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Posted on March 20 2016
My brother's and I were blessed with parents and a family that taught us to respect others, love deeply, laugh often, show affection, be emotional, be kind and dance like nobody's looking. So why has God chosen me to raise my voice and speak out about domestic violence?
Before November 23, 2014, I had no idea what it, ABUSE, looked like. I definitely knew right from wrong, but I didn't know anything about ABUSE; not the signs, symptoms or its devastating effects. When my brother Tim died, it changed my life, forever. I began to learn of the abusive, manipulative, controlling relationship that my brother found himself in that ultimately took his life.
My brother was experiencing the same confusion and desperation that I felt in my own personal relationship. It was happening to me and I couldn't see it. How is that possible? I was right in the middle of an abusive relationship and I didn't even know it. My instincts told me something was wrong, but I just couldn't figure it out. So I kept trying...to figure it out. I believe that both Tim and I had only experienced love in our life and we had never witnessed or had been personally effected by abuse. How could we know something we never felt or experienced? I know for me it was just a feeling of confusion. Now that I know abuse intimately, I know how it looks and feels. It's horrible and eats away at your self-esteem. You excuse their behavior because you don't understand it. You begin to think it must be you so you begin to over think all your thoughts and actions.
The abuser is very skilled at what they do. They find out early on the relationship what it is that you need and with every chance, they present themselves as the person that can fulfill those needs and desires. The problem is they never follow through, lots of promises along with lots of apologies and then more promises. They put dreams in front of you and then snatch them away just as quickly. It's a game for them. It's how they keep you off guard and committed to stay in the relationship despite the outbursts. They can give you everything you ever thought you wanted. They are so in tune to your needs and desires and there only wish is to fulfill those dreams. I was never physically attacked, but I knew that some day, it was going to happen. The rage and unreasonable expectations that was directed at others would soon be directed at me. Simple things that seemed so unimportant became opportunities for him to show aggression towards me; touching a wall, dropping something on the floor, pepper on the table, splashing a drop of water on his truck. What I had perceived as a playful moment became an act of disrespect. Such small and insignificant things. Why would he make such a big deal over them? What I learned, is that abusers seek and create opportunities to abuse you. These small things are just a way to begin to break you, manipulate and control your actions. It's always something you did that caused them to react. The bad behavior always followed with good behavior. Again, more promises that would feed your needs and desires. Very quickly you forgot about the abusive behavior and focused once again on the new and exciting opportunities that lay ahead. I would remind myself, these are simple things, don't worry about the small stuff. I can work on myself and make changes and adjust my actions so I don't upset him. In the process, maybe he will see how insignificant pepper on the table or a hand on the wall are in life. He would change, I just needed to help him. Show him unconditional love.
Well, let me tell you, that doesn't work. They have no desire to change because you're the problem, not them or their actions. You cannot change an abusers actions by loving them. It will only continue to destroy you, your heart and your self-esteem.
I do believe that my brothers life saved mine. I don't know how much longer or how much more time I would have invested in this horribly destructive, unhealthy, unloving relationship if I had not had the opportunity to define it. It's ABUSE!
I love you Tim and I promise you I won't give up. I will use my VOICE. I will REACH out to others. I will SHARE our story. I will try to make a difference. Your big sister, forever.