Uff…. where do I start? For me looking back, there are many reasons I stayed. Each season of my life had new reasons and motive for me to stay. This is a complicated question but I can guarantee many of us have the same reasons as to why we stay.
Domestic violence has been along since society has existed. Being a patriarchal society has only led to it being more and more common. I truly believe that if we followed God’s word these things would not exist but the problem is we pick and choose what we like to follow. For many centuries woman were not educated and so they did not know or realize that God’s word does not call for them to be slaves to their husbands and that the Bible actually instructs men how to treat their wives.
Ephesians 5:28 “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own body. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
Abuse is wrong, it is cruel and it is degrading. You are literally warn down over time until you doubt yourself, your capabilities, what is true or not. There is a lot that goes into abuse and by the time a woman realizes she wants to leave it is far more complicated.
Reasons why I stayed:
I thought he was the best I could do.
I was insecure.
He made me believe no one would love me as much as he did.
I thought I could fix him.
He promised to change.
The goods times outweighed the bad.
How could I live without him in my world?
I didn’t want to look like a failure.
I had invested so much.
I thought he was my world.
I had lost myself.
I didn’t want to hurt him.
I did not want him to suffer.
I didn’t want to lose the image I thought my life should look like.
I did not want to be a failure.
I was worried about how people would see me.
I had so many flaws, who would love me?
Other guys would find me appalling, I mean i should be lucky that he was still with me.
My cellulite, he says I snore, I am mediocre.
I needed him to care for me.
It had been so long since I worked. I had no money.
He protected me.
We had a daughter.
My brother died and I should not give my parents more problems.
My parents did not need more grandchildren without a father.
My brother Joe would have done anything do be with his kids and I am pulling mine away from their dad.
Now I have two kids.
He really loves me he just sometimes get mad.
He has tons of stress trying to give us an amazing life.
He wants us to have the best.
No one will take care of us like him.
He has forced me to do things I am embarrassed of and I am afraid he will tell people.
I do not want to be divorced.
All marriages have problems.
Yeah he cheats but he loves me and does not fall in love with anyone else.
One day things will get better.
We have three kids.
Who is going to want a single mom with three kids?
I am too old to start over.
How can I financially afford this?
Maybe I am being vindictive.
Maybe I am not trying hard enough.
Maybe it is me.
He says he’ll never let me go.
He has lots of power in Mexico.
He has so many contacts.
He will take the kids from me.
He has money and I do not.
I have no plan.
I do not want to kids to suffer.
I am scared of him.
He will never let me be free.
How many times do you hear someone say the police were called but the charges were dropped by the victim or she left him only to go back? It is somewhere around 7 or 8 times that a victim will try to leave their abuser. I know I probably tried at least maybe 6 and thought about it thousands of times.
The biggest reason I kept going back was because I did not want to hurt him or cause him pain. Obviously the fact he was causing me pain was not important, not even considered in my mind. I mean he was going to change, he promised. He saw the light, he realized that I was everything to him and he needed to treat me like a queen. The sad part is violence is a cycle, you will experience good but it will be followed by bad.
See whenever you get tired and are ready to leave and it has been too much that is when the abuser will start to apologize, shed some fake tears and well, make you feel bad. Once you start to soften, you start to think well maybe it can get better, this time will be different. Than the honeymoon period starts. The honeymoon period can last years, months, weeks or even just days.
The problem is that he will rage again, he will do it over and over and as time goes on the honeymoon period gets shorter. As time goes on you start to lose yourself. You start to live in autopilot, just trying to make it the next day. Trying not to rock the boat. I mean not only do you not want him to be mad but where would you go, with what money, and what if you lose your kids?
Apart from all of this my ex worked with the Estado Mayor Presidencial (Mexican Secret Service) as well as the military and Federal Police. I knew he could force me to stay in Mexico under his tyranny forever. Had it not been for my therapist expressing to me that he did not have that kind of power, that I did not need to worry and that I was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome I probably might have never left.
But after everything what is the saddest part, I still fear him, I still am afraid of having to go back, I fear for my kids and I take blame that is only his. I worry more than I should about my motives, if they are for the good of the children. I am in counseling for all this and yes it does help but once a prisoner always a prisoner.
I do have some hope to one day be free of these thoughts. I am happier now than I ever have been. Every time I doubt I look at my kids and how they are flourishing and I know I did the right thing for them. I grateful daily for the therapist in Mexico who believed in me when I did not even believe in myself. He said things to me that day that I still remind myself of when I go back to the old mindset.
I will not lie and say it will be easy, or that you can heal without help, faith and a relationship with God or that you will ever be 100%. Heck some days I cry and think to myself that this might be the best my life will ever be, that even if I have nothing in life as long as my kids are safe and healthy that is all that matters.
I do not know what tomorrow holds but I do know who holds it. I have to sometimes put on a smiley face or crack jokes to hide what I truly feel but when I look back to a year ago I just think wow, I have come so far. It gives me faith that I will continue to move forward and I know that Jesus is with me, leading and guiding me, all he asks for his my surrender and submission to him. I refuse to feel sorry for someone who is not even sorry for what they have done.
Today I choose to live a life that is MINE, free from guilt, full of joy and set an example for my kids. Tomorrow I might not wake up with the same feeling but God and my family and my friends remind me that it is about taking baby steps. Perfection is an illusion and a lie. If you are reading this please know that I believe in you.
John 10:10 says “The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
There is strength in the name of Jesus. God can get you through. If you do not have the strength to leave than ask for his. God took me out and he can do the same for you. He wants us to have a good life full of joy. Know your worth, it will be hard but I promise you it will be worth it.