I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day, let’s call him Stan. Stan and I were talking about The Abuse Aftermath and he asked me if it was common for people who were abused to end up in the same situation over and over again.
Of course, my reflex response that “everyone is different,” came parading out of my mouth immediately, followed by a thoughtful, “However…” I told Stan that we all seek the comfort that can be found in familiarity, and even though the general situation was not cool, I can see how some people would unconsciously gravitate towards an unhealthy situation because it felt familiar; it felt like a Known, rather than an Unknown.
He asked why I thought some did and some didn’t. I thought for a minute then opened my mouth but closed it before anything came out. After another minute, I told him I needed to think about it and get back to him.
I thought about it. A lot. Here’s why…when he asked me, it had only taken me a about a minute before my answer materialized, but my answer made me uncomfortable. I felt like I needed more time to feel my answer out before I breathed life into it by giving it my voice.
It bothered me the rest of the day and wouldn’t let me get a good night’s sleep. The next day I sat and meditated on my answer, let it go in and out of all the usual pathways that my thoughts splintered through on the regular. I held it up to the light and shook it and knocked on its skin, to check if it was hollow. Turns out it is indeed my truth.
I called Stan later that day and gave him my answer. Ahem.
To me, those that have been abused generally follow one of two paths.
The first path is the “Once bitten, twice shy” route. Those that take this general path run from anything that even smells like the abusive relationship. This can cause a lot of trouble for them as far as dating goes, but, hopefully, with time, these people are able to give love another try. More importantly, to me, is the ability to separate their abusive past relationship from the possibility of a new and happy relationship and the cognizance to keep them separated.
The second path is the “It’s all I know” route. Those that take this general path do so for various reasons, but I think that if they were to undergo a psych eval, most that take this path would be found to have a predisposition for addictive behavior. These people see the signs and instead of running the other way, run towards the danger. This path, to me, is the most difficult because not only does the person keep signing up to be trampled on, at some point, even those that love them the most will feel like there’s no point in trying to help the person. It’s like that saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
It’s the second part of my answer that gave me all the indigestion and anxiety because I hate having to swallow the fact that sometimes there isn’t anything anyone else can do to stop a person from standing in front of train.
Unlike many people, I can and do look away from trainwrecks and carwrecks and anything with blood and guts, but the image of a lone figure standing on the tracks, knowing full well that a train is hurtling towards them, haunts me more than the splatter I wouldn’t watch would have.
It’s also very likely that I’m uncomfortable with the second route because I recognize that I’ve take the first one, which has its share of potential trainwrecks, let me just say. Added to the potential splatter, this route also has the probability of missed stops and the irritating regret that comes with those.
I didn’t tell Stan this last part, but since we’re already here, I’ll share it with you. You know what I’ve realized is the hardest thing for me in The Aftermath? It’s not forgiving the other person, I mean, I’m not likely to forget it, but forgiving that person wasn’t that hard for me. Being away from them and out of that nightmare is enough reason for me to let that go.
No, what I still struggle with is forgiving myself and I think that’s because I’m not sure what I have to forgive myself for, exactly, and forgiving myself for “everything” just feels lazy. *sigh* I’m such a pain in the ass.
To Err is Human, To Forgive is Divine.
And remember this:
XOXO – K