I am not asking for your pity

This is a story of a young woman who is trying to fight domestic abuse at home and is desperately looking out for help. Her problem is not a typical physical abuse case but an extreme case of mental and emotional trauma; what this means is that her bruises are not visible but her pain is much deeper.

**********

Tara, a 21-year-old undergraduate student, walks into her classroom. She looks deeply disturbed and sits alone on one of the last row benches. She had decided a day before that she will discuss her problems with her friends. Though they all know about her situation very well, but Tara still wanted to talk her heart out, again. It was getting impossible for her to handle all this on her own.

Tara persuades one of her friends to miss a lecture so that she can talk with him. Her conversation with her friend, Rob, in the college café.

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inspiring-evolution-domestic-abuse

Tara: Thanks for missing this lecture to talk to me.

Rob: No problem. Tell me what is going on?

Tara: Just the same old story but now it is becoming unbearable for me.

Rob: Look Tara, you have to be strong. Handle it with a mature mind and everything will be fine..

Tara: I understand that Rob, but my situation is getting worse day by day. I cannot tolerate it anymore. It is very tough to be in such a place in life where everyone is giving you nothing, but pain, torture and abuse. I am not able to study properly, my health is deteriorating and all the time I feel as if my life is nothing but a dark room full of people who hate me. I am not saying that I don’t believe in a better future but how do I fight my present? I know I have to be strong and trust me I am giving my hundred percent in trying to fight this, but at times I feel helpless, alone and unloved. I feel no one cares about me.

Rob: Hmmm…Everyone goes through problems in life. You just have to brave and fight it.  Don’t get over emotional about things and just fight through. Just be a little mature about things. I cannot tell you what to do or how to handle it.. You will have to learn it yourself. And  one more thing. Stop sharing your story with everyone all the time. They laugh behind your back.

Tara: What?? Laugh behind my back. Why? I am not responsible for my situation so why should I be embarrassed talking about it. I have not created this situation, I was born in it. I feel homeless despite having a home, and alone despite having family and friends.

Rob: I get that but then what can anyone do about it. How is talking about it going to help you? You have to fight it bravely.

Tara: I know that Rob and I have fought this for many years. I share my problems with others not because I want everyone’s pity.  I share because I am desperately looking for help. I don’t want to be that person who dies within because of all the pain, blames herself for her situation, and feels that she deserves such inhuman treatment. I don’t want to be that person. I want to get out of it. This is why I talk to people about it. I had no clue that people see that as a sign of weakness in me. I thought I was being brave by talking about it in open, and by not trying to cover my wounds. Should I just pretend to be fine so that everyone thinks I am normal?

Rob: Probably yes. Look, I am trying to help you here and we all  feel sorry for you but please do not discuss your problems with everyone.  There is no one in the world who does not face problems. Tom just went through a failed relationship, and Meera did not clear her exams You just have to suck it up and move on. Move on in life, Tara.

Tara: Hmmm..I am trying Rob. I am trying…..

********

No, Rob or Tara’s other friends are not insensitive people,but somehow, they fail to become her strength. They do not understand that Tara shares her problems as she wants their support.  She wants her friends to empathize with her, and not sympathize with her situation.  They do not understand that she is trying her best to fight it and all she expects from them is their patience, love, care and support.

So, next time if a domestic abuse victim asks for your support, do not ask her/him to be strong. Become their strength in every which way possible. Help them with their studies or take them out for a cup of coffee or just listen.  The long-term effects of emotional abuse are devastating and can even affect the abused person for the rest of their lives.  Do not let the burden of an abusive relationship push your friend or family member into an isolated corner. Reach out to them and take these three simple steps–

Listen    –       Support-       Guide

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Links for help:

Signs of emotional abuse in children: http://www.teach-through-love.com/emotional-abuse-signs.html

Signs of emotional abuse in adults: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm

How do I get out of an abusive relationship?

