This is the final post in my October series specifically aimed at domestic violence. Of course, I’m not done discussing relationships but this is the fourth installment of this specific series.
I used to be fascinated or rather perplexed at how people would not leave abusive relationships. However, this fourth reason is one of the biggest reasons why I stayed in my abusive relationship as long as I did. I made excuses. I once specialized in giving people the benefit of a doubt to a fault.
When we make an excuse for someone’s offensive and unreasonable behavior we generally need another excuse to follow. We’ll also find ourselves trying to defend their behavior to our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. The biggest red light is when we have to make the excuses make sense to ourselves. You know, the excuses that sound like lies (because they are) and make us second-guess what we believe to me true about people and behavior. The ones we struggle to consistently believe. Those excuses.
There’s something in our gut that tells us that the excuses aren’t accurate but we continue to attempt to believe them. Sometimes we’re naive. Sometimes we really believe what we’re saying but we also realize it doesn’t match our reality and it lacks logic. The following are examples of excuses we make for behaviors instead of confronting them or removing ourselves from the relationship. They are definitely not all-inclusive.
God will help them out. They just need time.
They didn’t really mean what they said.
We just need to talk about it and they’ll realize they were wrong.
Maybe I’m too difficult. This is all my fault.
Maybe I make them feel uncomfortable.
He/she is just tired.
I guess I dont really deserve money – I do spend a lot.
I’ve gained weight and I should really get back to my original size. Then I’ll be treated nicely.
He/she is just more spiritual and knowledgeable than me. I need to conform to their ideas.
Maybe my friends are being too hard on him/her. I could just spend less time with them. I don’t like conflict anyway.
He/she had a rough childhood. I should be grateful our relationship isn’t worse.
They didn’t push me that hard. It was more of a firm shove. I was too close to them anyway.
They raise their voice at everyone. They are just being consistent. That’s a good thing.
None of these excuses can stand on their own as legitimate reasons why you should be abused, assaulted, talked down to, be threatened to be made homeless, have money withheld, etc. These excuses are not enough. They require further investigation and explanation. But so often we make them and we stay trapped in unhappiness. We stay trapped in vulnerable conditions that threaten our safety. We stay in environments that put pressure on our minds and bodies. Of course, everyone has flaws and everyone needs someone to be patient with them at some point. But abuse is not a flaw. It is a choice. It is a lifestyle that one can get help to overcome. No one has to be an abuser and no one has to be abused.
What choice are you going to make? Will you continue to make excuses that need further explanation? Will you pull away from every friend and family member that your significant other doesn’t like? Are you willing to suffer more black eyes, punishments that include being locked in rooms or forced to stay at home alone? Are you willing to continue being manipulated? What are you getting out of the relationship that makes all of that worth it? That’s not happiness. That’s not love. Love doesn’t make you trapped. I’d like to share a few lines with you from my book, MsMissy Speaks.
As humans, we tend to have a problem with love. The truth is that we hear and use the word love a lot, but experience it far less. There is so much hatred, jealousy and bitterness. Human life is so easily created and just as easily taken away. We lack love for family, friends, neighbors and ourselves. We lack love for God. We also lack the expectation of receiving love. We often settle for the mediocre. We’ve grown more comfortable with emotional stimulation than a genuine experience with love.
Writing those words made me come to terms with how much I had settled. It made me face how much confidence I had lost in receiving love. However, regardless of our individual experiences, Love is. Love is Real. Love is kind. Love is faithful. Love is not easily angered. Love lifts up. Love corrects but with gentleness and strength. Love is courage. Love is hope. Love doesn’t need a plethora of excuses. It just is.
As Domestic Violence Awareness month comes to a close, I welcome you to start a new journey. I welcome you to be self aware. I challenge you to study your strengths and weaknesses, your voids and pain. I challenge you to spend November getting to know who you are and what you need. As humans, those two will always evolve. This is why we need to always stay in tune with our hearts. I wish you all the best. I wish you many blessings. May you choose life and to walk in healing.