The Corona Virus Pandemic similar to being in an abusive relationship, let me explain…
The anxiety begins to consume you, while feeling isolated and confined. You feel controlled and unable to breathe at times. It seems that everyone has far too much on their plate to be burden by your worries. Doesn’t that all seem fitting for the pandemic? Unfortunately, I was describing being trapped in an abusive relationship.
Do you remember exactly how you felt when this entire pandemic lock down began? Possibly in a bit of shock?
Prior to the lock down there were signs that things could get bad, but we choose to remain in the moment while normal life still presumed. We were blind to what was about to unfold in front of us. Maybe a bit of denial, but most of us were simply hoping for the best.
Abusive relationships and the pandemic do have similarities. For example, there are warnings signs, but it doesn’t mean that anything bad is going to happen-so you move forward optimistic of your love.
Let me paint a picture… A young woman is swept off her feet by a young man. The relationship takes off swiftly, both fall in love (deeply) with all the hopes of a future and family. After years of dating and countless happy memories, the couple then gets married. Immediately after the marriage things begin to change. The women’s husband seems to be unhappy, all the time. The “happy” memories begin to happen less and less. Then abruptly and shockingly the man loses his temper throwing his wife to the ground. The man begins to choke her in an attempt to silence her screams. Then, this man sees the fear in his wife’s eyes and lets go long enough for the woman to run away. Only, he doesn’t let go because he fears his own behavior, he lets go because he felt satisfaction in the control.
The most common thing I hear when speaking openly about my own abuse story, “I do not understand why you stayed so many times”. Well, I am writing this personal post to help those who have not lived in our (because there are so many of us) shoes understand. I know it must be easy to think we are weak or stupid, but you couldn’t be more wrong. We are caring, loving people (sometimes too caring) who want to be happy just like yourself. We feel as though we fell into a hole so deep it became impossible to see the light above. Struggling to breathe, while being silenced by our peers, justice system and family (yes, family). Reaching out to the wrong sources can be paralyzing.
The turmoil can be draining and some choose the “it’s not happening to me approach”, turning their cheek. Thus allowing the spread of chaos (or virus) to continue.
Then, there are the ones who don’t believe it’s happening at all. They make you feel as if your imagining all the fear or completely crazy. Slowly, you begin to feel buried, wondering if you will ever get out of this mess. Will you ever be able to breathe again…
The next time you feel out of breath while taking off your mask remember, this is how abused women feel every time their abuser walks out the door. Even on the good days, we hold our breathes awaiting in fear of what’s coming next. We would reach out for help if we knew our escape would be possible. This is where I’m asking everyone to look for signs and don’t turn you cheek. This pandemic will cause abusers to have the feeling of incredible power. Already trapped or confined to your home, unemployment on the rise, shelters are not an ideal place to run to at the moment-terrifying!
I fully support police departments receiving funds for domestic violence training, units and social workers-This is vital to our communities. I remember to this day the officer that stood in my home and knew exactly the manipulation my abuser was playing on them. I’m so thankful he knew the manipulative signs. To the naked eye my abuser was calm, collected and non aggressive. The violence that unfolded moments prior all masked. Manipulators have this way of making everything seem as if it’s not happening. My mind was blown once I bought a recorder, but that’s a story for another day.
After attempting to reach out for help the abuser implants fear that you did something wrong. The manipulation on your mind begins, convincing you that nobody cares what you have to say. The abuser religiously instills fear (sometimes so subtle you miss it) with both emotional and/or physical threats on our family and friends. Now the victims are in lockdown and it seems that there is no one and no where to go to. When we finally leave the home we place on our masks (metaphorically)-to protect you. Placing on the mask (or happy face) so the abuser doesn’t come after you.
When this pandemic began I had my own PTSD of feeling trapped all over again. Now that I am aware of why I felt such wave of emotions I’m attempting to use this analogy in hopes for understanding. Evil wants to divide us all so that we are consumed with anger, fear and easily defeated. Support those who say they are being abused, even when they stop speaking out (most likely their abuser has silenced them again). They can’t breathe in their mask and it makes it hard to run.