4th April 2021 at 11:17 pm #124305CosmicascaParticipant
It’s true isn’t it, people who haven’t experienced it don’t always understand. Some think we’re triggered by everything relating to domestic violence on tv, around us or what we see in general and that we have something against men. It’s not that we hate men or that we are paranoid but that we know the signs. We can see what a tv actor or documentary is trying to portray, we have a more acute sense of what abusive vs healthy behaviour looks like in our personal relationships.
I experienced this lack of awareness from a person today and this is me seeking support because it wasn’t that I was going against men, it was because I knew the signs and it kind of made me and my experience feel invalidated, and made me feel paranoid, although the (ordinarily healthy) person didn’t intend to – they just don’t understand and I can’t expect them to. I guess it triggered that question deep down in many of us that I think lingers which is – was it really abuse? Did I overreact? Ironically my fear I was overreacting causes me to make excuses for the early red flags. Ironic how it was there in the beginning, and is still there as I’ve come to the end.
5th April 2021 at 3:59 pm #124339DarcyParticipant
Hi beautiful Angel… Cosmicasca,
Thank you for posting this I found it a really interesting point.
It is very hard for people to understand the cycle of domestic abuse if they have not experienced it themselves. Even sometimes when I share my story I think wow did all that really happen .. I literally could make a film out of the mad house I lived in and what happened. Its also that fine line of not wanting to sound to dramatic about what happened because if you are people wont believe you, but actually what happened was dramatic.
I don’t think you will ever be able to make people understand who have not felt the feelings domestic abuse causes and maybe because of this that is why it is still such a taboo subject and a problem in society. After all it goes on behind close doors in peoples homes, between two people who are meant to love each other, and even though its so bad they still stay together .. that’s hard for anyone to get their head round.
I think we have to respect that not everyone understands and sometimes their naivety may come across in the wrong way but not with any bad intention.
It is also uncomfortable for people to hear about domestic abuse, but maybe if you are ready to, just explain to them a bit about what it is and how it makes a woman feel. If this makes you feel vulnerable or triggered in anyway do not do it.
Instead pull your support from people who do understand like on this forum and share when you can with people around you that you can trust.
Sending you continued love and support
11th April 2021 at 10:39 pm #124696CosmicascaParticipant
Thank you so much Darcy for your reply, i felt comforted when I saw it because I experienced another thing today. I think I’ll just stop mentioning anything relating to the abuse to that person now, and stay here where everyone understands. It’s said that most counsellors don’t understand, isn’t it, so I guess we can’t expect it from the general population unless they too have experienced it.
Oh I get you about the drama. That was one of the reasons I made excuses for his red flags in the beginning “how bad can it be” I thought, “these things only happen in movies”.
Thank you again Darcy, love to you x*x
11th April 2021 at 11:19 pm #124698EggshellsParticipant
There is a terrible lack of understanding I think. I was really in the dark and puzzled why women stayed in abusive relationships until I finally understood that I was one of those women.
As I’ve travelled along my path of discovery, I have found that the only people who truly get it are those men and women who have suffered domestic abuse at the hands of their partner and, importantly, understand that they are experiencing abuse.
There is so little education about it and a lot of people just don’t want to know. It’s unpalatable for them and totally bewildering.
Unfortunately, education is often limited to school children getting a 1 hour PSHE session on it, taught by a teacher whose timetable needed filling up and that’s it, that’s all the information they’ll ever receive.
They don’t have a sense for the red flags like we do so if we sense someone is abusive and make the mistake of voicing that, they think we’re paranoid or over-sensitive and I can understand why.
The closet I can equate it to (and it’s not very flattering) is an animal that has been trained to sniff out a particular scent. A drugs dog will be really sensitive to the drugs it’s been trained to detect where as your common or garden pooch would just stroll casually by and not even know that it’s supposed to be sniffing something out. We’ve been trained to “sniff out” the abusers; we’re sensitised to them. Those without that experience can’t see it. I can see why they might think we’re over-sensitive or men haters, especially when we say that we suspect an apparently charismatic, charming, kind and gentle man is abusive.
