MOVEMENT — The healing start to domestic abuse!
Do you feel belittled or put down by your partner/spouse?
Do you feel constrained to express your feelings in the fear of being reprimanded?
Do you feel gas lit by your partner or their family and left confused about their behaviors?
Do you feel that you want to seek help but hold back due to financial constraints or embarrassment?
If you resonate with any or all of the questions above, this blog lends you a perspective on what challenges mean to a domestically abused individual and more importantly what it means to MOVE amidst those challenges.
Challenges, adversities, worries, fears and anxieties are common place in everyone’s lives. Regardless of gender, age, profession, and social, ethnic or financial background, these enter our lives from time to time and for some of us remain the mainstay.
Although we get entwined in these, what sets us apart from others is whether we get stuck or we keep MOVING.
For an individual who has experienced domestic abuse, challenges and adversities manifest differently and so does the unique unfolding of life ahead.
Let’s demystify abuse itself before we touch upon MOVEMENT related to it!
It is commonly understood in various cultures that domestic abuse is restricted to women alone. The reality, on the contrary, is that it is experienced by both women and men, although the proportion of women reported to be abused is higher as they tend to be primary victims.
It is also a myth that abuse is only physical in nature. The reality is that abuse can be emotional, mental, sexual and/or economic.
Another myth to be busted is that abuse is commonplace in lower middle class or poorer backgrounds alone. The reality is that domestic abuse is agnostic to economic backgrounds but far less visible or reported due to the attached social stigma.
In all these realities, the common thread of abuse is its continuity as abuse once inflicted creates a power imbalance between the abuser and the abused, giving it enough fuel to perpetuate.
It is this continuity of abuse that creates deeper challenges for the victim involved.
The victim may associate shame, guilt, embarrassment, cultural conditioning, or plain lack of resources to his or her decision or surrender to let the abuse continue.
It is here that a crucial choice for the abused individual comes in. And the choice is of MOVEMENT. The abused may experience a surge of emotions and responses (or the lack of them), for example, be numb, in shock, be in a low mood, be fearful, be confused, and/or be subservient to the perpetrator.
However, even in these dark moments of continuing abuse, the abused has a choice of MOVING.
Here MOVING does not imply physical separation as a blanket solution neither is it the intention to recommend it here. There exists a space between an abusive incident occurring and the way an abused person processes and respond to it in their presence of mind at the time.
MOVING here implies that the abused gather all their resources — mental, physical, spiritual and emotional — to keep MOVING in thought and behavior to the best of their abilities in the given situation, and to understand and deal with the challenge in its face as it arises.
MOVING also implies attempting to clearly communicate with the abuser when an incident occurs or better still to nip it in the bud. Abusive incidents can be countless and quite subtle in nature as well. It is up to the abused to start recognizing what counts as cruelty and define a line of self-esteem in their relationship with the abuser. Attempting to communicate in the available wisdom is a brave and logical way to face the abuser with confidence.
MOVING also takes the form of protecting the abused person’s created identity as far as possible. This implies for example, a working woman not coming under pressure to leave professional commitments in the face of abuse or a woman protecting her right to privacy and expression by speaking with trusted family or friends about her experiences in the marital or civil partnership.
While these are but a few ways of MOVING, the intention here is to nudge the abused person to think straight in the face of the arising adversity and maintain their own benchmarks of tolerance and keep thinking of solutions including legal (police, lawyers, courts), medical (psychologists, counsellors), and non-medical (such as charity organizations, coaches) means, depending on the gravity and necessity of these stakeholders. The gravity and intensity of involving any or all of these stakeholders is the abused person’s call and simply reaching out represents MOVING.
As a coach, the space of contribution is the one where an abused person who is experiencing feelings of any kind including confusion, lack of self-esteem & confidence, listlessness, concerns about the future life, dealing with embarrassment, shame or guilt and such — feels validated and empowered about handling the situation like catching a bull by its horns.
Recently, a very well-educated young mother and past IT professional separated from her husband, approached me for coaching (another example of MOVING) to deal with her beaten down confidence as she experienced emotional and economic abuse from her marital family. She wished to receive coaching because she had made a distinction that she did not need medical support as much as she needed support and handholding to rise from the fallen state, look towards a repaired present and future and live by her own choices for herself and for her child. She was sure she needed a direction not medication! Yet another coachee who had lived most of her married life of three decades with abuse only in the interest of family and children, had now decided to move away from the abuse on the foundation of new found courage and financial independence!
I am amazed at the guts and gumption of women who know their boundaries of tolerance and when to take the reins of their life in their own hands and when to MOVE! I am also amazed by the many other women that these ones inspire to MOVE!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @email@example.com if you need cheerleading support and coaching to MOVE!