"I don't know why I acted that way! I just wanted my phone from him! I had been without one for so long and he was just jealous. I told him I wasn't talking to anybody but him, but he didn't believe me, so he slammed my arm against the wall. But, he wasn't trying to hurt me, he was just trying to break my phone, which he did! He wouldn't have really hurt me anyway; but no, I had to threaten him, telling him I'm going to tell my daddy. And, then, on top of that I hit him in his face for breaking my phone. I mean...that's what really made him so mad, that I hit him. And, I mean...he only pushed me. He didn't really mean to hurt me. It's my fault that I had those stupid heels on and twisted my ankle and hit the floor. He was trying to push me on the bed. He never even meant for me to hit the floor!"
This is a real conversation with a 17 year old pregnant female who was 6 or 7 months pregnant at the time this happened to her. Nothing I said could convince her that she had been and was still being abused by the young man who reportedly did these things to her. Her rationale was that "all the guys do it" and that "all the girls take it," and that it's not really abuse anyway as no one ends up with bruises (anyone can see), or broken bones, or bleeding. Not only was she very arrogant and cavalier with her statements, but they came with a lot of eye rolling and finger quotations. Her whole attitude about the whole thing was totally unbelievable, not to mention unacceptable.
I've worked in Social Work and Mental Health for many years and I've counseled a great many young and old women (abused and others); but I'd never run across anyone before in that state of absolute denial. Didn't say I've never experienced denial before, because I most certainly have. What I said was I've never experienced that level of pure, unabashed denial before: Ever! And such acceptance of it! Owning it like it belonged to her. Almost like it was a badge of honor or pride, that he chose her to beat up on.
I watched her mother sit inflamed with shame and disbelief at the naivete her daughter was showing for her situation, and the mother's fear for her daughter's life...and future! I'm usually quite good at talking to young folks, but there was no getting through to this one: Her mind was made up. And, in her mind, she had not--in any form or fashion--been abused. And, did I mention that his intoxicated mother (the young man's) got in on the fight and punched her in her face, and she said it wasn't the lady's fault because "she was drunk."
And, watch out for the little playful, annoying "slaps"...if you tell him you don't like it and he keeps doing it, he's not playing...no matter how much he laughs and says so! Watch out for the guys who plays games with you (board, cards, etc.) who always has to win, and you keep letting him because you don't want him to get upset: That in itself is a red flag! And, don't let him get mad, because you decided for once that you were going to win (and did so), and he throws the cards on the floor or knocks over the board games or dominoes, etc.: If this happens, know that you have a problem on your hands!
Anybody you love more than yourself isn't worth loving! That person will drag you in the mud; suck the very life out of you; and leave you to die...what's left of you, and won't even look back when they walk away. And, believe me, they won't even walk away until there's nothing left of you! Not because that person loves you so much, but because they see you as there personal property and they're not going to allow anyone else to have you...plain and simple. And, while they're sucking the life out of you, they're enjoying themselves with someone fresh and full of life on the side, because they are not going to be without! You become trapped in a never-ending jail that you made long ago for yourself because you thought love was more important than your life!
Do you know what happens to people like this...who gives so much for nothing in return? They end up giving up all their dreams, they become allienated from their friends and families; they become depressed, listless, lifeless...riding on an emotional rollercoaster; some suicidal. And, even, the strongest among these will most likely end up living in a state of hopelessness, no longer caring for themselves, and barely able to care for the children they may have. Everybody suffers, everbody pays...except the perpetrator. If you can finally let him go, he simply goes on to do it to someone else...again and again and again.
Open your eyes and open them WIDE! If you have children, he's not just controling and hurting you, but everyone around you! That includes the children! Your parents who worries about you! Your brothers or uncles or cousins who could very well get hurt in the process of trying to protect you! Your children could get injured!
So, again, I say open your eyes and open them WIDE! Do you really think you have to Bleed or have visible Bruises or a Black Eye or a Swollen Lip or Broken Bones to consider it ABUSE?
I think YOU KNOW better than that! I think you know what ABUSE REALLY IS! Let's not play the I didn't really know it was abuse game, because the game you're playing may be the last game you ever get to play!
The fact is...Abuse by any other name is still...Abuse!