May I call you Hope?
I realize we’ve never met, but you’ve been on my mind a lot this weekend. No, I’m not you’re biggest fan. I’ve never played soccer, and I don’t have a little girl who looks up to you. But I do have this blog where I write about women and health and fitness. And since mental health is part of a woman’s overall fitness, I feel justified in using this forum to write you a letter you’ll likely never read.
Because we do have something in common: we’ve both married abusive men.
Oh, I know– he’s not “abusive.” I mean, you’ve been dating him all of, what, two months? I’m sure he rushed you into marriage. You see, abusers want to get you to the alter before they are no longer able to uphold the nice-guy mask they’ve been wearing. You probably never dreamed you’d be spending the twilight hours of your wedding day being treated for an elbow injury and bailing your betrothed out of jail. Minor little scuffle over, what? You seriously hadn’t had the “where are we going to live once we get married?” conversation until the night before the wedding? Okay, I’m gonna jump off that rabbit trail, because I need to get to my point: you’re smarter than this.
|If a strong, beautiful woman like Hope Solo can
get sucked into an abusive relationship, so can you.
Know the warning signs, and run like hell
when you see even the slightest hint of abuse.
Honey, I get it. I do. You’re a strong and confident woman. Nice guys are intimidated by strong confident women. Only the jerks have the chutzpah to ask out girls like you. He swept you off your feet. He said all the right things. Sure, he was a little insensitive at times, but he always apologized, and he’s changing! YOU are the catalyst for that change. He loves you so much, he’s so smitten, that he wants to be better. Right? And that whole scuffle, well, it wouldn’t have happened if you had handled it differently. Right? Wrong.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can give you a pretty good idea of what the next year is going to be like. There will be about two weeks of bliss, maybe. But then he’s going to begin controlling every little nitnoid aspect of your life: what you wear, what events you can attend, who you meet for lunch when and where and for how long. It’s already gotten physical, and now that he knows you’ll cover for him, it’s a virtual guarantee that it’ll get physical again. Especially since he now believes, in his abuser mind, that he owns the deed. He bought you lock, stock, and barrel, and he’s entitled to treat you however he pleases. Oh, he’ll apologize from time to time. He’ll blame the alcohol, or the job/lack of a job, or it’ll be your fault somehow. You’ll stand there in amazement, disbelieving that anyone could treat someone this way, knowing that it’s wrong, but somehow reconciling it with the fact that he realizes it’s wrong, apologized, and promised to never do it again. Believing that you could have done something to prevent it. But he WILL do it again. He will. And the only way to stop it is to GET OUT.
You have friends. Were I one of them, I would have had a really hard time not standing up and yelling “RUN!” when that “speak now or forever hold your piece” part came around. There will come a point where you realize that your life might be in danger. (And please please PLEASE do not have any kids with this man!!!) When that time comes, your friends will be there for you. No one is going to think anything less of you for recognizing that you are NOT in a safe place. You’re a smart gal. You’re strong. You’re beautiful. You are NOT this person who is abused and mistreated. Don’t make yourself fit into that mold just because you don’t want to admit that marrying him was probably not the best choice to make. You’re not alone. I lived for 13 years in an abusive marriage, embarrassed at what I endured, disappointed that I couldn’t “fix” it. All the warning signs were there, just as they were for you. It wasn’t until I found myself coaching my kids on how to and how not to behave so as to minimize the abuse that I finally said “enough” and got us all to safety. Oh, I had left twice before that, and he promised to get help, promised to change. And he did. For a few months here and there. But he hasn’t changed. And neither will your now-husband.
We all make poor decisions once in a while. But that doesn’t mean you’re not strong enough to make good, tough decisions in the future. Hopefully, the very near future.
Cheering and praying for you from the “been there, done that” stands,
YOU ARE NOT ALONE! CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW TO GET HELP GETTING OUT!
If you have a feeling that the guy you’re dating or married to is abusive, check out this book, “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men,” by Lundy Bancroft. A counselor actually gave it to my husband years ago and I had to read it on the sly, hiding it between the mattresses and reading it while he was at work. I’m confident that it saved my life.