I’ve given much thought to this, and I wondered why I would even need to write about CONTROL. Really, I believe everyone knows what it is. Either they’ve enjoyed controlling others or have been controlled by others on some level. They (we) have all enjoyed controlling (or not) ourselves either in what we eat, wear, where we hang out, what we do, think….and how we react.
So, first things first to get it out of the way, what is the dictionary definition of CONTROL: To have power over. RULE.
If I were up to me, the definition would state: To deceive another through manipulation by means of brutal and subliminal words and actions in order to create the desired outcome of confusion, fear, and ultimately…neediness from that which is being controlled / ruled over / or otherwise victimized.
These subversive tactics work on anyone who is ready to please and who lacks an understanding of self-worth. This person wants to trust their abuser, so they do. This person eventually becomes a victim. They are not a victim in the beginning of the relationship – they become a victim. Meaning, this control over / of them does not happen instantly. The future victim warms to the abuse over time, and the abuser takes advantage of this time. They bide their time.
The abuser confirms what the future victim already thinks about themselves. I’m worthless. Ignorant. Lacking. I don’t deserve happiness or someone who really loves me. Losers are attracted to me. I always pick the rotten apple. This is my life. Suck it up. Maybe he will change.
So, in essence, the victim without consciously saying, “Yes, I’d like to be a victim from today onward.” allows this very thing to happen because of the way they think. Please know, I am NOT saying it’s okay to abuse anyone regardless of restrictions or none placed by the victim. What I’m saying is, if a person does not have the mental fortitude to think of themselves as worthy of better, they will succumb to all lesser thans.
What happens next? This is the crux of this post. Not the control, but the effects of the control on the victim.
I will call her “she” as the majority of perpetrators are male on female. She begins to pretend. In essence she begins to lie to herself, to everyone around her and to outsiders. She goes straight into denial, first and foremost, which becomes shrouded in fear, embarrassment, lack of knowledge, shame, her own lies to herself and deceit from within that she maintains in outward appearances. She guards / protects her own until she no longer can and turns a blind eye (painfully and purposefully) to any abuse perpetrated against those she loves. She has zero idea how to defend herself much less her loved ones. So she remains in a silent hell not knowing what to logically do. Logic left the building a long time ago for her. She is in self-survival mode only, and it’s a moment-by-moment abyss of darkness for her. She is NOT oblivious to abuse poured out onto those she loves. Contrary. She simply has no idea how to break the cycle – how to get away – how to make it stop. She sincerely wants it to stop.
Denial is long gone. Skepticism and shock left soon after. Everything good and everything surprising has been replaced with anxiety perpetrated by fear of him and fear of the unknown. The “what’s going to happen next” thought process. Her anxious, self-centered thoughts prevent her from thinking rationally, and she suffers mental anguish every second not knowing what to do. What replaces rational? Irrational.
She is stuck – in her mind – putting makeup on to cover the shame of sleepless nights she attributes to aging vs stress from fear and simply not being able to sleep that professionals would label insomnia. She may do things in extremes of absentmindedness to excessiveness in a routinely dysfunctional manner (overeating, drinking alcohol, staying in bed, not doing housework, not cooking, watching tv, obsessing over social media, becoming paranoid yet fixated on fake news to the point of believing the sky really is falling, bathing, not bathing, crying, praying, memory lapses, swinging from not knowing how to talk to being overly chatty as she seeks some sense of normalcy…) all of which only stimulates the abuser who is accusing her of being less than. She has become outwardly what she has always thought of herself inwardly. She has also proven him correct. I believe that is self-prophecy come to pass.
So, what about control? How does she break free from the cycle of control? It will be different for every victim and some simply will not be able to break the cycle on their own. I was lucky. I had an adult daughter who cared (see the intro to this blog), and as you will read in the next paragraph, I became physically broken. It was a combination of those two things that I was able to break the cycle. I was personally purposefully isolated by my abuser. He abandoned me physically and then once back together, he abandoned me physically inside the house and inside the marriage. However, truth be told, we were never really together. I believe his abandonment began the moment we were married.
For me, I always knew it was a far – very far – from even being a remotely intimate partnership of a marriage. More of a sham, really. Once I fell that July and broke my pubic bone, I had a lot of time to think. And as I grew in physical strength and learned how to walk again, my thinking over the subsequent months also grew in strength. My very real fear of him stayed, but my logic began to return. I began to watch him. I began to test myself around him – I began to test him in that I would think, “If I say / do / act this way, he will say / do /act that way” and sure enough, he would. I began to “know” him as I studied him. What I realized was that, even though I was afraid of him, even though I rationalized we could make it work, I had stopped liking him as a person. I loved him as a person that only the God kind of love for another human can muster, but because of his treatment toward me and my grown children for six years, I didn’t want to stay with him and continue taking it…the way he was and had been from the beginning. However…and here is the nutty part…even up to the day I was leaving, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted our relationship to work out. I wanted him to call me and tell me he was sorry – that he’d screwed up – that he wanted to make it up to me. Even after everything, I still wanted it to “work”.
He didn’t call.
Hi! I’m MJ! And I’m a survivor of Domestic Violence. It has taken me since 2016 to get to the point that I can now share my heart with you and not freak out about what someone might think of me.
With all the help I’ve received from family, new friends, and professionals in the spiritual and mental health arenas, I know had I NOT gotten the help I needed, I’d still be struggling.
What I hope to do is help other survivors get a grip faster than it has taken me.
Through VictoryLife House, I have developed a platform for survivors to meet the professionals they need at a reduced rate. Just for them! Just for VictoryLife House! Just because I believe survivors are worth it!
Life without abuse IS an option. Choose life!
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