11th April 2021 at 11:46 pm #124699LivinginhopeParticipant
I am sorry to hear how you are feeling today. I too am feeling this way tonight. My children have not been returned to me as a continuing attempt to control me by my ex (I’ll not go into it). Added to that it’s a reminder that no one understands abuse and no one seems to care. My family didn’t believe me and just said what have you done to provoke him. I confided In two friends including telling one of my fear at the time that he might seriously harm or kill me. These friends didn’t stay in touch to check I was ok after we were finally no longer living together. I no longer fully trust anyone to care about and support me and the children apart from one close friend who has an emotionally abusive ex. She lives hundreds of miles away so I have no one close by. I am so grateful we all have each other on this Forum as a source of comfort and understanding X
12th April 2021 at 12:35 am #124700SleepypigeonParticipant
Hi, im sorry your feeling like this, I understand it as well.
I stopped trying to explain to friends, as they just don’t get it. It hurt and frustrated me and still does. I’m glad I found this forum as I finally feel heard.
Take care x
12th April 2021 at 12:48 pm #124709DarcyParticipant
Hi Cosmicasca, thank you for your reply.
I think we all have friends for different things, some we have fun with, some we are more serious with, some we work with and some we just discuss our favourite TV show with. Some we trust more than others but this doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, just that we watch what we say around them.
It can take a while to navigate who these people are and how to get the best from your friendship … however true friends always stick around
Sending you continued love and support
12th April 2021 at 5:42 pm #124716ISOPeaceParticipant
Yes it is absolutely true that most people don’t understand. I was one of those people years ago. I cringe now when I think of a close friend struggling in an abusive relationship some years ago (which she did manage to leave) when I think of the clueless advice I gave her. I thought I was helpful by trying to help her see that what she thought was unreasonable might actually be innocent. I now see that what I said may be true if her husband hadn’t been abusive, but he was and I knew he was. I just didn’t know anything about abuse and how it’s all about control and that some actions are benign in a healthy relationship, but in the context of abuse, they can be vicious.
What you describe about a friend not understanding and then you doubting yourself must be such a common factor in why so many women don’t recognise abuse and don’t feel like they would be believed even if they thought it might be abuse.
I think there are many reasons that people don’t understand domestic abuse and one of them is that until quite recently, so called experts on abuse blamed women for the abuse. From Freud’s theory that women enjoy pain and domination to the idea that women are responsible if they provoke the abuse, our patriarchal culture has accepted some pretty terrible attitudes to domestic abuse. The saddest of all, in my view, is that the view of the dominant force in society (in this case men) tends to be accepted by everyone, so even women have accepted these misogynistic views. It really outrages me that society is so backward in its understanding of such a common problem. I think I might be becoming a feminist….. If you’re interested, this article is really interesting (although American, the culture here is pretty similar). Skim through the contents on the third page to check if you think it will contain any triggers for you: https://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1043&context=mjgl
I think you’re absolutely right that we know the signs but that doesn’t mean we’re against men. It’s a bit like me knowing the signs that a horse is getting agitated. It doesn’t mean I don’t like horses, it just means I respect the risk they can pose and choose not to put myself in a situation where I think I’m likely to get hurt.
It think there’s an element of people not wanting to face the reality of abuse. They don’t want to think it could happen to them or that it’s going on as much as it is, maybe even people they know and like are abusers. So they want to downplay the risks and think of it as something that only happens to a certain type of person. That way they can feel distanced from it and feel safer. Of course the reality is that everyone is safer if they know the reality!
I’m sorry you had to experience this. I know how painful it is to not be validated, especially by a friend. It feels so unfair that the legacy of the abuse continues. Ultimately, a friend living with their head in the sand is an issue for them. Your experience will always be validated by people who understand and I guess sometimes we have to accept that some friends can’t support us in the way we’d like them to. Some friends might not understand but might be open to learning about domestic abuse. Thanks for sharing your experience. It must be very common and it’s good for us all to remember that we might not always be validated by others, but that is due to lack of understanding and empathy on their part. xxxxx
12th April 2021 at 10:27 pm #124721MeAgainParticipant
It is sadly true and very hard to understand unless you have experienced it. As a teenager I used think if any man dared to raise a hand to me he would be out the door straight away! I could not understand how you could stay with someone who is hurting you. But then I married an abusive man and when he was slapped me I fought back to defend myself, and I honestly thought it was mutual abuse. The control happened so slowly it just became normal and I couldn’t see it. Looking back now I can see the red flags but as a young women madly in love I always thought love will conquer all. I have only told my sister by letter about what happened and am unable to speak about it. I have told a freind minimal details but generally I just can’t talk about what was happening as I don’t feel anyone understands. I had a social worker tell me I wasn’t putting my children’s best needs first when she got a referral from the police which hurt. I’m now doing a parenting course ! This forum has been a lifeline for me, I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s been comforting to know I’m not alone.
Sending hugs 🤗 x
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