"You destroyed my life when you got that restraining order.” “If you hadn’t told everyone about our private business, we’d still have a chance to be together.” “You betrayed me when you told everyone about my problems.” “Because you opened your big mouth, I’m in legal trouble.” “Our conflicts are our business, no one else’s.” “Our relationship is over because of you.” “I’m a good person and you made me out to be a monster.” “Your mouth ruined me.” These are all common responses by a man with an abuse problem who has been held accountable for his abuse.
This is a classic deflection of responsibility. Rarely does the perpetrator say, “Because I chose to punch you, I got a restraining order.” “Because I got wasted and verbally threatened you, I destroyed our relationship.” “Because I said really terrible things to you, my reputation is destroyed.” “Because I did illegal things, I got myself into legal trouble.” In toxic relationships, the deepest betrayals are the TELLING of the misbehavior, not the misbehavior itself. It’s not the ABUSE that is considered the unspeakable act of disloyalty. It is the SPEAKING ABOUT IT that is the severest act of disloyalty. This. Is. How. Cycles. Repeat. Secrecy. Loyalty. The ultimate betrayal IS NOT reporting abuse. The ultimate betrayal is HARMING and ABUSING someone who trusted and believed they were safe. Silence and secrecy and “privacy” don’t heal the cycle of abuse. In fact, the exact OPPOSITE does. ACCOUNTABILITY. VOICING THE TRAUMA. RECEIVING EMPATHY. THIS IS WHAT HEALS ABUSE CYCLES. One of the most detrimental beliefs we have collectively had about partner abuse is conflict at home should stay a “private issue”. Under this paradigm, the perpetrator is allowed to save face, bury his actions, and continue to victimize others. Abuse, threats, power plays, and manipulation don’t happen in front of friends, co-workers, and the public. These things THRIVE in SECRECY and behind closed doors. If you are a woman who is being shamed into keeping secrets, keeping “private” matters in the family, and enabling abuse to linger unchecked, please know, speaking about what is happening at home IS NOT A BETRAYAL. It is the only way for EVERYONE involved to heal and break powerful patterns. Shame cannot survive when it is spoken. Patterns cannot continue when they are called out. When you have the courage to free yourself, you free so many others. Dare to speak, you badass WARRIOR GODDESS. I’ll walk with you every brave and trembling step of the way.