I worked in domestic abuse for 3 years; working to rehabilitate men who had seriously abused their partners, sometimes killing them. I watched a documentary last night following three women who were victims of domestic abuse and was appalled at the response of the courts in some cases. It made me want to write the following letter:
I hope you will take a few moments to read this letter and think about how this relates to you. I'm sure you have been through some terrible times in your life; perhaps you saw your own mother beaten up, or you've had your heart broken in the past. I'm sorry that happened to you. I know we live in a society today where you might feel torn to be the 'man' you were taught to be, and the man you want to be. Our culture creates conflict in men, encouraging you to be a person you don't know how to be, because all you've seen in your life is violence and control at home. This must be frustrating. I can understand why you would feel insecure in a relationship with someone. You want to be loved, and you want to trust, but you don't know how to because you've never experienced that before. Your partner may have similar issues, and maybe they seemed vulnerable when you first met, and in need of protecting, but because you loved them, they blossomed and started to get their own confidence back and wanted to branch out into the world. This must be hard to see if you were used to being the person to protect them, and the only person they had in the world.
I do understand what has lead you to this point, but do you want to be the person that carries on the cycle for future generations? You have the ability to change the course of your children's lives, or your partner's life, and especially your life. Your attempts at keeping control through abuse and violence may stem from insecurity deep down, and you've developed that insecurity from what you've experienced in your life, but do you want to pass that feeling on to others? Do you want your children growing up with that same feeling? Do you want the person you love to fear you and remain broken? It doesn't have to be like this.
You may be surrounded by other men who do the same, and it will be hard to put this behind you, but for the sake of family, love and future generations, please think about what you're doing. I know you don't feel good after you've hit her, or insulted her, or stopped her from seeing her family. I know you don't feel good when she's crying and bleeding and trembling because of what you've done. I know you don't feel good when you see the negative effect you have had on her self esteem and her life. So think about what would make you feel good? Would it make you proud to see her laughing because of something you said? Would you feel good to know you made her happy? How would you feel if she blossomed into a bubbly, confident and fun person because of the way you love her and supported her? Imagine feeling loved by her because she genuinely felt that love for you because of how you behave towards her!
You may not have had love and security before, but that's what you're looking for isn't it? You do know that no amount of abuse will help you get that don't you?
If you've broken her by abusing her, she will never forget that, and may not believe that you can ever change, even if you mean it. She may go the rest of her life avoiding relationships and turning away genuine love because she's been physically and mentally scarred by you. If she leaves because you've hurt her, you have to let her go. You've struggled to get over what you've experienced in your life, and she will too. But you can't keep a person with you if they don't want to be there. You wouldn't want to stay with someone who has hurt you; you may never trust them again. Put yourself in her shoes, and show your love by letting them go to try to be happy. You may feel sad, and you may feel lost, but you've made the mistakes and now you must live with that.
A true man takes responsibility for himself and works hard to make sure he never makes the same mistakes again. So acknowledge what you've done and the impact you've had, and go and do something about it. Become a man that people admire because he owned up to his faults and changed himself, instead of the man that people fear. Would you respect a man that decided to stop being the monster and started loving without control and fear? Would you respect a man who walked away and dealt with his self induced heartache without fighting back and threatening? Deep down you know you would. It's not easy, but nothing respectable is ever easy, and you're supposed to be 'tough' right? If you're so tough, then take the pain and the discomfort of realising what you've done.
Abuse is never OK, and one day you might be sat in prison learning this lesson, when you could have learned it before you killed her. Your inner strength is more important than your physical strength in life. I'm asking you to work on that instead of your fists.