“ The abuse didn’t make you strong. You overcame it because you are already strong. Let’s not give abusers credit for making us strong.” – Vassilia Binesztok.
When this quote popped up on my Facebook page I quickly hit ‘share’, in the hopes that a special family member would see it. This woman had been mentally abused by her husband for 20 years before she finally left him.
It wasn’t bad at first, although we did notice how often he got his way in things. We started to get upset when he started to tell her she was stupid and didn’t know how to do anything.
We didn’t understand how or why this intelligent, strong woman would put up with this. When we tried to talk to her about it she would get defensive and shut us out. We didn’t know what to do, but we wanted her to know that we were there for her whenever she wanted us.
So, we shut up and watched and worried.
We watched and worried as he took control of the finances so that he could make sure he got all the toys and things he wanted first and to heck with bills.
When the utility companies would start phoning and wanting their money he would shout at her to handle it and make her feel like it was all her fault, watched as he told her what to wear and what to do and not do, watched as she lost more and more weight, because she was always so tensed up waiting for him to start shouting about something that she couldn’t eat.
It got so bad that she ended up in the hospital.
This ended up being a blessing because the doctor kept her there until she was both physically and mentally stronger.
Two days after she was discharged from the hospital she finally left her husband.
That was five years ago. She is a healthy, strong confident woman again, but this summer I realized that his words can still haunt her.
Someone made a teasing remark and I saw a look flash across her face that told me he had used those same words but without the laughter behind them.
I can only hope that someday she will only hear the laughter behind the words and not his voice.
It is not always the way you say the words, it is the words themselves that are what is important.
You might be saying them with love but the other person might be hearing another voice saying them in another way.
Maybe if we all make our words kind ones they will overpower that other voice.