Gypsie is a Registered Nurse, Therapist, and Biblical Counselor, passionate about strengthening and encouraging others.
For you, girl
Chances are that if you've selected this article, you, or someone you know is struggling inside of an abusive relationship. My heart breaks for these women, and my hope in writing this article is that it will reach the women that need it, empower them to leave, encourage them that better will come, and alert women of red flags that they should be watching for when dating.
As a Counselor, I can't begin to tell you the countless number of times that women have sat across from me, with tears pouring down their faces, asking me questions that I dreaded answering for them. "How do I change my abusive partner?" "How do I make him kind, gentle, and loving?" "How do I stop him from hurting me?" As many times as I have heard these, and questions similar to them, the answer was always the same, "You can't."
Too often, women find themselves in relationships that are anything but the perfect marital bliss that young girls grow up dreaming of. But far beyond imperfections lies a much more complicated, dangerous, and even, at times, fatal fate for many women. No woman wants to spend her life with a man that is abusive. Let me put that lie to rest right now. Repeat, every woman wants a man that loves, appreciates, respects, and is kind to her. Sadly, once a woman is in an abusive relationship, it's hard to escape. But let me encourage you, it is possible, and it will be the best decision of your life.
I've taken into consideration hundreds of confessions from the victims of abuse, and have selected several to share with you, as I hope and pray that this article will be the beacon of hope for any woman desiring to leave an abusive relationship. And for those of you committed to staying, I pray it changes your heart and is a flashing red warning light for what lies ahead for you.
"I noticed early on that he was very controlling. In the beginning though, it seemed more like he just worried too much. He wanted to know where I was, who I was with, what I was doing-the list went on. The longer we were together, the worst it became. When I refused to be who he wanted me to be, he turned on me."
Women start off in relationships looking for love. The biggest problem with this is that most women don't understand what love truly is. Love is free, unconditional, believes the best, and conquers all, right? Well, it should. Abusive men do not start off by beating their women. In fact, they tend to wrap their abuse in a warm blanket of "love" by convincing their partner that their control mechanisms, are simply care and concern. Women who have lived through abuse and talk about it will tell you that abusive men are control freaks. If you're dating and your partner begins to push you to be someone you're not, or questions the person that you are, run. A good man has a good heart. He will trust and believe in you for the you that you are. There is absolutely nothing loving about a controlling man. This is often where abusive relationships begin.
"I was on the fence about getting married. I had heard some horrible things about him from others, but I was so in love, or so I thought, that I convinced myself that what they had to say was from selfish envy. Even though, looking back, there were warning signs, I wanted to believe that he would treat me better, after all, he loved me. "
Many times, women will ignore the warnings from others believing that her new found love has somehow, magically and wonderfully, converted to being a man of integrity now that he has found her. Despite what the women that had previous relationships with him say, women are so desperately seeking for love, attention, and affection, that they will tell themselves whatever they need to in order to keep the relationship afloat. They ignore the truth, only to have to live through it themselves later.
History repeats itself and there are physiologic, mental, and behavioral components to help us better understand this process. Each person, male or female, is a well designed totality of life's experiences, learned behaviors, brain chemistry, and personal value systems. By the age of 25, the frontal cortex of the brain, responsible for making rational and logical decisions, has developed to it's fullest potential. In short, sweetheart, he is what he is. You can believe the best, but you will never change science. All the love in the world won't make him behave better for you, or act better towards you. Do not disregard warnings. Who he was to them, he will be to you. It's just a matter of time. Not all warnings come from angry women. Some women just know that their sisters in this world need their protection. Be careful not to assume that these women don't have your best interest at heart.
"It was our one year anniversary. I was so excited. It had been a rough year. We had definitely seen more downs than ups, but he had promised me that he would change, and I believed him. I packed my bags and waited for my husband to get home from work. Once he was ready, off we went. Once we got to our anniversary destination, it all started. I don't remember what the argument was about. It usually didn't take much of anything to set him off, but once he was angry, there was no turning back. We had taken a stroll down to a gazebo located behind the Bed and Breakfast we were staying in. We started off in a conversation, but it quickly escalated. I told him I wanted a divorce and I got up to walk away. He had been abusive before then, but never quite that extreme. As I walked away, he punched me from behind and I was knocked out instantly. The only thing that I believed saved my life that night was that there were other guests that had been sitting around a small fire on the hill. When they saw what he did they began to yell to scare him off and came down to assist me."
