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DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE
“If you wouldn’t try so hard to make me angry…” “OK, fine. But I’ve never actually hit you.” “Oh I’m not even that bad, you’re being dramatic.” “That’s not true, I don’t remember that happening.”
Do these phrases sound familiar? For your sake, I hope not. Trouble is, I can bet that there’s a lot of you that recognize some or all of those words, or could tell me a similar phrase that has been used on you.
Words, they say, can’t hurt you. I disagree. Words are extremely powerful. They are my greatest tool, and also my worst enemy. Words can cut like a knife, make your day better, ruin your career, inspire you to celebrate, or shatter your heart. People with ill intentions often use words to confuse their targets. Words will be spun and twisted around until you’re not sure what’s true. To belittle, minimize, and devastate even.
Domestic Violence Awareness month is observed every October. Domestic violence happens every day, though, at a rate of about every 15 seconds in America. Physical abuse is often highlighted, but emotional, psychological, and other forms of abuse also happen entirely too often. The absence of physical injury and scars does not mean that an abuser is any less destructive or devastating to their target.
I’ve always had a hard time with understanding people who aim to “mess with the head” of other people. Manipulating or controlling… generally, with intent, hurting other people? I don’t get it. I don’t see how a person, even in anger, can watch a loved one cry but continue to lash out at them, let alone be blind to the anguish they cause. Disagreements will happen, and feelings will be hurt, of course, it’s the nature of communications between humans. But “love” shouldn’t hurt.
Love is conflict resolution, not bullying into submission. Love is working out differences, not being made to adhere to the will of the meaner or more powerful personality. Love is give and take, not constantly working to keep from upsetting your partner. Love in a relationship is not synonymous with fear. And if, in your relationship, you have a fear of your partner… whether that fear is of a physical, psychological, or emotional upset… something isn’t quite right.
Do not suffer in silence, there are people who will listen. Do not suffer in isolation, there are people who care. Do not reduce yourself as a person to satisfy the will of someone else, because exactly who you are should be what your partner encourages, not something they need to force you to change.
You should have a boyfriend, not a bully. A wife, not a willfully ignorant oppressor. A partner, not a force to recon with. A love, not a fear.
Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233), www.thehotline.org
Be strong. Be courageous. Be brave.