• Are Ya Sure Its Not Abuse?

    By Alexandra Humann
    Published: October 21, 2001
    Weíve all seen them beforeÖ That poor dishrag of a man or woman being dragged around site by an overbearing slob of a spouse or significant other whose behavior towards everyone makes you wanna cringe. Theyíre the person that wouldnít say a thing even if you cut their arm off and would probably give you the shirt off their back. But for some reason, none of us really want to be around their spouse because the way they treat everyone else (not just their spouse) borders on abuse.

    I am an abuse survivor. My parents ended up separating because my father was neglecting my mother and my mother wasnít much of a wife or mother The man that ended up taking my fatherís place was already living with us. I went away to camp and my father was gone. The man that my mother would end up marrying was a drinker, had a hair-trigger temper and a mouth like a long-shore man. Within 6 weeks, our family was just another abuse statistic.
    The saddest part is that the man my mother ended up marrying was what she was Ďtrainedí to put up with. At least 5 generations of women in my great-grandmotherís line ended up marrying violent, abusive drunks that terrorized them and their children.

    Itís been over 10 years since my stepfather passed away and every year I try to help someone else. This year I did, but she is still with her abuser. The sad part is that she doesnít even realize it. She is also a mom. The scary part is that by seeing his momma go through this, she is teaching her son that this behavior is acceptable. Whatís worse is that many women out there feel that if the other half of the relationship isnít hitting them, everything is fine.

    It will almost always start with verbal, emotional or mental abuse. It will almost always end with the other person hitting or raping you. It isnít an attraction issue. It has to do with power. If you stand up to someone like this, like it or not, you will end up in the hospital or dead. I really hate to admit to this, but for the most part, the abusive half of the relationship is almost always strong enough to do this.

    If you think the following about the other half of your relationship, you need to seriously seek help. A member of the clergy from your religion, the domestic abuse hotline or an abuse survivor (yes, there is a difference between survivor and victim):

    ďEverything is fine, but s/he just doesnít trust other people to talk/dance/be friends with meÖĒ
    This isnít OK. Arenít you an adult? This is controlling behavior and it DOES count as mental abuse.

    ďS/heís right, Iím ugly/stupidÖĒ
    Wrong. No woman is ugly. And stupid is a matter of behavior, not intelligence. This also counts as verbal and emotional abuse. Sadly enough, these two usually go hand in hand.

    ďI didnít want to tumble tonight and they forced me. Am I a tease (ice queen, frigid, etc, etc)?Ē
    Wrong answer. Even if youíre married, if you say no and end up having marital relations, in most states it counts as sexual assault and or rape

    ďS/heís so great when s/he hasnít been drinking. But they drink all the timeÖĒ
    Do you really want to be with a person that when they drink that beer becomes Mr. Hyde? How are you going to be able to explain the bruises to your children, family and co-workers? No one really believes the door excuse anymore, you know.

    ďS/heís right. I screwed up and I deserve this.Ē
    No one deserves to be hit. EVER. Not your kids, not you. This is physical abuse and itís illegal. And in some states, if a police officer even sees a bruise on you or your children, the officer will arrest the person that did it.

    Breaking the chain of abuse is the hardest part. My daughter was almost a year old and her father finally began to mistreat me in front of her He made me scream in pain one evening so badly that I was surprised his parents didnít knock on our door. They never did. I broke the chain of abuse when he started this. If it hadnít been for her, I wouldíve put up with it all, because I loved him. But I didnít want her to have the issues with men that I do. I want her to be happy and healthy in her relationships with others.

    I know that I sound like Iím preaching; that really isnít what I had in mind when I sat down to write this. But this is an issue that needs to be hammered home to women and men. Yes, I survived it. But because of my sentence, I canít handle some things. Iím scared to punish my daughter sometimes. I canít cry over anything. Iím nearly 30 and the thought of being in a completely dark room nearly sends me into a panic attack. My abuser has been dead over 10 years and I still have nightmares sometimes. And donít get me started on the smell of his cologne. The worst part is seeing the soup du jourís face when I ask him not to do/say something because of surviving this. And I am still trying to heal.

    If you donít break the chain of abuse for you, do it for your kids. Our role as parents is to raise them to be strong, independent adults, not victims and predators. ĎCause I donít know about you, but I donít want my daughter to be married to the overbearing slob that everyone detests so much that people not only gossip about him, but my baby, too.