There is an old Native American saying that goes like this, “Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.” Having had the journey I have had, I truly believe this! When I take the Myers Briggs personality test, I find that I have a strong trait of being judgmental. I think this has been mellowed as I have gotten older and have gone through a lot of tough stuff. So, here goes, my list of top 10 things I would like you to know about a Survivor of Abuse
- I MADE MISTAKES! We are all human, and there is not one of us who have not made a mistake. Those of us who get into abusive relationships perhaps made more significant mistakes, but that does not make us bad.
- Do not judge the mom at the grocery store using food stamps. I found myself not having food to feed my children. I made sure they had food and there were times I did not eat. I got to the point where the pantry had not one morsel of food, so I had to do what any parent would do, I asked for help. I was on it a short time, which statistics will tell you is the normal use of SNAP benefits. (for accurate information, check out this link, http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/FY14%20State%20Activity%20Report.pdf )
- Sometimes our past dictates our future. I lived in a household where a daily message to me was how imperfect I was. The messages fed to me were that I was ugly, fat, I did not speak correctly, and nothing I could ever do would meet the standards set by my parents. As an adult, when a romantic interest gave me positive messages along with the set of messages I had heard daily, I did not recognize that those messages of how ugly, fat and stupid I was to be un-acceptable. After all, I got “I love you”, “you are beautiful” and monetary things such as roses in between. It really could not be bad then, right?
- Divorce is not a fun path that one takes lightly. Marriage is something that every person dreams of whether you are a man or a woman. I have often said, I would not wish the divorce journey on anyone. It is awful for the adults and the tremendous burden it puts on children is indescribable.
- Pulling away from dysfunctional families is ok. Abuse is a cycle and I have come to understand that it is not just your generation, but more than likely, it goes back in time for decades. If you truly want a different story board for yourself, sometimes the only way is to shut out the dysfunction, but it must be YOU who decides. Do not judge if someone close to you takes this journey, support them and love them. It is not an easy task!
- Support each other. People who survive abuse have to be given the ownership to deal with things in their own way. It may be not how you would deal with it and that is ok.
- Good people lose their children in custody battles. Our court system is over loaded with family court issues. Do not quickly judge a mom or a dad who ends up on the losing end of a custody issue. There are so many factors that are involved. This one is another that I could write a novel on. Count your blessings if you never have to face this one! Children are blessings and we should all advocate for children’s rights. Do positive things with this subject. No one I have met along my journey would say that custody issues are fun. They are truly heart breaking and no one wins.
- No one signs up for abuse. There are so many things in this life that are thrown at us and abuse is not something you willingly sign up for. It took a great deal of reflection and prayer for me to figure out why this did happen. Now that I know, I pay it forward and do my best to help others when the timing is right.
- Everyone has their breaking point. Your tolerance of abuse is going to be different than someone else. See #3. Depending on your experience in life and your support system determines if you recognize abuse and if you are inclined to say no or to sign up for it. Again, please do not judge.
- Maybe the most important,” if you have not walked two moons in my moccasins, please do not judge me.”
This song I think truly says a lot!