I Was Told to Ignore the Abuse

They told me to ignore the words you said, “Don’t let him get to you. Try a different way of being. Be different; let him know you want him. He is just frightened of commitment. He will calm down soon.” I started to see your entitled feelings; I think they are reasonable and justified.

He loves me. He wants me. I should be happy. I have a man who loves me; some don’t care enough to want to be with me.

They suggested that I  make things pleasant for you, so that you feel special.

***

I hid a bottle of wine under the bed for protection, when you came in drunk.

I puzzled for ages, pondering why you act this way. Is there a why, or is it just anger and resentment at me because I am a woman, mother, daughter, sister, friend…..?

***

I reached out but pulled back as soon as I reached. Fear and shame. Oh, the shame I felt.

What is happening to me? Why am I involved with you? I saw the signs, and I ignored them. Their advice was to ignore your disdainful contemptuous commentary. What they did not know was that I stopped listening to your nasty words the moment we got together.

“Is this naked housework?” he said scornfully — his words laced with tones of malice, hatred, bitterness, and resentment. I was wearing my best little black dress, for the occasion.

Again, I was told not to listen. They said the words that you use do not represent your true feelings. They said you are tired, your response misguided; a reflection of your bad mood. I was assured that your mood swings have nothing to do with me.I still wondered though if your abuse was because of me; maybe I deserve to be treated this way.

What if he is my true soul mate? What if I let him go? How will I ever find someone special? Someone just right for me?

They said, “You chose him, you lie with him; now you stay with him.” 

I might as well stay. Does the way he treats me even matter? Will it kill me?

***

You leaned over to kiss me, before leaving to go to the pub. I moved my face away from the kiss; I was frightened that you would pull it back. I did not want to kiss you that night; I was angry that you were going to the pub. Then, in a moment of panic, I thought, “Why did I do that? What if my reaction was the reason you do not change? We could be happy if I didn’t miss the opportunities, keeping my eyes open to see your reactions.”  

Of course, my thoughts were wrong; you do not do any of these things because of me, you do them because you can.

***

That night I woke to find you in the bedroom drunk whispering to me, “Fat bitch. Fat selfish bitch.” I laid there our child inside me, feeling frightened, wondering  if I felt anger or not? I could not tell, it was hard to think. I cannot think, can not do; I can’t move.

Again, I am told not to listen, that I should ignore your words. “Move on and don’t let it get to you, don’t let it get you down. You can work with this, why don’t you express how his behaviour feels? Why don’t you change, so he doesn’t feel this way? You should talk to a therapist; then he will see what he is doing, how wrong it is and how it affects you and your family.”

I don’t tell the therapist anything because I know she will work out who is to blame; she will say it is all my fault. That is what I think. I hear these words in my head,“You are wrong. You should change. Don’t be yourself; you are too sensitive, just making a fuss. You are the one that is too much; it is you.”

I hid what was happening from the therapist; I knew that when we got home you would be upset. You were upset anyway.

I often wondered why we had to go to therapy; we go and come home. Nothing changes.

I wait for you to arrive from work, you burst in the door, your behaviour is always unpredictable and angry. I am frightened, I try to make things better, but I make it worse.

***

I want to fold myself into a smaller shape; I want to become less and less. I like to fold the towels just so because they look neat and they fit in small spaces better. I want to be like those towels; I want to fit into a small space. I don’t want you to find me.

I question, if I have the right to complain.

If I don’t talk about this it to anyone, maybe I can convince myself everything is ok. I tell myself that there is nothing wrong; this will pass.

I should buy cigarettes, and alcohol for you; that will help smooth your mood and make you feel better. I assure myself that if I can put up with your behaviour, everything will be ok.

***

Sometimes he says that I smell of piss, like an old woman, a dirty old woman.

I wonder, what do I smell like? I can’t tell anymore. Is my scent baby sick, sweat, blood or nappies? Why do I smell? Did I always stink?  I counter my thoughts, by saying to myself “Of course I have always reeked. You are the only one who pointed it out, because you care about me”

My self-esteem is skewed. I do not believe what I should know, that I am enough. Instead, I tell myself that I am not.

AM I ENOUGH?

I want to shout these words out loud, I need to believe them.

Photo Credit: H o l l y. Flickr via Compfight cc

Victoria Telfer-Smith

I am a counsellor who uses hypnosis in treatment. I use therapy to work with clients to achieve the life they want to. I also work with traumatised and abused people who are finding it difficult after a trauma they have endured. I use hypnosis for childbirth and fertility issues as well as post natal depression. I feel therapy is life affirming, when humans feel pain, both emotional and physical, they may need to receive support and guidance to deal with it, that is how I work.