Domestic abuse is about exercising power and control over someone else through fear and intimidation. And really, it starts, the cycle that is, way before it is manifested physically. It starts with the mind control. Take a look at this wheel published by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project:
This wheel shows the cyclical nature of abuse. It shows the various tactics used to exert power and control over another individual. It shows how an abuser uses their words to get another to do as they say. And, eventually, once the control factor is in full effect, once the victim steps out of that circle, the physical abuse is exerted to keep them in the cycle of abuse. Makes total sense when you think about it, but let me go further with real life examples.
I’ve explained in my first book, It is Forbidden, that there are three outcomes from being abused: (1) either you remain the victim — meaning every relationship you enter into will be abusive, (2) you become the abuser — meaning you have now switched roles to regain your own power by exerting it over someone else as an effort to keep you out of that victim role, or (3) you become the survivor — meaning you are no longer a victim or abuser and have removed yourself from that type of environment.
The cyclical nature of abuse is wrapped tightly in numbers 1 or 2 mentioned above, and I call it the “victim mentality”. I’ve seen it over and over again, even within my own family. An abusive man breeds another abusive man if he has a son. The man who raped me when I was a kid, also raped his own two boys. Now, his sons are extremely short tempered and they express their anger and discontent with their fists and their words. One of them had the nerve to say to me, “that’s how my daddy taught me…” And though he’s old enough to change his own behavior, I get where he’s coming from… in a sense, he’s right. He was taught to express himself with his fist and words because that’s the environment in which he was groomed.
What pissed me off from that statement is that he used that as an excuse to remain an uncontrollable angry asshole. Yes, I said it! He’s old enough to do better, but he’s a victim of his environment. He chooses to stay in that abusive environment, cycle of abuse, wheel of going nowhere but around and around, because it’s safe for him. That’s all he knows. That’s all he’s seen. That’s all he wants. So, guess what? That son that he’s raising… guess what he sees daddy doing? Fighting with his girlfriend all of the time, getting into street fights, raising his angry hand to him when he misbehaves…. guess what he’s going to say when he’s older? “That’s what my daddy did.” A cycle.
A girl who is sexually molested as a child is quite different. I’ve seen cases when the girl grows up and sexually molests little helpless boys and girls. But I’ve mostly seen those sexually abused girls grow up with low self-esteem, become prostitutes or women who are extremely promiscious, having unprotected sex with any Tom, Dick or Harry. They don’t value their bodies because no one taught them that they deserve better and they can be better. No one taught them that they are worth more than what happened to them. They may be beautiful on the outside, but inside they are broken and confused. Looking for love in all the wrong places. And they are often having babies at a young age, not really knowing how to raise them wholesomely. They may even get pregnant on purpose just so they can have “someone to love and love them”. I’ve seen that too. These girls are the most troubled. And they breed more troubled little girls. Growing up with a warped sense of what love truly is. But it’s a cycle.
What I love about most cycles is that they are breakable! It will take someone strong enough outside of the cycle (outside of the wheel) to show that victim (whether the abuser or the abused) another way… a better way… the healing journey way.
I want to leave you with this video about choice. Because when it is all said and done, changing your mindset starts with a choice. Are you living or just existing? What happened to you does not have to define you. Period. #Askmeanything
Love you to life,
“My past does not define me, it refines me.”