The root problem, especially for women from broken homes, is that they long to be loved by a man–even if the relationship is less than healthy. Even if they have to tolerate abusive behavior just to be loved. Following is Chanelle’s story.
My home was dysfunctional – unwed mother, no father. Mom did a fine job of raising us, but it was one-sided. So I grew up with this need in me to be loved by a man. A father. A lover. A husband — either, or, didn’t matter. Since there was no positive influence of a man in the house to serve as a role model, there was this huge disconnect.
I mean, how was I supposed to know what a compatible, loving relationship between a man and a woman was like? What qualities a man was supposed to express as a lover and best friend to his wife? Or how a responsible loving father would train his children and set goals for his family to grow and prosper in life? Or how a couple would solve problems in a way that worked when the ride became bumpy?”
So when I became fast and sassy, I listened to the crap the sharpest guys were dishing out. I mean, my role model was listening to the sexy lyrics of MTV and BET videos. RAP music and the like. Checking out who wore the latest fads and had the best line. Basically I was just stumbling around life, looking for love here and there, hoping for the best.
After more hits and misses than I want to own up to, I wound up with Kurt, who moved in. Initially he perpetrated himself as the perfect man for me, wining and dining me, showering me with attention. But it was all a control game. He was manipulating me. You see, the early attention was to convince me that he really loved me. Then when he felt I was won over, he started to wean away, making excuses for his absences. Out with the boys. Gotta meet someone down on the corner. Working late. Excuses beyond time.
Sometimes he’d be gone for days-but of course he’d show up on “pay day”, spend my money and dared me to ask where he’d been. And if I did show an attitude — nighttime pleasures too sweet for words would flow again. He’d love me like no woman could resist and I’d be convinced that he loved me all over again, causing me to forget days of neglect, despite all his crap. Never mind he didn’t give me any money, didn’t help with the baby, didn’t assist around the house – he loved me didn’t he? I had a man didn’t I? And he was my man.
Then there were the put-downs. He’d call me lazy, inconsiderate, fat, anything that would make me feel guilty for his negativity toward me, suggesting, given my faults, it was a privilege just to have him around. At the time, it didn’t matter – I mean, you don’t give up on your man. Consequently I found myself doing everything I knew how to please him. Yet many a tear-soaked pillow cradled me through lonely nights. Most times I was irritable, anxious, angry, yet I kept holding on for 13 long years loving him, hoping, praying that we’d stay together, maybe even get married.”
Then… One day, the cramping knots in my stomach, the burning pain in my heart, the constant feelings of worthlessness throbbing in my head, told me enough was enough. By that time I’d learned computer skills and landed a job where a coworker recommended a counselor. The counselor taught me principles of self love and how relationships work best and I have never looked back.
Bottom line is when a woman learns to love herself first–she will recognize abuse and won’t tolerate an abusive relationship ever again.