Sunday, May 11, 2008

Words about Abuse from a Good Man.

When you are in an abusive relationship and interacting with other women who are, one can sometimes wonder, "Are there any good men out there?", or give up on men entirely being too traumatized to trust again. These are understandable reactions to the experience of being abused, particularly when one has had previous bad relationships and/or abusive parents.

The other day I came across a post about abuse and learned helplessness on the online journal of a terminally ill man. It was wonderful to read the caring words of a man who abhors abuse, honors women, and is honestly trying to understand our experience.

I know that there are other good men out there and I hope we will hear from more of them. Abused women need to know that you good guys exist, that a good relationship with a good man is possible. Bill is taken ladies, but I'm sure the good ones aren't all married. Abusive people, men and women alike, need to hear from both genders that their behavior is unacceptable and without justification ever.

So with his kind permission, here is Bill's post:

Apr 29, 2008 6:28 PM

Dying Man’s Daily Journal - Learned Helplessness gaining insight

from Dying mans daily journal by Bill Howdle
Yesterday, my post was about abuse, physical, emotional abuse of any and all kinds. Of how that very abuse can lead to “learned helplessness”.

The more I read about and hear about abuse of any kind, the more shocked and disturbed I am becoming. I know it is everywhere, mostly hidden behind closed doors. I know there is no excuse for abuse of any type, NONE. It is only now that I am really becoming aware of the profound long term effects. I suppose I had naively assumed once you were out of the abusive situation, life would be good and you could just get back to “normal” and live life as it was intended to be lived. Such is obviously not the case.

I am very touched that a few dear blogging friends chose to truly open up and reveal past horrors experienced in their lives. I can think of no better word than horrors to describe the lives they were force to endure on a daily basis for years on end. I thank you for sharing as you have and will be responding individually to your comments.

I still can’t really claim to “understand”, this is whole issue is so foreign to my thinking. Being honored by being given at least a glimpse into the lives of others has given me a bite of an understanding of how it all could happen. I am still thinking of the “learned helplessness” the long last effects on ongoing abuse. A whole life is permanently changed forever scarred and total “normalcy” may never be achieved again. I can’t even begin to describe how sad this all makes me feel. Life is to be lived and should never be endured but how many people are doing that exact thing, enduring life. This is not what the Good Lord intended for any of us. He wants all of us to live happy, safe, peaceful, love filled lives. Each of us was given our own free will to make the choices and to live our own happy lives. No one has the right to chose our life for us, controlling our thoughts and actions. NO ONE has the right to ever be physically abusive to another in anyway, irregardless of an ything, no exceptions to this rule, NONE EVER.

Yesterday, I asked everyone to just sit back for a moment and think about your relationships with others. Honestly look at the role you play in the lives of all others. Be honest with yourself, and look to see, are you an abuser? Now to some this answer will be easy, if you hand out beatings, are controlling, domineering, use verbal put downs then you are an abuser. Plain and simple as that. Now ask yourself why? Each of us is responsible for our own actions, so if your excuse is “well she made me do it, she made me made because……. That is not a reasonable or even rational excuse. No one but an abuser makes us do anything. You are responsible for your own actions, be a man/woman and accept that responsibility. Each of us has a God given right to make our own choices. What makes you think you have the right to in essence over right God’s will by depriving anyone else of their freedom, their own free will. I ask everyone to please just think about this!!

I feel uncomfortable as a male and being unfamiliar with abuse issues trying to write about the feelings that are realistically I think mostly experienced by women. I did say mostly as I know there are many men out there also with similar experiences.

Again, I am asking for feed back as the conclusions I am coming to may in fact be way off base and I do realize every situation if in fact different. Slightly different yes, but all seem to have huge similarities. Now, if as I am writing, I happen to word something poorly and it in anyways comes across that I may be assigning any guilt or blame to the victim, Please know it was not intended that way, but was in fact poor wording on my part. Victims of abuse do not carry any of the blame, no matter what is said to them.

So here we go again with “life according to Bill”:

I see any abuse be it physical, emotional what ever, as having long term very profound affects. I suppose the longer the abuse continues the deeper will be the scars. I would imagine the abuse cycle begins slowly, with seemingly little or inconsequential things, but escalate to the much worse. I see the “trained helplessness” that I wrote about yesterday as actually taking some time to set in or to become ingrained into anyones system.

Years can be spent in a frantic effort to make things right, to do things right. All to no avail, nothing you can ever do is quite good enough, nothing seemingly can be done to prevent the next beating. You are so constantly told it is your fault, you deserved or earned the beating because you did or didn’t do…… or at least it wasn’t done well enough. If we are told anything often enough we will actually begin to believe it. Being told constantly you are not good enough, self esteem start to lag of even disappear all together.

Fear becomes a constant emotion. Fear of the beatings and abuse, but also fear of leaving. Self esteem has dropped to the level, self doubts prevail. Am I good enough, strong enough to make it on my own. Fear of not being able to support yourself or the kids. You are trapped, afraid and dreading the thought of staying but equally fearing and dreading the uncertainty of leaving. A feeling of hopelessness and helplessness prevails, the self esteem or any that may be left disappears. You are trapped. Gradually, any and all resistance wanes and disappears, what is the point. You are beaten down and just to tired to fight or really even care any more. It just becomes easier to just give in to the will of others, do what they want. Just no energy to fight for anything, it is just pointless anyway, I am helpless to do anything for myself.

Again, this is just understanding according to “Bill”. I admit to being out of my understanding level with this, but I am trying to get a handle on something that is literally destroying so many lives. I write about living life to the fullest as you are facing death. Here we have countless numbers of people unable to even live life as it is intended to be lived because of the control, domination and abuse of another. It is just so sad, such a waste of precious time on this earth. It just makes really no sense to me. I want and pray that everyone lives a long healthy happy life. Somehow within myself I seem to feel almost a need to help in this tragic situation. I just don’t know how, feed back or suggestions please.

My good friend Lori wrote of how it can reach the point where an escape of safe zone can actually be place right in front of the victim but they just can’t see it for what it is. I am at a loss for words.

Dying Man’s Daily Journal - Learned Helplessness insight « Dying mans daily journal


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