Charlotte Marshall Templeman
Love Doesn’t Hurt
“So I suppose to believe you love me right? Damn that’s hard to do when I am faced with lies and deceit from you. Women calling my house and playing on my phone, telling me you were with them when you should have had your sorry a%^ home. Going to the bathroom having a burning feelin, not knowing if you gave me AIDS or Chlamydia. Am I supposed to believe you love me? My eye finally went down from that beaten I got from you. You know the one you gave me because I was DISOBEDIENT. Yeah and I am supposed to believe you love me? I lay in the hospital bed bruised with a shattered self –esteem and a body that lays weak from the strong punches of your fist. The very hands that were once gentle to feel are now used as weapons to harm me. Am I still supposed to believe you love me? Because you shed a few tears, looking down at me as I lay still. Still in death, still in peace. I wish I had loved myself enough to still be amongst the living.”
The above poem is taken from the novel Broken Hearted by Charlotte Marshall Templeman. In my book one of the characters is being physically abused which results in her demise. Although the book is fiction there are many women across the country who are in abusive relationships. Some women are able to gain enough strength and support to get out while others do not. Many endure abuse for years from the very person who professed to love and take care of them. Often when we hear of abused women we say to ourselves, “why don’t she just leave,” “why does she stay in that mess” or “if it was me I would leave or do so and so.” As we all know it is easy to say how we would face certain situations when we are not facing them daily. There are many reasons why women stay in abusive relationships including lack of money, education, skills, self-esteem and fear of their abuser. For me, it was low self-esteem.
As I began this article I asked myself if I would share how I was physically abused in a relationship I had many years ago as an even younger woman. I decided to share for several reasons. One being, it was not my fault and secondly if someone reading my article will make the decision they are worthy to be loved and not abused, it is well worth it. As I previously stated there are many factors which play a role in a woman staying in an abusive relationship. I have found speaking to other women that low self-esteem plays a pivotal role. When someone recognizes that you do not love yourself, to them you become a pawn instead of a human being. Your feelings are not valid and your voice is silenced. Instead of being looked at as a person you are now looked at as an object. It becomes a sad existence and the little love you may have tried to have for yourself is diminished. When this happens you believe that the relationship you are in is all you deserve and probably will ever have. It is the job of the abuser to make you feel less than a person and powerless. As long as you feel that way, the abuser is able to keep you oppressed. For myself, I was fortunate to have good friends who helped me to see my worth which enabled me to regain my power.
It is extremely important for a woman being abused to first understand it is not her fault. Her abuse is not a result of dinner not being on the table at a certain time, or the house not being cleaned in a certain way. The abuse is because the abuser is suffering from their own demons. Secondly, a woman being abused has to understand that she is not alone and there are people waiting and willing to help her. She has to confide in someone because once the abuse is exposed, so is the abuser. The most important thing to an abuser is to keep his abuse secret. As long as the act is secret he is able to control the situation and the woman. And finally she has to understand her worth. Loving yourself can be one of the most difficult things to do but it is not impossible. Somewhere in the darkness that has clouded your life, you have to find something good. Looking in the mirror daily and telling yourself, “I love you” is a start. As the days go on giving yourself a positive affirmation everyday will help build your self-esteem.
No one asks to be abused. In my relationship I wanted to believe that he would change and love me because I loved him. I realized that I had to love myself more than the idea of being with this man. I had to realize that if I do not love me, take care of me and cherish me, then neither would he. Relationships are meant to have ups and downs because you are supposed to learn and grow from them. However, relationships are not meant to be” hostage-ships” meaning one is dominant over the other. If you are in an abusive relationship you have to be true to yourself. Being true to yourself means that although you may make a mistake, not cook dinner, or forget to wash the dishes that you deserve to still be loved and respected by your mate. If you’re not then you have to re-examine if this is a healthy relationship and one worth being in. I have realized no man or relationship is worth me losing my voice, my spirit, my mental and emotional health or my life. So I say, let’s end domestic violence by starting with the person in the mirror.