they look happy (didn't you, when you were going through it, because you didn't want everyone to know what a failure you were?), it doesn't mean there really was anything wrong with you. That is just the abuse still trying to control you with lies.
And then there are the ones who tell you that you weren't really abused, you are just crazy. They are continuing the abuse; don't listen to them, ESPECIALLY if they are only going by what the abuser says. NO ONE will understand unless they go through it.