Today I stuck up for a woman who was being verbally abused. For the past few months, her boyfriend had been yelling at her in their house across the street from me. I always wanted to help her, but I didn’t want to get into their business; all I heard was yelling, at least once or twice a week. I always hoped someone else would step in and call the cops on him but I don’t think that ever happened.
Well today they were standing in the driveway together, and he was making her pack up his car with all his stuff. By the sounds of it, he moved out because he broke up with her because he “didn’t want to be with her anymore” and he “never wanted to see her ever again.” He was screaming this over and over again so the entire neighbourhood could hear him, probably thinking this would make himself look better than her, but in reality, he was just making himself look like a complete a-hole.
But, of course, he didn’t leave quietly; not without his grand finale of a show. Not without tearing her down, one last time.
And she just stood there, letting him get in her face and verbally tear her to shreds in front of everyone.
I saw other people out in their yard go inside their house to get away from the disruption and I thought to myself, “Wow, no one is going to help this girl.”
I realized I was guilty of not helping her either. I think everyone, including myself, were just trying to stay out of it and not get entangled in their mess. Either that, or we were hoping someone else would be the one step in to do the dirty work to help end it.
But yet no one took any action and we all just let this girl get beat down, over and over.
So I said to myself, “That’s it! Today was the day I was going to do something about it.”
I watched from my lawn as I was raking leaves, listening to what he was saying for a little while, and coming up with a game plan of what I was going to say in my head.
I’ve personably been that girl in the past, and so I know being in a situation like this feels very isolating. A situation where someone you care about is screaming at you, telling you you’re worthless, and making you feel like you’re the cause of all their anger. When no one else steps in to help you out, you believe that everyone else agrees with this person who’s yelling at you; that you are a terrible person. If you weren’t, someone would step in and say something’s not right here.
The reality of this is the abuser is getting away with whatever he wants to say, and however he wants to say it, because no one is stopping him. Since everyone is allowing him to behave like that, it makes it okay in his book, so he just keeps going.
People probably don’t want to step in because they don’t want to get involved in someone else’s mess. Maybe they fear the abuser turning on them. Maybe they want to “be polite” and “mind their own business.” Maybe they are hoping someone else will help.
The way I see it, a fellow good human being is being emotionally tortured. This person does not know what kind of power she has in her because she always listens to what other people tell her and believes what she hears. She has not yet learned to voice her own opinions or truly think for herself.
She’s not a bad person for this, she just hasn’t learned to fight for her own soul yet. She doesn’t know how to handle conflict or how to recognize a mental illness in another person.
If you’re struggling with anything in this world, realize that the only person who can and will ever save you is yourself.
You have to develop your own unique core morals and values and you have to grow stronger. If you don’t, you will be eaten alive in this world.
I used to be timid, and now don’t take crap from anyone and can be feisty as all heck when I feel like something is off track from my own core morals and values. If people don’t like me for that, I don’t care. Those people aren’t worth my time anyways; if they can’t handle me at my worst, they certainly don’t deserve me at my best! On the contrary, people who work hard to keep me in their life are the ones who are worth keeping around and so I work just as hard to keep them in my life.
Back to my story about the girl being verbally abused today. I listened to and observed her getting berated by her boyfriend for about 15 minutes until I couldn’t take it anymore. No one else was doing anything so I mustered up my own courage, walked to the end of my lawn and said, “Hey girl!”
Their conversation paused and she turned and looked at me.
“Don’t listen to anything else he says. I can call the cops for you if you want.”
She then started to back away from him, and he jumped out of his car and started yelling at me – this took the heat off of her and distracted him while she ran inside of the house.
“Mind your own business! And you can suck my D, too!,” he said.
I just turned my back on him, and continued to rake leaves. End of conversation.
It doesn’t take much to help sometimes. All I had to say was a few sentences to him, and already had it mentally prepared in my head that I wasn’t going to let him get to me. I just said what I needed to say and then I was gone. Out of the conversation. I actually didn’t even have to talk to him, I was only talking to her.
I have no idea what she’s been thinking about the rest of the afternoon but I hope she feels like someone believes in her and has her back. Just knowing you’re not alone is sometimes all you need in order to move forward to a more positive life for yourself.
“You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop and what you reinforce”