Breaking the cycle of self abuse

Hello all,
I have been reading stories about domestic violence...trying to find a common theme.
I not only found a common theme in the stories of women who have been trapped in a cycle of violence, I found a common theme between those women..and people trapped in the cycle of addiction whether it is alcohol, or drugs..or food.

In every abuse case there seemed to be a moment when the woman accepted what was clearly unacceptable behavior.
In one instance I saw a woman state that on the night of her wedding her dearly beloved shoved her into a wall and called her a c*nt.
She called her mom in an attempt to leave him and her mother told her to 'work it out'.
to stay.
of course, after that clear signal, the man knew he'd found himself a perfect victim.
It escalated.

In every case, it seems the women picked up clear signals that something was wrong...they all knew that the behavior exhibited was 'not normal' or 'frightening'...'scary'...they were left feeling 'confused'.

Now, were they confused?
They knew..
But the various reasons put forth for staying ranged from..."I had no money."  to "I was pregnant."
"My parents had invested a lot of money..I just couldn't throw in the towel."
In every case...after that initial abusive incident...the women drew in the blame...
They decided that they would 'be better wives"...
And they moved themselves underneath all those other priorities I just mentioned.
they placed themselves at the bottom of the list.
Their personal well being and safety came AFTER money spent on the wedding...after a pregnancy (which often morphed into a baby, then more pregnancies)..and in many cases...under the seeming need to make sure the abuser didn't feel 'bad'.
The thought that they could 'fix' the abuser was very prevelent. 
In every instance, they chose to endure more abuse rather than leave the situation.
From where I stood, it seemed they thought they deserved the abuse...they came to believe that by allowing the abuse in the first place..they had somehow abdicated a right to object.
Their self esteem took a hit..so they stopped taking care of themselves..
And began to become the very kind of depressed, angry and almost crazy person their abusers claimed them to be at the beginning.
Somewhere in there, it became a form of self abuse.
How does this tie into weight loss.
We do that to ourselves...don't we.
We get fat...and all those voices outside of our heads....all the people in the stores who call us names.
All the disgusted looks..
All the subtle shaming.
We internalize it.
And we begin to abuse ourselves in our own mind.
We shame ourselves.
We tell ourselves we deserve it.
And we trap ourselves in the cycle of self abuse, of food abuse.
I'm a big, fat slob..so one more binge won't make a difference.
I have no willpower.
I can't have a boyfriend because I am fat...
I am fat because I don't have a boyfriend.
It becomes it's own circle.
Many times, these two situations are linked...
Food became an ally in our war to numb ourselves.
Now we have to dig our way out.
We have to start by ending self abuse.
I don't care who recorded it.
you, or others.
It has to go..
And if y ou have nothing nice to say to yourself.
act as if you are a young child who needs a loving voice.
And begin to say to that hurt, lonely child...
What you think they would need to hear.
NOw say it to you!
You are worthy of love and respect.
You are worthy of care and affection.
We have to begin by loving ourselves.
By caring for ourselves.
Stop the self abuse.
Take care of you.


Sheilagh said...


Helen said...

Self abuse is exactly what it is. At times in my life I have found myself saying out loud, "STOP beating yourself with food, you deserve better."

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

I had to think it over and come back to comment. What you have written hits home so hard.
Even as someone who was raised to take this kind of abuse, I know there have been moments as an adult when I could have stopped the SELF abuse and didn't.
Having the goal to help people, especially women, identify this behavior and do something constructive to change it is amazing. There just isn't enough light on this subject and you will be a bright light for good with the insider knowledge of understanding to go along with it.
I thank you for your insights and bravery in sharing them.

Ms. M said...

I had never thought about that clear moment until I read this... weird for as much as I've thought about the abuse I've been through/go through. But you are absolutely right... and I know my moment was when my Pastor told me that abuse was no reason for a divorce. And you're so right about how it ties into self abuse!

Anne H said...

As long as he needs me....
Then we leave out the middle man
and do it to ourselves!
Love your insightfulness