A reader contacted me privately in response to an earlier blog post. Diane* had just been triggered by a relationship a friend of hers is in. She was not only anxious from an interaction with her friend’s partner, but also judged herself for her reaction. Diane described herself as “being a part of domestic violence” She doesn’t call herself a victim because “at one point [she] just participated, and because [she] grew up in a household of emotional and physical violence.”
I remember my own similar statement in one of my first support group meetings. I said I hated myself for how I thought I should act sometimes. I felt like I was an abuser in my new relationship. I had only seen two roles played out in couples, victim or abuser. I thought I had tried so hard to not be a victim that I ended up abusing my new boyfriend.
Most of the women in the group that day could relate to my fear. Clara*, our support group leader, had a very simple way of discriminating between abusive violence and other types. “Abuse is meant to control and exert power over another (or others).” Protecting oneself is not meant to control others. It’s goal is self-defense.
Diane’s “biggest fear is dragging [her] children though stress,discomfort and panic.” Her goal isn’t to manipulate anyone. She said in the same email that her “goal is to have peace and raise humans that are peaceful ,caring and loving people.”
Check the About Page for a more detailed break-down of abuse. There, I have outlined the five types of abuse in domestic violence.
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Till next week,
[*] This name has been changed to protect this person’s privacy.
Rebecca encourages survivors of domestic to speak about their experiences and to lean on each other for support.