and then . . . he got up in my face

She sat on the edge of the bed, tears spilling from her eyes explaining to me how much she regretted calling the police. I listened intently to her story and realized she lacked clarity about her situation — of non-violent and violent abuse — and to come to terms with all that had transpired over the last several days she, above all else, needed some clarity.

The details were not uncommon. I’d heard them before and as usual the actions remained the same, only the names were changed.

“The rent money is gone” she continued. Spent at the local pub on several shots dropped into a glass of draft-pulled beer.

“I went to the pub” she said “and I took the beer in front of him and dumped it out and without saying a word walked out to my car.” Then he had followed her, approaching the vehicle with angry intent to settle things. She swiftly pulled away and drove to a connivence store and bought a bottle of water and sat in the parking lot for several minutes before returning to the apartment they shared.

“He’d left his door key so he broke in the door. He shattered the door jamb and now I can’t lock my door. Then he threw my grandmother’s pretty glass bowl into the glass coffee table and shattered both of them” she continued.

“After that I was afraid and called the police but before they came and took my statement he ran off; they found him and took him into custody; now I feel so bad about putting him in jail” she said.

“I didn’t know what I was doing. The officer used a lot of big words I didn’t understand and he told me to sign here and I did but I didn’t know I was signing to put him in jail!”

“How could I do this to someone I love” she said.

She explained about the bonding process and the court appearances to come and it seemed the only thing she wanted to do was to make her mistake go away.

This situation is not uncommon. Most women who find themselves in abusive relationships take on a feeling of self-doubt and guilt after such an incidence as described here. Think of it as having an emotional bank account you keep making withdrawals from without ever making deposits leaving you, over time substantially overdrawn. Each time you rest the guilt of another’s abuse towards you squarely back on your own shoulders you make a withdrawal from your emotional bank account. Finding your way back to a positive emotional cash-flow takes extreme measures to relearn your self-worth. And, I tell you, you are worth it. But, it does take time and inner strength to accomplish. Emotional health is worth all the effort put forth to attain it.

If you take nothing from this post please take away this: You are worthy of respect, self-respect and the respect of others.

Be willing to say to those you love — and this means everyone you love i.e. your friends, your spouse, even your children — that you are unwilling to endure any abuse whatsoever. And, say it to yourself first! Go ahead, stand in front of the mirror and say it to yourself, out loud, and daily until your mind and heart is accepting of this one thing, which should become the core of who you are. You are a woman who respects herself vastly and does not appreciate, nor will take abuse.

I remember when I was marring my second husband he asked me, as most men will do, what it was I wanted most of all. I told him I wanted him to understand that I was fine before I met him and I’d be fine if things did not work out. I’d be sad but I’d be fine. And I told him that I loved myself too much to live with any form of abuse, verbal or otherwise. I said it in such a loving way too. You don’t need to be abrupt or ugly about these things you simply need to let someone you love know that they can’t hurt you, you will not stand for it.

Will the young woman heed the advice I gave her?

Only time will tell but I can tell you she is very smart, and even given last nights events does has a positive-cash-flow in her emotional bank account. I’m sure she will find an appropriate way to express her concerns with her young man whom, at present, is feeling a bit ridiculous, as he should. And, I’m sure when she suggest to him he gain some insight into his behavior of last evening (which I understood to be a first time occurrence, so let us not banish him yet) and become, again, one of the good guys he will embrace her request with an open mind and an open heart.

Will this repeat itself? It is possible. It is also possible that this is a one time and only time she’ll ever need to witness this behavior. She’ll keep me posted over the next six months and I’ll keep you posted, if indeed, any post is necessary.

Oh, come on, you know you’re interested :0)

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