Am I in Denial About Abuse? Are You?
Denial. I don’t want to think that I am still in it. That I can’t or won’t see the reality of something that happened. If I tell my story, am I afraid people won’t hear, won’t see, won’t understand? Are they in denial too?
Recently it came to my attention that I was sharing part of my story as domestic violence. It took me a long time to accept that this is what you call it when an intimate partner is abusing you. However, I always seemed to make sure when I shared my story, that it included the disclaimer that it was violence, but not the “hitting” kind. He never hit me. Other abuse, yes, but not physical. Then it came to me that I would give an exception…..well, except for the one time…but he was asleep and I am sure he didn’t mean to hit me right on my incision on my chest, less than 12 hours after surgery. I am sure it was an accident. I am sure he didn’t mean it.
Listen to your soul…
I remember at the hospital when they were sending me home at 10 p.m. instead of allowing me to spend the night, that I was afraid to go home. Why was I afraid? Well, it was a difficult time in our marriage, in fact, this moment in time was only six weeks before he decided to ask for a divorce. So who knows what was going on in his mind. Or mine. But something in my body, in my gut, in my soul was saying…. You are not safe. That was several years ago.
I recently experienced a therapy called EMDR. That stands for Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing. This therapy helped me piece together some memories that didn’t make sense to me and I wanted to understand. In this therapy, I remembered that there were many times in my marriage relationship (to my now ex-husband) that he would hit me. Not so much that I got bruises or had to go to the hospital, but enough that I didn’t feel safe. But I just couldn’t reconcile his behavior as abusive. It had to be me that did something to deserve it. I was in denial. I was sweeping each abusive act under the rug and didn’t want to look at it, face it, name it, deal with it, feel it, acknowledge it. I wanted life without abuse.
Deal with the issues…
The proverbial rug that all of these issues got swept under got very bumpy. I began to trip over the issues, because not dealing with issues doesn’t make them go away, they are there no matter what.
I have to come out of my denial and into reality. I need to name what happened and take responsibly for my part and not take responsibly for the part of another. If I want to heal, I need to feel. In order to feel, I need to be willing to admit the abuse happened. Then I can get help. I am getting help. Because more and more, I am realizing that I am a treasure and a pearl.