Safe, he felt Safe, very Safe, he felt like Home. But that wonderful feeling was about to be Shattered!
Rocky relationships of the past left me in fear. Fear of the future, fear of making the wrong choices, fear of another abusive relationship. I shared with him my experiences, how devastated I was. How I lost everything in the process, I shared with him the secrets of my pain and grief – He listened intently. He understood- he comforted me and he felt my hurt and pain. He promised that he would be different, I will take care of you he said. I truly love you and I want to look after you-you’re my soul mate he said and I believed him. Why wouldn’t I? After all, He is so kind, a real gentleman, and that is a rarity these days, it was evident he loved me. He is every women’s dream, he’s attentive, generous and downright charming to boot! Months past and in a vow of marriage, we pledged our hearts and lives to each other. We promised to love, protect and care for each other for the rest of our lives- we were truly together- forever.
And then it happened. Right there on our honeymoon, (as pictured above) totally unprovoked, he pushed and shoved me accompanied by the filthiest name-calling imaginable. He then made me sleep on the couch.
Numb with shock my mind raced to search for what had provoked my lovely new husband to take this action toward me. Was it my fault? He called it- beer talk. It didn’t make it any easier, it was as if he took a knife and cut open my heart with it and I was bleeding profusely and I physically felt the searing pain. Later, in our honeymoon it happened again without any provoking. and no beer was involved either, so it wasn’t beer talk! This time I admitted to myself I’ve made a dreadful mistake! He refused to accept that it was domestic abuse and was very offended and upset with me that I had made such a suggestion -still is.
He pleaded with me that didn’t mean it he said, it won’t happen again. Don’t give up on me, he said. Just a hick-cup in our marriage, all marriages have problems, he said. But he wasn’t a person of his word – broken promises, it did happen again and again and again.
Over time the abuse became more frequent, more violent, confiscating my phone was commonplace. Our honeymoon was the beginning of the end for the both of us. Fear replaced security, it was the end of him being my safe place – my home. The numbness I felt accompanied by fear was an unwelcome companion in our relationship. My safe place, my cwtch (Welsh for a safe place) had become a place of violence. The lovely man I fell deeply in love with, the one I invited into my heart and life, became an unpredictable stranger.
He was offered help and counselling time and again, he did try- for a while – and things were wonderful for a time. Then he said he was bored, then out of the blue, it would all start-up again, exactly the same pattern of behaviour would emerge once again, dashing any hope of a happy marriage.
Can you relate to this? Did you find a safe place within a relationship only to find that you were mistaken? Perhaps you are constantly feeling numb? You can’t express any feelings and you hide within yourself somehow. It’s impossible to laugh or smile, and crying does not come easy. You switch off somehow, you just get on with it and switch off from what is happening around you to cope and to try to make sense of the violence perpetrated against you. But what we don’t realise, is that we also switch off from life. We switch off from family, friends, social life, we switch off from our dreams and our plans for a happy future, depression sets in and we wonder why. We walk zombie-like through life feeling nothing. Numbed to the harsh words, the pickiness, the moodiness. We are numb to the physical violence, numb to the loss of control over our very selves. We mourn, we do it quietly, we do it privately, we feel very alone.
We never press charges. We protect our abuser out of loyalty and fear. So no-one will know what is happening behind closed doors, hoping that somehow, he would come to his senses and see the consequences of his abuse. We love them and want things back how it used to be, so we take responsibility for his behaviour, masking excuses for him. We pray and hang on for him to want to change, want to seek help, to be back to that wonderful person that we fell in love with. And we remain numb in the meantime. But with numbing-out, as I call it, which is a coping mechanism, the doors of our hearts eventually closed also, and we struggle to feel any love for ourselves or anybody else for that matter.
Living year by year within a violent relationship shuts us down.
Did you find a safe place within a relationship only to find that you are mistaken? Perhaps you are constantly feeling numb? Have you switched off from the thought of ever being happy?
Here at the beginning of the New Year, you have an opportunity to switch on that light and get rid of the darkness once and for all! You can swing open the door of your heart and let your spirit soar and to heal. An opportunity to take courage and let that numb-ness go, to return from that zombie-like state, to come alive and to realise that hey I’m worth it- I don’t deserve to be treated with such hate and contempt! 2017 is an opportunity for you to regain who and what you once were and all that you have lost in the process. Even if you do it singing to the tune of These boots are made for walking
Proverbs 12:18 – The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 16:24 – Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bone.
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By Paula Rose-Parish