As I read this article, almost every sentence rang true. Memories were jumping up at me, reminding me of the shame I felt and the excuses I used. Although, I’m not sure that I could ever say for sure that any of my friends felt the way this woman assumes her friend felt. Maybe now but not back then.
I know for sure one of my friends that I’ve known for as long as I can remember knew about the abuse. She even mentioned it in a letter she wrote me during one of our own disagreements. She matter-of-factly threw it in my face. Not once did she seem concerned and if she ever was, she never showed it. Not once did she ever offer sympathy or a shoulder to lean on or verbalize that if there was anything she could do to help to let her know. Never. Just her one statement.
Would I have accepted help? Doubtfully. I was so caught up in the fear of the wrath my abuser would unleash at the mere possibility of my leaving. Any devastation caused by his hands would surely be on my hands. That is a big part of why I stayed put for so long. I figured, I knew how to handle him. I knew what angered him. In other words, I knew how to play the game. If I could keep him at bay then everyone else around me had no need to get involved.
However, a few years later, when I left to go to the women’s shelter – and subsequently left there the same night – I had called her. She and her boyfriend took the 3 hour drive to come and get me and my daughter. No questions asked. I stayed with them that night and returned home the next day. After that, things went back to normal and nothing was ever mentioned again. My abuser had no idea where I went or that they had helped me in any way. I’m sure she was not too happy with my decision but she didn’t say it. Needless to say, our friendship eventually drifted apart. Last we spoke was about ten years ago.
Little did I know that all these years later I’d be sharing my story or that I’d be okay with (some) of my own personal friends knowing the hell I’ve been through. I sometimes think about my friend and letting her read this blog. I’m sure she didn’t know the extent of the nonsense that was going on. So at the very least, it would explain some of my behavior.
For those of us that have been involved in a Domestic Violence situation, most of our behavior can be explained in this one article…
This Is Why I Didn’t Tell You He Was Beating Me
Originally posted in Dame Magazine
“Why didn’t you say something,” they’d ask, looking concerned and confused. “I could have helped you. I could have done something!”
And I believe them. Had they known how horrible my life had become, I have no doubt that they would have done their best to help me. But all this happened more than twenty years ago. Today, I’m healed, emotionally healthy, and over it—and have the clarity of hindsight to see that my friends and family would have helped me.
Read the full article here: http://www.damemagazine.com/2014/10/29/why-i-didnt-tell-you-he-was-beating-me#sthash.QilhzgKD.dpuf