Taking the Abuse

When someone stays in an abusive situation, there must be a measure comfort in that identity for the victim. The abused, in effect, says to themselves, "I know what to do when playing this role." To become someone different means acknowledging there is a choice--and with that realization comes the uncomfortable recognition of responsibility.

A victim may tell themselves, “At least in the abusive situation I know the old pain and its ways."  Moving toward change means stepping into the unknown. Fear can freeze the victim into making no decision, defaulting to the status quo, keeping the situation the same as it has always been.

Perhaps the abuse fits some part of how they have chosen to define themselves. To choose not to be abused means redefining the identity. In the end, some people would prefer to keep the painful but familiar abuse rather than entering a new kind of pain--one that accompanies building a new identity.

Victims who choose to no longer be victims take an heroic step. It's an empowering choice--and only those who have made a similar decision can fully grasp its breath and courage.

Stephen Goforth