*Trigger Warning this blog post talks about domestic abuse/domestic violence*
Why am I writing about abuse on a blog about surviving chronic illness? I am writing it because enduring chronic disease with an abusive spouse makes it harder to survive and strive for the things we love. Abuse can happen in relationships when dealing with illness; people can get burnt out and become abusive because of the stress illness puts on them. However, someone being stressed out and in caretaker burnout does not give them the right to treat you poorly. It takes a weak person to want to destroy another and a strong person to want to lift others up with encouragement.
Whenever I think of you now, I feel sick to my stomach. A toxic love, an unlovable marriage, plagues my mind when I am thrust into the past. Why did I think that you were mine forever? You stayed with me in good and bad times, but you were not truly there. Your harmful heart hindered hatred towards me. The hatred grew into resentfulness, which shaped you into a demonic being trying to erase my existence.
Society blames women like me, telling us it is our fault for the abuse we face. Blame, lack of responsibility, and accountability are put on our abusers. Why? Why do people lack accountability? “You made me do this,” something that has been said to me countless times throughout my life. I didn’t make anyone do anything; people choose to be abusive, hurtful, and vindictive, my actions may cause a reaction, but it is that person’s choice to be offensive, abusive, dismissive, and heartless towards me.
Ending the cycle means going to therapy and stopping the cycle of hurting people. It means being accountable for one’s actions. Many men have told me, “No one will love you like I do,” as though I am loveless without them and will be without love. Abuse isn’t love; abuse kills love. Abuse drains the person being abused; it brings the survivor of abuse to a place where they become cynical and believe there is no true or pure form of love.
“No one will help you as I will,” comments are made to form some dependence on others. Comments made by abusers are their opinions, and they are not reality. Recognizing these comments come from a place of control and not love can help survivors realize they have self-worth outside of the abuser.
I think of you sometimes still and not with fondness; I think of the hurt you caused and the control you held over my life. I am no longer yours, and I am happy about that. Abuse isn’t being loved, abuse is control, and abuse is a way of manipulating another person for benefit. Abuse destroys people and relationships. Hurt people will continue hurting people if they do not address their trauma, causing more scars and marring others.
Being an abuse survivor means taking a stand against domestic abuse and violence. Not all scars are physical; some are psychological, and just because you don’t see the abusive nature of someone doesn’t mean it isn’t there. People are different when they are in a romantic relationship; they may act kindly towards friends but be a terror toward their spouse; this is why the stigma needs to end; this is why more people who have been abused need to share their stories when they are ready to break the silence and stigma of domestic abuse.