The three little words domestic abuse survivors need to hear

I know I get on my soapbox often about domestic abuse here on my blog. Everytime I try to step away from that subject a little though, reminding myself that that  is not my life now I see see in the news or around me that it’s still so many, way too many women’s lives. Me staying silent so as not to bore people is no  use at all.

I wanted to really talk about the women who have managed to leave and what we can all do to make it easier on them to readjust to life without their perpetrator.

As I always say  I can’t , and would never attempt to , speak for all women who’ve experienced abuse. I can only talk about my experiences.

Leaving an abusive relationship is huge , massive. I wish I was a bit more skilled at writing so I could explain it better and do it justice. You know on action movies where during car chases someone will drive their car into a huge river or the sea such is their need to get away from the person doing the chasing. A last desperate , risky act? It’s kind of like that. Imagine a really , really long pier leading out to shark infested waters. At the beginning of the relationship you are stood at the very end of the pier as close as possible to the perpetrator , you probably look at him and think how glad you are to have him to keep you safe from all those sharks at the other end. As time goes by you start to take little steps closer to the water to try to put some distance between you and he. You cant though because he’s right there behind you, shadowing your every step. By the time you reach the waters edge with him breathing down your neck the sharks feel like the better option and you’ll dive in , it’s worth a shot. As I say I wish I could express it better but that’s as well as I can do. I suppose what I’m trying to express is that leaving is risky and it’s dangerous and traumatic but by the end you just shut your eyes , hope for the best and just jump. Being eaten alive by sharks is still preferable to living with the alternative ( no more shark talk now I promise)

 

After you’ve left , you kind of stand there wondering what to do next. I was unable to make the smallest of decisions as I’d not been able to make my own choices for so long. Even now when asked to make a decision I stumble and falter because I so want to get it right and I’m not the most trusting in my own judgement.

 

All I wanted to say really is that if you know someone who has recently left an abusive relationship , and this person may have never been hit I feel I need to add, then nuture them. They need time to heal and will probably need a bit of looking after. They may be unable to decide what biscuit they want with their tea , they might not answer your calls because their phone is constantly on silent (a habit formed in the abusive relationship in an attempt to not draw any attention to themselves).

 

Most importantly though , and  again I’m only talking from my own experience. What they need from you when they’ve trusted you to tell you some of their experiences ( they’ll never tell you it all because they know you love them and they don’t want upset you) What they need is to hear three words. The most important ones you’ll likely ever utter. They need you to look them in the eye ( tricky as likely they struggle with eye contact as their self esteem is in bits ) Just deliver those three little words.

 

I believe you.

 

Goes without saying maybe you’ll think, but they’re so important to hear.

 

They’ll need it repeating to them when their perpetrator has told social services what an awful parent she is and she has to suffer the indignity of her parenting skills being raked through whilst being asked why didn’t she leave ( here’s why I didn’t ), why she didn’t protect her children . was she in fact making up the abuse?

I believe you.

When going through the family court and having to detail incidents she doesn’t want to have to talk about.

I believe you

When reading his responses down on paper about how he never touched her , he’s never hit a woman in his life , he’s not that kind of man.

I believe you.

When his friends and family are told (with tears for effect)how she’s withholding his children from him and he doesn’t know why and she has to deal with them.

I believe you.

She was told when in the relationship no one will believe her if she tells anyone .She’s probably even questioned herself once or twice about if it really is all in her head like he tells her it is everyday.

I believe you means I love you , I’ve got your back , I’m here for you , you’re not alone , I’ll protect you , I’ll take care of you.

They’re a statement of intent. They’re a shock to hear. They’re a mantra. They’re a lullaby. They’re the beginning of a healing spell.

Just three little words.

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25 thoughts on “The three little words domestic abuse survivors need to hear

  1. I can only say from seeing kelly go threw this not only i believe you but that I love you for being so strong and being able to leave him.Yes i would love to get hold of him and try and hurt him as much as he did you,but hes not worth going to prison for.

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  2. I’ve not been in any such relationship but it must be so awful if diving into sharks is the better alternative. If I ever meet anyone who this is happening to I promise I will believe them. A very eye opening post x #PostsFromTheHeart

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  3. Gosh, what an incredible post that gave me real insight. I can completely imagine why these three words mean so much. It hadn’t really occurred before. By the way, I think you write very well and your description gives real clarity x #postsfromtheheart

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  4. You are an incredible writer. I’m grateful that this isn’t something I’ve experienced, but reading your blog has given me an insight and compassion that I may not otherwise have had. I think often in any difficult circumstance it’s hard to know the right thing to say and I huge,y appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us. They are three words I would never have thought to say to a friend – I would assume they would know I believed them – but after reading your post I truly understand why some things need to be said rather than just assumed. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at #PostsFromTheHeart

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  5. This is so true. What a strong message you’re sending out. And I for one don’t think you should stop talking about it for anyone other than yourself. If you want to talk about it, then you definitely should! Love this, and all its strength! #Blogstravaganza

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  6. These are absolutely the correct three words. Not all abusers leave bruises and even when they do they fade. Emotional abuse is slow burning, pernicious and can destroy the abused, but unfortunately it is very rarely visible even to close friends and family. I spenta lot of time,and still on occasion question whether the abuse was in my head. It wasn’t, but I struggled to believe it. Pen x

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  7. This is such a powerful post. Well done you for being brave enough to raise awareness and for letting others know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The more we talk about this the better!! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza, hope to see you again next week xx

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  8. Yes, having been in a previous emotionally abusive relationship I can attest to this. Just because he never raise his hand does not mean the damage is not there. Although, at the time I was far from aware what he was even doing. #Blogstravaganza

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  9. I believe you. So simple. I love your writing. Keep writing about what inspired you.
    xx
    #sharingthebloglove

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  10. You’ve written this so well, no need to doubt your writing skills at all – it’s from the heart and has such a strong message. I have to admit that I wouldn’t have thought to tell a friend I believe you, as I would have just assumed that, as my friend, they would already know that. But when you’ve been in an abusive relationship for so long I can see how you would be worn down and convinced that no-one would believe you. Thank you for sharing this with us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  11. Having come from a mentally abusive relationship I can say that if I had heard those words ‘I believe you’ then it would have helped me so much. Because there was no physical abuse I had nothing to show people. It was only if I told them all the things he did that they realised what was going on. I didn’t always have the strength to do this, so I know that people doubted me. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  12. Wow such an important message and ‘I believe you’ is ringing in my ears. Such a simple statement but so powerful. I can think of a few occasions in my past where this was failed to be said to people and it really should have been. A very thought-provoking brilliant post xx Nicky #DreamTeam

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