A lot of people didn’t believe me.
Even well-intentioned friends. That was one of the hardest realities of leaving my X, and discussing the sad fact of the abuse he inflicted on our family.
The first person who didn’t believe me was my father. His words went from – relationships are tough and you have to work it out, to – you’re exaggerating and acting hysterical.
When I moved home and my X began threatening me on the phone, I went down to the police station to file a report. The police seemed bored with these endless phone threats. Like I was wasting their time.
Close friends found it hard to grasp that “someone like me” could have even been abused. I was smart, and tough, and confident. I was my own person. I was sassy, and brazen, and a risk-taker.
One of my Hawaii friends asked if there was some way I could work it out with my X, insinuating that I was responsible for breaking up my family. As if it were even a choice.
Another friend, after talking to my X, told me he seemed like a good guy. That he was pretty interesting and that it was hard to imagine an organic farmer being abusive. Say what?
Listen. Abusive people come in all guises. Trust me on this one. Our community and friends easily accepted my X’s behavior as bohemian, hippy, kooky, eccentric, quirky, free-spirited, radical, and anti-authoritarian.
He was definitely more than that.
People looked at our family photo albums and told me that we looked so happy. Fact – you don’t usually snap photos during arguments, fights, and domestic violence.
Friends and family were confused because I’d told them that I was happy. And guess what? Sometimes I was. Those happy moments don’t erase the suffering my daughter and I experienced.
And some people even told me that they were sad we were splitting up. That we were such a cute couple.
Um . . . I can’t even.
People tend to be uneducated about abuse and some, I would even say, find the subject matter so hard to digest, that they would rather be in denial.
So here is what I did for my self. For my own sanity. And it took many, many years to remember and let it sink in: Know matter what others believe about me and my past, I ACTUALLY lived it. Yes. I was there. I experienced very real threats to my well-being, and no amount of disbelief makes that fact disappear.
Hey you out there – I just want you to know that if you are feeling like no one believes you . . . I do.
Always believe women.