I am prompted to write this post because just a few days ago, I overheard my neighbor laughing outside on her steps (I always keep my bedroom window open). Being a naturally nosey person (judge your mother), I looked out the window to see what was so funny. She was sitting on the steps, and the guy that she was talking to was KICKING her. And she laughed, said “ow, that hurt”, and continued to let him kick her. For at least 2 whole minutes (I already said I was nosey so don’t even ask why I was still watching, ok?) I stepped back and said to myself “he is abusing her”. And she was letting him think that it was ok. And that made me think about whether I had been abused in any of my past relationships, and why I thought it was ok to let it happen.
If I could go back to my 6-year-old self and teach her any 1 valuable lesson, it would be to not believe anything that a man said to me, starting with my father. Abuse- in any form- has negatively impacted more people in my generation than we are willing to admit to. Growing up, I remember my father telling me that I was dumb, stupid, and useless. I remember him being frustrated with me not understanding HIS way of teaching me my homework, and getting severely beaten because of it. I remember not hearing any positive words coming from him towards or about me. And as a child, my father was the FIRST and MAIN example of how a man should treat me, Things didn’t start off right… I remember being teased by my cousins (and it wasn’t until my adult years that I realized that they were innocently playing around with me) about how skinny I used to be, my glasses, my big lips, and how much I looked like my father. Because I was already coming from an abusive background, that caused damage. The only relationship that I was in that was actually abusive (verbally and psychologically) was when I was with the father of my children.
Hurt people hurt people. And that is by no means my way of making an excuse for how I was treated in that relationship. But looking back, I can see how he was damaged and took advantage of me who was also damaged. I remember him telling me that he could never see himself standing at the altar with me walking down the aisle to him because I was “too fat” (at the time I was wearing a size 12 in pants), and that I needed to “fix my skin” because my acne and blemishes made him not want to kiss my face. I remember him calling me dumb or stupid when I didn’t do something that he asked me to HIS perfection. I remember him telling me that I was a “shitty excuse for a mother” after I had my children or that I would never find anyone else to love me the way that he did. When I got out of that relationship and asked myself WHY DID I STAY?!!, I could only answer with “I thought that he loved me”. That’s a warped sense of love, huh? I admit, I had low self-esteem, but I was also coming from a home where my father told me that I was stupid and dumb and worthless. I’m not sure at the time that I thought that I deserved anything more. Thank God for wake up calls!
So that leads me to ask- why do women (because let’s be honest- it doesn’t matter the age, we all let men treat us like crap) allow these men to abuse us verbally, physically, emotionally, and psychologically? If we come from an abusive home, how do we know to not accept that in any future relationships? How can we open our eyes to see that hey- this ain’t right! And you know what’s crazy? We KNOW that abusive relationships should be avoided, but when we get into one, we make all of the excuses in the world to justify the behavior. Why! I am asking myself that question as well because I should’ve known better than to stay with my ex in that relationship. Why do we think that the small pushes, punches, degrading word slips, etc. won’t increase into full-blown abuse? Low self-esteem is the leading reason why people (both men and women) fall into negative and risky situations. Bad friends, bad influences, peer pressure- these are all direct casualties of low self esteem. We need to raise our young better. It starts in the homes.
I want to say that I regret that relationships, but I was blessed with 2 wonderful children because of it, and I learned who I am, who I’m not, and who I want to be with from it. I pray that my daughter doesn’t go through what I went through, and that the young lady across the street doesn’t go through it either.
Be mindful of your words and actions- you never know the effect it will have on someone.
Be legendary Kings; be extraordinary Queens!