Please ignore this post if you want to avoid political issues:
Once upon a time, not so long ago as it now seems, I was in an abusive relationship. What I saw then, I see now in Washington.
Before I had committed to this relationship, I thought, quite naively that with nothing but hard work and good will, you can fix any problem. I learned that is not the case in a relationship (“I will not negotiate.”) and that if both of you are not working on said relationship (“legislative arsonists”), there is really no hope of repairing said relationship. If one party won’t even go to counseling to try and resolve the problems (negotiations with Iran, not Republicans), and even tell the party going to counseling, now alone, that THEY are the problem in the relationship so THEY need the counseling (“punish your political enemies”). I was constantly being accused of things he was doing, cheating, abusing, etc. ( “Immoral” “racist” “war on women”). While my partner was completely sane and I was absolutely, certifiably crazy (“tea party jihadists”), it seemed that there was no place we could meet until I either agreed he was correct (“Republicans are screwing the poor”) or that I was, in fact, crazy (“wacko birds”).
I realize now that the abuse was allowed to continue because I ignored it (media coverage on Benghazi). I let it all pass without comment. Once my mother even told me that I was being abused and I laughed it off. That couldn’t be possible, I had followed ALL the rules (‘win elections if you want change’).
I thought that the disagreements could be resolved by coming to an understanding of what we both had in common (polls show that most people agree restoring manufacturing base, tort reform, government surveillance, TSA revamped, education reform, in America is a good idea) we could work on that goal and put aside the conflicts to address them at a later time. For the first few times I was abused, I took the offered apologetic bouquet of roses, thinking the apology sincere (clinging to their guns and religion). As it happened again and again, I realized that he wasn’t really interested in changing our relationship. Abuse was fine as long as it was followed with a bouquet of roses (“now we can move forward”). I realized that I had to leave (Tea Party forms in retaliation of Bush policies).
I lost a lot of friends who couldn’t bring themselves to still fellowship me while fellowshipping my ex. That hurt, because not only were they ‘picking sides,’ they had picked my abuser, someone who confessed to the abuse (“I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system”), instead of embracing us both as we walked through the healing process. I had to walk through that healing process without the support of the people I had once considered the foundation of my personal support (Tea Party split with mainstream Republicans).
My recovery seemed like a very long, very hard road, but looking back, it wasn’t quite so long as it seemed. Problems were resolved through Divine Intervention and a few choice friends I had no idea would become my saviors. Family often came through, and I discovered the fulfillment of romantic dreams in ways that I never would have imagined myself.
Through this process I learned several things:
- Be aware of patterns and decide early if they are good or bad
- Abandon destructive patterns
- God is smarter than I am
- Sometimes you have to give up good things for better paths
- Listen to your friends and not people who are content to keep you in a destructive cycle.
I thought that abused women were idiots for staying in their situations. When I thought this, I didn’t realize that *I* was in fact, in the same sort of situation. Sometimes you don’t realize the abuse. I hope–I wish–everyone would learn the same things before being abused. I am sorry for the time that I thought I was above it all, and that I knew what I was doing. I didn’t and I’m sorry that I didn’t leave more of it up to God and less of it up to people around me–especially the people that didn’t even like me (like my ex). I wish I had acted sooner. But I’m glad I acted when I did and that it is now, mostly over.
As for America and the abuse within the system, the abuse of one party on another, or within the party, or accepting destructive cycles as status quo–I hope that will end soon too.
One thought on “Surviving Abuse”
What a beautifully written piece and a perfect analogy! Here’s hoping we can survive the current abuser without too much damage. Lots of us out here, like you, were able to make it through the personal abuser with our souls intact and a little stronger for it; this current abuser can not be allowed to play with our hearts/souls/minds/lives anymore….it’s time to stand strong together and dump the abusers before they dump us! <3
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