With so many people suffering from domestic violence and abuse, I felt compelled to offer this to the newsletter suggestion forum:
It's very easy to say that a person should be able to tell, in advance, that their potential partner is a violent abuser. If that were true, we wouldn't be hospitalizing and burying tens of thousands of men and women each year as a result of domestic violence and abuse. The dynamics are not as simple to explain as we would like them to be.
Having survived domestic violence and abuse, I am qualified to speak from experience and wisdom. "Experience" refers to having actually endured the physical, verbal, emotional, spiritual, sexual, and financial abuse. "Wisdom" refers to having educated myself on the dynamics of domestic violence/abuse and evolving from "victim" into "Survivor."
You see, I had always believed that domestic violence and abuse were issues that belonged in trailer parks or back alleys. I believed that women who were abused were uneducated. I also believed that women who were victims of abuse had somehow "done something" to set off their abuser, thus making their injuries (or, deaths) their own faults. I also believed that women who were abused were foolish, stupid, low-income, and low-rent - strictly ghetto. And, I believed that victims of domestic violence and abuse were not worthy of my personal empathy or compassion as I, like many, believed that they had made stupid choices and were getting what they deserved. It was not until I found myself spiralling down into the cesspool of domestic violence and abuse that I experienced a personal epiphany and begged forgiveness for my arrogance of stereotyping victims of abuse!
In my case, my former perpetrator was a narcissist bordering on sociopathy. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not an organic disorder like Schizophrenia or diabetes and cannot be treated with medication. NPD is a learned behavior, either as a method of protection or by example from a parent. Like all NPD's, my ex did not have his own personality. Whatever qualities that I believed that he had were just learned and parrotted through trial and error in an effort to fulfill his own needs, whether they were sexual, financial, or issues of control. He mirrored my own good humor, zest for life, love for pets, enthusiasm, etc. He is incapable of feeling emotion for anything other than himself and those reactions that I took to be "honest emotion" while we were dating and early in our marriage were mirrored from me and not generated by his own conscience or emotional depth. I had to come to terms with the fact that the "man I fell in love with" never existed.
Once I became ensnared by a legal civil contract (marriage) and a child, he began to unpeel himself just like an onion. First, one layer of "niceness" came away. Then, another, and so forth, until the core of our union was based upon terror, dehumanization, degradation, deception, and emotional and physical rape. It was all about control and harm. And, I had to get myself out of a situation that was literally killing me in every manner imaginable.
The point of this ramble is that, saying something like, "You gals made your bed, so lie in it!" is not positive, encouraging, helpful, or educated. Any victim, male or female, did not make their bed of violence - it is a vicious cycle that is learned by observation and forceful indoctrination, it continues, and it is escalating because of stereotyping and willful ignorance. And, so that we might better educate ourselves on this subject, we need to acknowledge and accept that anyone can become the victim of domestic violence and abuse. Please, see: http://www.ndvh.org
to learn more about this subject.
If we don't educate ourselves about a particular subject or topic, where do we get off attempting to voice an opinion that is devoid of knowledge? Good luck to everyone in their journey to greater knowledge, understanding, and compassion.