A lot of times, women will tell themselves that the abuse is okay. They overlook the yelling, the pushing, spitting, whatever it might be. They justify it by saying that it isn't "hard enough" or "bad enough" to be abuse. Furthermore, they convince themselves that because he promises it will get better, that it will. Sis, listen to me. If he was a good enough man to change his behavior, he would be the kind of good that doesn't touch a woman to begin with. He's lying sis. He won't stop. And not to break your heart, but he isn't even sorry.
"When we started dating, he went out of his way to make me feel special. He would bring me little gifts, help fix things around the house, treated me like a princess, and made me believe I was everything. As soon as got married, it all stopped. I had more bruises than presents, he broke more than he fixed, and made me feel worthless every day of my life."
Abusive men usually fall into one of several categories: Narcissistic, Sociopathic, or Psychopathic. They are the masterminds of manipulation. They know what women are looking for, know how to play the part, and are very convincing in doing so. Once a woman has moved in, married, or committed to this man, all of this will begin to change. An abused woman will often stay because she has high hopes that he will someday be the man he once was to win her love. Rest assured, you will not convince him to be the "man he use to be" because that man never existed. Sorry, sis; you were conned.
I know women want to feel loved by their partners, especially when you feel like he's everything to you. But, girl, you need to know the difference between a man loving you, and a man loving his need of you. A good man will never, even under the worst of circumstances, hurt you physically. Love will keep you safe. When a man loves you, he will do whatever is necessary to protect you; He won't be the one hurting you. However, for theses guys that are abusive men, they learn early on that they need a woman, despite their own incapability to love her. These guys are often extremely convincing, manipulative, and charming. You will not end up with the man you thought you were getting; That's why it's so important to walk away now.
"I tried. I tried to hard to be the best wife I could be. But nothing was ever enough. I could spend all day cooking and cleaning, praising him, giving my undivided attention to him, and yet, at the end of the day I was empty. He took and took, until there was nothing left of me. No matter how empty my cup was, he never poured into it."
As much as he points the finger at you, his behavior has nothing to do with you at all, and, girl, you need to hear that. Again, it's nothing you're doing wrong. He picked you for a reason. Abusive men appear to be the life of the party, the leader of the pack, and the guy that other guys think that they want to be. However, on the inside, they are cowards; afraid of any intimate connection. Their rage burns continuously, just waiting to lash out on some undeserving person. They are deceiving, and their own dishonesty prevents them from trusting anyone else. These kind of men almost always gravitate towards wonderful, compassionate women full of love, kindness, empathy, and good moral character. He chose you because he knew that you had a pure heart of gold. He knew you would love him long after his true colors were revealed. He can count on you, depend on you, lean on you, and trust in you-but you better understand now that he will never tell you this. On the contrary, he knows how unworthy he is. He knows that a good man would love and appreciate you every day that he doesn't. He can not lose you to a more deserving man, because these men are so arrogant that they believe they should have you even when they aren't worthy of your love. So, the only option he has is to brainwash you; to convince you that you are worthless and that no one else would ever want you. Abusive men have no boundaries. If they did, they wouldn't hurt you. YOU have to be willing to walk away from any man that speaks less of you than who you truly are. If you're giving way more than you're getting on a regular basis, he doesn't love you, he just loves his need of you.
"I wanted out. Every part of me wanted to leave. I went to talk with a biblical counselor early one morning. She was from my church, an older lady, praised for her knowledge on how to live a biblical life as a wife. I spent an hour telling her how awful it was. I told her about the many times he had choked me until I passed out. I told her about how he had pulled a gun on me, tried to push me out of a moving car, and threw me down the steps. I wanted to leave and I just wanted her to say it was okay. Instead, she lead me to the cross, told me that Jesus was submissive until death. I left feeling like she had just placed the nail in my coffin."
Many women do not leave abusive relationships because they are alienated. Abusers start early on isolating their victims from any potential aspect of hope or help. By the time a woman is ready to leave, she rarely has the resources to do so. Family and friends may not know how bad it is; if they do, they've often blamed her for staying, or refuse to get in the middle of their relationship struggles. When an abused woman wants to leave, she often finds herself without the way to do so, or the support she needs. Abusive men control finances, transportation, and often use those that she cherishes most as leverage to maintain the control he knows he is losing. Far beyond the neglect of family and friends to help, is the disappointing view of many churches and their leaders. Girl, listen to me when I say that God does not want you living with an abusive man. If you value your faith, and your relationship with God, this may be the one reason that you stay. So, let me provide some clear, biblical, rock solid, real biblical counsel. God, himself, divorced. His word is full of scripture that provides an escape from your torment. "Do not dwell with an angry man." " Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." " Do not walk with the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners." God created you-the beautiful, loving woman that you are. He made your heart to love, help, and nurture others. But girl, he never called you to be abused on a daily basis to a man that has no remorse and no genuine desire to be a different man. And let's face it, if it was genuine, he wouldn't still be the man that he is. The world needs your beautiful heart. He's not your ministry. Don't convince yourself of that.
