I Only Know 17 Things: What I’ve Learned about Abuse

This is not a narrative I feel comfortable owning. My life, our four-family, this home is so filled with awesome. I need to be clear that my own four-family is not connected to this advice. We are all safe and loved. Ridiculously adored, and over-loved in an effort to avoid multiple generations of this level of insanity. (Many thanks to my spouse who is an unwavering rock in my narrative.) This is my narrative and it does NOT belong to the sweet O’s.

Here is what I’ve learned. I hope it helps even one person.

What I know:

1. It is okay to be done. At 35 years old I’ve decided this isn’t my story anymore.

2. It is okay to decide you won’t be a victim anymore.

3. It is okay to block phone numbers.

4. It is okay to scream really fucking loud as a defense.

5. It is okay to still love the person who abuses you.

6. Abuse doesn’t really change. Even if there are several years of comfort… it still looks the same.

7. It is okay to feel so broken it hurts to move.

8. I repeat. It is okay that it hurts to move.

9. It is okay to immediately seek therapy.

10. It is okay to file an order of protection, because your fear is real.

11. It is okay that size doesn’t matter. Abusers are beyond size.

12. It is okay that it sounds unbelievable.

13. Abuse takes on many forms. An abuser is someone who uses a position of power to manipulate you into feeling uncomfortable and forces/encourages/strongly suggests you should engage in something you don’t want to do.

14. Abuse can be physical, emotional, and financial. A triple threat is crippling.

15. Abuse does not have to make sense. If you are forced or manipulated or feel coerced into doing something you don’t want to do, that is a form of abuse.

16. Abusers are typically victims of abuse. That doesn’t make it okay.

17. It is okay to feel really broken.

I think I have learned 17 things.

1 thought on “I Only Know 17 Things: What I’ve Learned about Abuse”

  1. Hear, Hear. I can add one: It isn’t selfish to be happy. . . . . took me to age 60 for that one to sink in. Oh, one more. It isn’t wrong to own and share one’s experiences of life. In fact, being honest about our experiences can help others to know they aren’t alone in theirs.


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