Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
~ Maria Robinson ~
The New Year is upon us! As the year comes to an end, I am becoming more and more reflective. Not just on the past year, but on the past several years. If you are reading this, you likely fall into one of three categories; you are in a domestic violence relationship, you are a survivor of one, or you know someone who falls into the first two categories. So, I want to address all three categories separately.
If you are currently in a domestic violence relationship, your primary focus is likely in the here and now. Maybe you look back and wonder what you did wrong and how you got to this place. Maybe you don’t look to the past at all, but simply focus on how to survive each day physically and/or mentally. The important fact to remember is that there is nothing that you did to deserve a violent relationship. There is not one behavior, that you can exhibit, that rights abuse from another. If you feel you are stuck in an abusive relationship, you have to first believe in yourself and know that you should not be where you are. Even though you cannot go back and change the past, you can change your future. Focus on getting help and getting out; only looking to the future and the freedom that is there. Please make this your year for getting the help that you need and taking your life back. It will be worth it and you will find yourself again.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence, I hope you are healing and living your life to the fullest. The most freeing feeling in the world is to wake up in the morning, happy with who you are and the potential in your life. Even the strongest individual will carry scars, which sometimes interferes with daily life. But time heals, and focusing on the past only brings bitterness. It changes nothing. Only we can change the course of our lives by looking at the positives and how far we have come. This new year will bring more growth and freedom if only we allow it to.
If you know someone who is, or was, in a domestic violence relationship, know that although you may not be able to comprehend what is going on in their mind, you can still support them through this struggle. If they believed that they could get out, they would. But, they don’t believe they have an option. Sometimes it is because they are scared or have been threatened. Sometimes it because they believe they are doing the right thing by upholding their marriage vows, and they are praying for change to come to their partner. Sometimes they are embarrassed or believe that the abuse is directly related to their actions. And, more likely than not, they are not thinking “normally.” Abuse takes a toll on the mind and heart that is even hard for a survivor to understand. You have been there, but you can’t understand why you believed and thought what you did. Be there to listen, let them know they are loved, tell them kindly that what they are experiencing is not normal and not ok, and let them know that you will help them when they are ready. Nothing can be done until they are ready, but being a support to them may be all the validation they need to walk away.
In 2013, it is my hope that each of you will survive and flourish, no matter your situation!