I lied to myself. I betrayed myself. I deceived myself. I wasn’t honest. How could I have been so stupid? How could I have been so careless? How could this happen to me? I should have known better. No one is going to help me this time! I brought this all on myself.
Those are the cries of a person being tormented by the thoughts that scream in her mind. The thoughts that won’t stop for a moment. The thoughts that get louder as time goes by. The thoughts that push aside any sense of reason. These are the cries of a person suffering from abuse. These are the words I hear from clients. Let me be transparent for a moment – these are the words I once cried.
Unless you have been in an abusive situation, it is easy to say what you would or would not do if it were you. It’s easy for a person who have never been subjected to abuse to say “they would never do that to me”. You really never know what you would do until you are placed in that situation. I never thought I would be put in a situation to be raped. But I was. I never thought I would have been assaulted by a loved one. But I was. You never know what you will do until you are in that situation.
Most victims of abuse have been mentally abused and controlled a long time before any physical abuse ever occurs. The abuser convinces the victim that no one cares about them. The abuser grooms them by isolating them from their family and friends. This isolation from family and friends solidifies the victim’s dependency on their abuser. I’ve seen many cases where the dependency is so strong, the victims will hide all forms of abuse to avoid “losing” their abuser.
As many of us travel over the summer enjoying our summer vacations, research show more women are severely and repeatedly abused in the summer than any other time of the year. Why? Because the victims don’t want to interfere with the happiness of others, so they keep quiet. Another reason according to research tempers rage during the summer resulting in more abusive behavior.
Okay Tina, why are you telling us all of this? As we move forward in our “YOU Matter” campaign, I will be challenging you to step out of your comfort zone. YOU Matter and what you do matters. You never know what a person is going through. Every smile does not mean “I’m happy”. Every laugh does not represent “joy”. It’s time to dig deep inside ourselves and truly make a difference in the world. We might not be able to change the whole world but we could make a difference in the lives of those that we come into contact with. YOU Matter is not just about what matters to you, it’s about being the best version of ourselves and encouraging others to do the same.
Sometimes it’s the small things we do that matter the most. When is the last time you spoke to that long lost cousin? Did your friend try to share something with you but you were too busy with your own life that you dismissed it as something minor? Could that co-worker’s bruise really be something more than her walking into the door? When was the last time you smiled at someone just to brighten up their day? It’s time to do better. It’s time to make a difference. It’s time to be a reminder that YOU matter.
Until Next Time,