Women in emotionally abusive relationships usually parade their relationships as something they are not. They spend an inordinate amount of time pretending to the world that they are a couple, and they often describe themselves as the perfect couple. They regularly talk about how much in love they are and they tend to create the notion of successful physical intimacy in their relationship when they are in company. They hold hands, call each other pet names and make sure the conversation is full or “us”, “we” and “our”. They are the walking, talking Facebook page.
Facebook is at the height of popularity in first world countries, not because it allows us to meet up with people we have lost contact with, but because it provides the perfect opportunity to show the world a life the way we want it to be. We can cherry pick the photos, our friends, the venues that we visited and even the food that we ate. We can gift wrap our lives, put on bows and send it into the ethers to be received with admiration and respect by friends, friends of friends, friends of family and hopefully a whole audience of who knows who. We can photograph our birthday presents and hope they were better than at least half of the people on our Facebook page.
Facebook can be fun and Facebook can problematic. It’s fun when we use it to stay abreast of people and actually our affection for people grows as we get a more intimate and ongoing knowledge of their lives. We feel that we know them better and our familiarity breeds our liking. It’s fun to see that we actually do have a life. Often we suffer from tunnel vision and our lives feel like one problem after another and then we too need evidence that our lives have much that we can be grateful for.
It’s not fun when we begin to believe our own PR. It contributes to our problem when we forget that other people are also pretending that life is better for them than it may be feeling. Facebook is not fun when it challenges our authenticity and prevents us from being real with anyone under any circumstances. It is not fun when we become confused about what is real and what is not real.
Women in abusive relationships want to believe that it is not true. They want to believe that the reality of the relationship is the way it is presented to the world. That would mean that they don’t need to do anything to address their problems – except to believe that the way it looks is the way it is. They want to believe that they are suffering from a mood disorder because then tablets are available. They want to call themselves hyper-sensitive. They want to be believers.
We challenge all women to face the truth for one whole day. For that day you are not allowed to pretend that something is the way you would like it to be. You are not allowed to show off at any level at all. You are not allowed to colour your life pink. On that same day you are to withhold judgement of anybody including yourself. You are obliged to think kindly and compassionately about anything you hear or see that you would ordinarily judge negatively. For that day you have the opportunity to face reality in the gentlest way and you will see that reality is much more interesting than anything you have imagined – provided you receive it from a place of warmth and compassion.
Try it – we dare you.