Help line numbers ( India) – http://jagori.org/resources/helplines/

Help line ( International) – http://sweetmarie9619.wordpress.com/international-domestic-violence-links/

Excellent information pool on abuse. Must visit. http://thelaststraw.wordpress.com/

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17 thoughts on “I am not asking for your pity

  1. Pingback: Finding your happily ever after | Inspiring Evolution

  2. Excellent post Deepa..this is perhaps because of the way we have creating our society. One of the thoughts from Aamir Khan during a corporate conference was:
    Right from the time a child is born, we ask him ‘Did you come first’, or how many marks did you get in your test’ Or ‘was your painting the best in the class?’ and in this way we induce the thought that the only thing which matters is ME r rather I..the big I. And I shall do anything and everything to keep it high by hook or by crook…and so in all these things..those values of compassion, empathy get extinct forever..if only we could ask our kids(or maybe ourselves as well) ‘how many people did you help today Or how many smiles did you bring ..the world would be a different place..
    Alas ! my pessimistic mind says thats a lost Atlantis..:-(

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    • Trust me if that were the case, this world world have collapsed by now. There is evil but there is goodness as well.

      Focusing on evil gives it strength to grow bigger. So focus on positive things and spread good vibes all round..

      Like

  3. Comforting words, a shoulder to cry on, a hug, a call perhaps and some time…is that so hard? A small respite from the horrors they are subjected to. The worst of it is that the victims are made to believe it is their fault, the least that we can do is provide emotional support. Beautifully written and thought provoking.

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    • Welcome to my space Preethi and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      No one likes to be vulnerable nowadays. We shield ourselves and we expect the others to do the same.
      People are expected to ignore feelings and put the brave face on. It is not okay to show your wounds .

      How will we build a strong society if we do not stand for each other?

      Like

  4. Pingback: Anonymous

  5. Dear Deepa, you need a “love” button 🙂

    All too often, people on the outside of the abusive relationship fail to see the amount of hurt the person is suffering — even when we try to tell them. It is NOT as easy just getting on with life. If that were the case, we wouldn’t need to ever talk to anyone about what we are going through. Sometimes maybe we don’t want someone to feel pity or sorrow for us but to slow down and take the time to listen to us and think before you speak if you choose to offer advice. Telling someone to get over it or move on is NOT kind or compassionate.

    Perhaps this is something that people say because they have no idea what to say. In this case, I would much prefer my friend or loved one just come out and tell me this! It doesn’t mean you do not care, but it means you care enough to NOT want to say something that may come across as insensitive when you do not mean it that way.

    Also, if we wanted to spend our lives suffering, we would hold everything in and carry around a big, dense, murky cloud with us wherever we go. The point is to get what we feel out so it can be processed, the thinking we were brainwashed into can be corrected, and the hurt can be alleviated and *let go* But we do this on our own time, not anyone else’s, and no one has a right to tell another human being how they should go about their healing process. Victims and survivors of abuse feel things differently, as they are individuals, and the severity and duration of what they go through also contributes to how long it takes to heal.

    Fear of rejection, ridicule, and of not being believed are just a few of the reasons why victims do not come forward and as a result suffer in silence. It seems as though society at large, globally, really, believes that if a person comes forward with this that they are a source of shame and should be shunned. We are criticized for not keeping it behind closed doors and handling it ourselves. However, when you are in a situation similar to mine where you are trapped behind those doors every day of your life and being struck repeatedly with wood and metal bars, for example, shall you really fear this stigma and not come forward for whose sake? Your friends? Your family? Is the shame of abuse more important than our physical and emotional safety?

    True friends realize that not every day is going to be sunshine and fluffy kittens. Friends listen to each other’s pains and if they cannot offer anything else but COMFORT, they do this. Even at 2 in the morning. And If you friends are not among those who love and value you when times are tough, they definitely do not deserve you when times are good.

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  6. Brilliant article. Sometimes we do not act responsibly enough in situations which do not concern us. This post really helps in understanding how bit of empathy and effort can benefit someone in need. I always going to follow LSG mantra (Listen, support, guide)

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