When You’ve Been Abused
Rihanna After Being Attacked By Chris Brown
Dear Miss A,
I hope I can write this so that it comes off as what is really going on and not just what it seems.
I came from an abusive family. I knew only abuse and some forms of love until I was 20 years old. I am now 21. I met and fell in love with a man of multiple races and my family, who believe that ‘everyone’ is a little racist believes I should not marry him and have expressed this many times. I am learning from my fiance’s family that it is ok for them to think that and I do not have to agree and they are also teaching me about love and faith. I have been helped so much by his family. Because of my history of abuse and how recent it is I suffer from anger issues and I find myself taking it out on my fiance because I never had anyone to listen to me. I have regrettable gotten physical with him on occasion and he has never done anything to me but restrain me. I have turned to my family when him and I fight just for personal support but it seems to cause problems because they use this as an excuse of why we should not be together.
Just recently my fiance and I were arguing and I said something because I was hurt and he smacked me for it. (It was about his mother.) I was shocked and appalled that he had smacked me and so I rushed to the aid of my family. Things were blown out of proportion and now my racist, abusive family is trying to rally against my fiance and his family. Our wedding has been canceled and sly threats are being made on a certain website about my fiance. I know that him and I have our problems and I am actively seeking guidance for my issues. But I just do not know what to do about this situation. Please help.
Soon To Be Mrs.
Dear Soon to Be Mrs.,
It’s interesting that you sign your email, “Soon to be Mrs.” when you state above that your wedding has been cancelled. It seems that you do want to get married, but I’m not sure why. You are only 21 years old, and have so much more time to mature, develop a fulfilling career, and to deal with the abuse and other issues which stem from your childhood. You don’t spend much time telling me what you love about your fiance, or why your relationship deserves to be taken to the next level. The fact that he slapped you is not a good sign, although the fact that you would insult his mother and try to become physically abusive of him isn’t good, either. Marrying someone of another race, religion or culture can complicate things, but the complication is worth it, if the relationship is solid. I don’t think that’s the case for you. Subconsciously, women who have been abused as a child seek out abusive men. Sadly, they’ve been programed to feel loved when someone is controlling and abusive. That is how they were raised by people who “loved them”.
Telling your family about his hitting you was good. I think we all sometimes regret sharing negative things about the man we love with our family or friends, as they later remind us about our boyfriend’s behavior, even after we ourselves have forgiven and forgotten. We would sometimes rather avoid the reality of past behavior and delude ourselves into thinking the guy is great and forgetting all about any “red flags” or negatives. We may later regret sharing information about these “red flags”, and feel like friends and family are using it against him, when in reality, they are only looking out for us, and are remembering what we are avoiding.
It’s great that you are seeking guidance for your relationship and that you realize there are problems. That is a great start! Although couples therapy is good, I would suggest that you get individual counseling to deal with the issues stemming from your childhood, and that you focus on YOU for a while. It’s great that your boyfriend’s family has taught you about love and faith, but Honey, there is much more to learn! You are an adult now, and you don’t have to accept abuse from ANYONE – a boyfriend, parent, sibling, friend, roommate, or even a boss. You set the boundaries and when someone crosses the line, you can stand up for yourself, and cut ties if you feel like you need to.
Try and remember what activities, or hobbies you enjoyed as a child. Think about your fond memories, and what were you doing that made you happy in your memories. It seems that both your family and your boyfriend have abusive tendencies, and you may be better served getting strong yourself so that you will not be dependent on anybody. I would focus on your career and finances, and on becoming emotionally and financially independent – independent from your family AND from your boyfriend. When I say getting yourself strong – that’s mentally, but also physically as I feel that they are interconnected. Get a gym membership and get outside and go running. Being outdoors, and getting exercise will be good for your mind and spirit. Spend time with good friends, and family members who have been good to you.
Once you take at least 6 months to focus on YOU – reassess the situation and see how you feel. I bet you’ll realize that you don’t want to marry this guy and that you see a whole new future ahead of you. I think you’ll also feel like a different person, and have found more of who you want to be! You have all the time in the world to find true love. Right now, you need to find YOU!
I wish you the best! Please write back and let me know what you think of my advice and what you plan to do.
– Miss A