How your abuser hurts you most is how he makes your loved ones feel for the very fact he’s in your life. For the fact of how he makes you feel. For the fact that you stay with him when he mistreats you like he does.
For the facts of the pain he causes you in myriad ways, that always seem to catch you by surprise; some so cruel as if to cause maximum pain. And yet you can’t seem to end it.
For the facts of the vicarious trauma that your dear loved ones’ face as they ride the hellish journey with you, always willing to do whatever they reasonably can; it’s just that all viable options to act seem beyond their capacity to do, for they are thwarted. To do anything, or to say anything, would only hurt YOU more. And they want to reduce your pain, not increase it.
For the fact that they can see your health plummet and your state of being eroded by the month or week or day. They watch on, prayerful and hopeful, but with each concession to your abuser, that hope begins to wane, and they find themselves in that in-between place of holding unacceptable tensions as they seek to find some way to resolve it for themselves.
But just how does one reach a place of acceptance when a loved one is being abused?
Your loved ones want your relationship over, but they feel they can’t say a word. Anytime they try and say something it backfires. They feel completely hamstrung. Indeed, they may feel like you; immobilised and unable to act even though a thousand potential actions circulate through their minds constantly. And to add insult to injury, fleeting thoughts arrive for the joy this torment may give to your abuser: “That’ll teach them! Mess with me and you pay!”
So, the way your abuser hurts you most is something you may have often considered.
It’s the vicarious impact of an ever-extending ripple of your pain into others’ lives you care most about, as they carry the tension and stress and ambiguous loss in themselves and on their own backs.