“There are many reasons not to make an abusive relationship public, mostly fear. Scared of what people will think, scared it makes me look weak or unprofessional.”
Comedian Beth Stelling’s candid and powerful Instagram post about her past abusive relationship went viral over the internet causing outpourings of love and support from the sympathetic public. She had posted a collage made of 3 images of bruises on her legs and forearm, and a fourth image of herself performing on stage.
“So these photos are an uncommon thing to share but not an uncommon issue. You may be weirded out but do read on. I have a point.” She states as she starts to reveal more on the abusive relationship she broke away from. “When I broke up with my ex this summer, it wasn’t because I didn’t love him, it was because of this.”Advertising
Why do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?
Beth Stelling writes about how difficult she found it to actually end the relationship. “It’s embarrassing. I feel stupid. After being verbally, physically abused and raped, I dated him for two more months. It’s not simple.”
“And I absolutely relapsed and contacted him with things I shouldn’t have, but there are no “best practices” with this.”
Beth’s revelations have helped many to recognize and acknowledge their own tragic situations. When you are encounter violence in a relationship, especially for the first time, it can be very bewildering. The abuser can make you feel the violence is your fault. He will tell you that you asked for it… forced him to do it. The victim takes on the guilt and responsibility, ‘it could have been avoided if I didn’t…’.Advertising
However confused he may make you feel, it is important to remember that his violent behaviour is never your fault. How much ever a person is influenced by another, he is responsible for the actions he chooses to make. No one, but himself is at fault.
In abusive relationships, after violent incidents, it’s common for both partners involved to try and make excuses for their behavior. The violent partner apologizes, or promises to change. Life may settle back into a calmer feel, but generally this respite is short lived. It is commonly observed that if a person is violent once, they are much more likely to repeat the violent acts again.
The Courage to Stand Up for YourselfAdvertising
Beth continues on in her Instagram post on why she decided to write her story. “I wanted to move on and forget because I didn’t understand. I don’t want revenge or to hurt him now, but it’s unhealthy to keep this inside because my stand-up is pulled directly from my life. It’s how I make my living. My personal is my professional. That is how I’ve always been; I make dark funny.”
“If you live in L.A., you’ve already started to hear my jokes about this and I ask you to have the courage to listen and accept it because I’m trying. Already since talking about this onstage, many women have come to me after shows asking me to keep doing it. Men have shown their solidarity.”
If you have never been abused, you will probably wonder people don’t just leave. However unhealthy a relationship may seem, breaking it up most often creates a host of complications for the victim. Fearing for your own safety, worrying how your partner will manage without you or agonizing they may harm themselves are a few common reasons. Some may be tolerating it for the sake of their children and for many, the problem is that are financially dependent on the abuser.Advertising
Everyone deserves to feel loved and safe. You don’t have to stay in an abusive relationship. There are ways out of this cycle of domestic violence. Leaving is not the only option. When you stand up to a bully, you may find that he backs down. You can work on building a financial nest and a strong social support system. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, you will find many people to help you every step of the way.
Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics
Abusive relationships and domestic disputes can easily turn violent and criminal. Here are some shocking facts:
- Men who were exposed to domestic violence as children are 4 times more likely to commit domestic violence as adults, than other men.
- On average, a woman will leave an abusive relationship seven times before she leaves for good.
- About 75% of the victims of the domestic violence homicides, were murdered as they tried to leave their partner or after the relationship had ended.
- On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or partners in this country every day.
- About 4,000 women die each year due to domestic violence.
- Battering is the single major cause of injury to women, exceeding rapes, muggings and auto accidents combined.
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The Gentle Art of Saying No
It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.
But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.
What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.
But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:
- Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
- Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
- Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
- Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
- Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
- Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
- Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
- Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
- Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
- It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.
Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com