Trying to explain, and trying and trying and trying
Audrey Assad’s “I Shall Not Want” is to Ellie as “Eye of the Tiger” is to Rocky Balboa. Every line of that song has come to life for me in this ordeal. The second stanza, which speaks of wanting others to understand, is the part I’m really thinking about today. And deliverance has come and is coming for me in this area. I am so grateful.
I thought I could explain things to X’s allies and they would understand. I wanted them to understand, to help me, to help HIM! They didn’t and they won’t without God’s intervention. This explaining played a part in keeping me trapped, even after I had left X. I saw X as trapped and needing help. I thought he had become something he didn’t want to be and he needed his friends and family to help him see that and help him turn away. And I begged them to help. I told the people who I thought X respected about what was really going on in our home. I asked them to help my children, to help their son. I got lots of questions, some prayers, and once his dad even cried. I thought they got it.
They did NOT get it and they still don’t.
The explaining is a trap. We want to be understood. And the harder we try to clear up misunderstandings, the more we feel misunderstood. This keeps us stuck and it keeps the abusers and their allies in power. And we feel like we’re going crazy.
The questions. I realize now that there are certain people who don’t want to take action, but they don’t want you to know that. So they ask questions to make it look like they are interested. And I would answer these questions. And they nodded and asked more questions and I thought that there was understanding. The next time we talked though, it was the SAME questions. I assumed that they just forgot and I answered again. Wash, rinse, repeat. That should’ve been a clue. But I was naive and I kept on answering the incessant questions. Now when I hear someone who I know heard my first answer asking me a question again, it’s a big ol’ red flag flapping in the wind. That interrogator gets reduced interaction with me because I don’t feel he/she can be trusted.
Now I think that people who don’t understand, won’t. And I move on. Now, with ACFJ’s help, I’ve found lots of people who do understand – the first time I say it! Oh, this is so freeing! Finding support here and in person through church and support groups has been very healing. I am not enduring the stress of having to tell my story to someone who doesn’t want to believe me, who thinks that my reaction to abuse has ruined family holidays because I refuse to participate or to be around abusers. I am not telling my story to someone who doesn’t want to take sides or wants to appear objective so that my abuser won’t get his feelings hurt. I have found people who have been there, done that, survived, found coping strategies, and are willing to listen and help. If you find yourself explaining again and again and AGAIN to your abuser or his allies, you might find more help in a different place where folks are willing to stand against evil even if it hurts an abuser’s feelings.