Updated: Jan 17, 2022
There is a gap between how we, as a society, define domestic abuse and how partners of addiction are being “treated” for the trauma they are experiencing.
Throughout the majority of therapists, relatives, and other resources I reached out to for help, I experienced an overall fundamental mindset that gave me the message that I was ‘just dissatisfied with my marriage.’ A dismissal that added insult to injury.
When a woman is caught within this gap, beyond feeling frozen and confused by her trauma, she is also unsure of what qualifies as domestic abuse.
Growing up I had heard about domestic abuse, but in my mind, it was someone who was exclusively being hit…a woman that must have done something to make her husband angry enough to hit her. I felt strong in my self-esteem and thought I would never let something like that happen to me. Simple.
Over the years I have found that there are generations of women that have held this same belief.
Most current therapeutic systems are not set up to help protect women from the unusual set of circumstances that the digital age of domestic abuse presents.
The perpetrator’s weapons have changed and so many women are caught off guard which leaves them exponentially vulnerable. There is nearly no one to turn to that has this contemporary expertise.
After going to therapist after therapist they still had no identification for what I was experiencing, so instead, they put all of their focus on my perpetrator’s experience. My voice remained buried.
We need to close this gap! Gaslighting, rage, manipulating, betrayal, infidelity, are only some of the weapons that are not being recognized and that are being used, to objectify, control, and gain power over someone.
I don’t think that these systems are going to change until we begin to use the appropriate labels that are needed to identify what we are suffering from. Domestic abuse in the digital age uses weapons that encourage sexual abuse in their partner while also breaking them down by attacking them emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically.
Oftentimes, without the knowledge of this specific type of abuse, it can be carried out in very subtle nuanced deceptive ways which makes it impossible to detect. Especially when it is someone you love and believe that you know very well. This contradiction, the opposing impetus, is what causes the trauma. It’s horrifying to find out that the person that you have focused your most intimate love energy and vitality into is actually your perpetrator! This is a fact that is too terrifying to face and the reality of this causes the trauma. The heart says, How can this be?
When your partner becomes your abuser he is now your perpetrator which makes you his victim so for a time you will need to label this as such. Just because someone chose to make you their victim doesn’t mean that you will stay victimized. It means that forever, even if the perpetrator rehabilitates himself he will always be the person that chose to make himself your perpetrator and he chose to make you his victim. That will never change.
Collectively we can begin to acknowledge and get some distance from our shame to gain a clearer understanding that there is no shame in being a victim because it wasn’t your choice!
Sometime after the validation of the fact that you have been a victim of domestic abuse and there is complete acceptance of this, then repair and healing takes on a beautiful pace.
Therapists and others have made themselves accomplices to these violations by supporting perpetrators and refusing to acknowledge and offer progressive support for victims of rampant domestic abuse in today’s digital age. This needs to end.
Over time, we can connect these imperative dots, and begin to close this gap if we are brave enough to define the change that is needed in this system.