"I remember getting that phone call. She was gone, and he had been arrested for her murder. They had had problems for years, but he was on medicine, getting counseling, and in church with her. We all thought things were getting better, not worse."
There may be abusive men that "want" to change; However, I would argue, that if he truly did want to change, he would. With that said, too many women believe that counseling, medications, or church attendance is going to change who he is. While I know the biggest and best argument to my claim that abusive men won't change is that God can change people, I do stand firmly when I say that abusive men almost always remain abusive men statistically. I'm sorry. Hell was created for a reason, and sis, you don't save people, only Jesus does. Medication and counseling may help with mood swings, but ultimately, he chooses the behavior. A violent man will be a violent man. Pray for, medicate, counsel, at the end of the day, he is who he is.
"I knew it was time. I had stayed 17 years longer than I wanted to, but I just didn't think I could go on without him. I convinced myself that having him was better than being alone. I was so beat down that I had forgotten my own worth and potential. Every awful thing he ever said played over and over in my head. I was convinced my life was over; but I knew in my heart I wasn't really living life anyways. I loved him so much. People don't understand, but despite who he was, I loved him. I still knew I had to leave. Looking back, I'm so glad I did. It wasn't easy. My heart hurt. I said goodbye to half my life."
Women almost always think about the "wrong" they will do by leaving. I've heard women say that he won't make it without them. I've heard women say that they loved him too much to leave. I've also seen some of these women lose their lives trying to love these men.
Sis, you don't love him. You're scared. Scared of the unknown, scared of starting over, scared of being alone, scared of being able to make it, but you don't love him. How could you? You've let feelings convince you of things that aren't true. You can't love him, because you don't even love yourself anymore. If you did, you would leave; you can not love him, until you love you. And when you do love you, you'll leave. I know you worry about him, but that's what he always wanted. You're bruised, broken, discouraged, and desperate for love, attention, respect, affection, and protection, and he doesn't care. Why do you? I know he's told you that he won't live without you, but truth is, you won't live with him. Regardless of what he does or doesn't do after you leave, he's a big boy and makes his own decisions. It's not your responsibility to protect him; It's your responsibility to protect you. This is just more of his manipulation, mind games, and control. You'll see when he finds his next victim. You won't be the first, nor the last, to hear about how life isn't worth living without you.Remember, he's a mastermind of manipulation.
"It's been 10 years since I left my abusive husband. It was hard, but I thank God every day that I did. I went back to college, got a home for me and my children. We're safe and they're so happy. I feel like God has blessed me with so much simply because I chose to leave the abuse. Since leaving, the sun just shines brighter."
Right now, some of you are reading this and are fighting back tears searching for answers. You've poured your heart, mind, body, and soul into a man that promised you the world, has given you nothing. Yet, even with his minimal effort, you're convinced it's as good as it gets. You're wrong. God made you to be a warrior, sis. He designed you to take that love within you and make the world a better place. You're on the sideline now. Life is passing you by and all you have to show for it his broken promises and the bruises he promised he would never leave again. I know he said it's different, now. But, isn't that what he's said every time? You're smarter than this. God has a wonderful plan for your life. But the choice is yours. It's simple, sis. Love doesn't hurt. Get your bags and go. Life, laughter, and love await you.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on March 09, 2020:
Love doesn't hurt. Loving the Wrong Person does!
Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.
Each of us has our mate selection process & must haves list.
Each of us has our own boundaries and "deal breakers".
If you're having one bad dating/relationship experience after another it's probably time for you to reexamine your mate selection process. The only thing all of your failed relationships have in common is (you).
Anyone who is unhappy in a relationship and (chooses) to stay is choosing to be unhappy. No one is "stuck" with anyone!
Suffering is optional. Know yourself, Love yourself, Trust yourself.
"Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."
- Oscar Wilde
Appiah Wilberforce on March 06, 2020:
love hurts a lot
ANJU VIVEK SHARMA from INDIA on March 05, 2020:
Love does hurt ....my experience