Duty and Loyalty. Two very important character traits. But at what point must we ask ourselves if our fealty to someone or something is no longer deserved, or maybe misdirected in the first place?
I speak to so many people who make excuses for people who treat them horribly. I recognize it, because I did it myself. But there came a time when my fierce loyalty put myself and my children in jeopardy. There was not the threat of bodily injury, but security was definitely an issue and emotional abuse was a constant in our home. It wasn’t until my marriage was over and I was speaking to a very dear friend that she turned to me, shocked, and said, “Christine, I had no idea it was that bad.” This was a woman whom I share everything with. Everything. From my deepest heartaches to my proudest moments, my deepest, darkest secrets, and things that I’ve never told anyone. However, the loyalty to my family was so deep rooted, that I even kept it from her, my closest friend. The worst part of it was, I didn’t even realize I was keeping it from her.
That conversation was almost a year ago and I’ve thought so much about it as I speak to other people (yes, mostly women) and hear that repeated, over and over.
So Why Do We Protect Those That Abuse Us?
Lots of different reasons.
- We believe it’s our fault
- We think it’s the only way to protect our family
- Financial security
- We’re embarrassed that we’ve “let” this happen
- Fear that society will judge us for not being able to create the home that we were “supposed to“
- Fear that we’re not actually worthy of better treatment and if we are public about the mistreatment, everyone else will know that we’re not worthy
I’m here to tell you that all of that is bullshit. Pure, unadulterated bullshit. You are beautiful, you are worthy, you are a miracle.
I’m very lucky in that I’m surrounded by people who love me and lift me up; people who show me a reflection of my best self and who honor my decisions, my timing, and my comfort level. I don’t believe I would have made it through the last couple of years without these people in my life.
Additionally, I’ve seen so many people care for an aging parent, sacrificing their own happiness for an abusive parent, resenting every moment. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to do that. In fact, you probably shouldn’t.
So Why Am I Bringing this Up?
Because I realize just how lucky I was to have those people around me and because I realize that everyone is not so lucky. If you’re one of those people – I want you to know that you can reach out to me. If you need a sounding board, or just some advice about your situation, I want to help you. I don’t want anything in return. Truly.
If you need someone to just listen, completely confidentially. I want to do that for you. I want to be here to lift you up, the way I was lifted.
Send me an email and let me know how and when you’d like to be contacted. Phone, Skype, whatever you like.
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