The first assignment in our book, Abuse ends when you love yourself asks the reader to tell her story. Not only is it therapeutic to tell your story but it also shows us the links and patterns that connect the dots of how and why you landed up in an abusive relationship. This is where the healing begins.
Sue and I were discussing this topic this morning over morning coffee as we watched the waves break beneath us. She asked me if I told anyone about the abuse when it happened. I didn’t. Not a soul. I was too ashamed.
“Abuse is such a shameful subject that society helps us to cover it up and deny it. There were a number of times when Stan was aggressive, rude and abusive in front of my friends but it was easy to dismiss it as, “he’s just in a bad mood,” or “he’s tired or under pressure.” They and me were relieved to dismiss it so easily.
It was only when I told my story the first time did the healing begin. And once I got over the difficulty of saying the words “abuse” the shame was no longer mine but his. “If you remain silent,” I told the women I counselled in the domestic violence court, “the shame is yours. If you speak out the shame is his. Shout out as loud as you can.”