Uncertainty…. Pt 1

It is funny how we rationalize our decisions based on our own uncertainties and fears. Relationship are no different from life it grows and evolves but uncertainty and fear can cause impasse.

Now based on my job I am always conversing and last week the topics was epic as we started to share our views on marriage. What was funny was, the views.

Melissa, one of the girls in the group uttered that she would not be getting married as marriage meant performing oral sex.

Oh, I didn’t know that oral sex was a criteria for married women. Seriously, I I thought oral sex was a private arrangement between lovers. It is crazy to make oral sex a reason to stay single, don’t you think. After all, oral sex is no longer a fad today’s women are more liberated to sharing their experience and so we know of many couples that indulge.

Melissa explained that like marriage, oral sex was sacred and should be experienced with a life partner. She was very serious in her tone as she spoke of the spiritual elements of sex.

I agree sex is spiritual and conceded that oral sex should be shared with a life partner. However, it is not a universal criteria and should not be used as a deterrent for marriage.

Kimono smiling and blurted “marriage leds to loss of freedom. Hence, this journey was a no no”. It is interesting, because I do believe this, relationship can make you loss your identity if you are not careful. And as sacred as the symbol of marriage is, each party now becomes accountable to the other. Forcing check-ins; forcing collaborative decisions. There is no “I” in marriage it is a team effort. Selfishness doesn’t belong in a marriage or a relationship actually. Therefore it is easier to hold on to you when your not in a married.

So in a relationship how do you hold on to “you”… This is a difficult is a very difficult question to answer and conversation to have.

Silence covered the room as apparently no one had an answer. The silence lasted for at least two minutes and then someone uttered if you really love someone you want them to be there best self.

Everyone in the room nodded; but I quickly cautioned that patience is needed as everyone’s growth rate ranges and forcing someone beyond their readiness level maybe a turn off. Adding that a person’s best self is who they are in the moment and encouraging them to be better must be coached not dictated.

The process of self growth is a very hard journey and the uncertainty of a relationship outcomes can be burdensome. Hence, it becomes even more important for each person to be allowed live each other’s self. Philosophical, yes but truth is truth as no one is suppose to dictate who you are.

The lone man in the room looked sad and just stood staring. He then expressed that he was at an impasse in his relationship… join me on Sunday to read his story – infidelity, control, limited support are just some of the reasons.

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Love it is or is it love…

A new year is often used by many people to reflect: on life, accomplishments or the lack there of. Some people even use it to reflect on love and relationship – asking questions like, is this the right relationship for me or have I made the right chose in selecting my life partner, or am I really in love, or am being loved and treated right or is it time for me to walk away from this relationship or should I stay.

The truth is, many of us are loved but are being loved wrongly. Many of us are living in a bubble waiting on an authentic love. We salivate over an experience that feels and sees a love without malice. A love that wants nothing in return. A pure love, a love that makes you smile, makes you accomplish your own dreams, supports your everything and stands by you even after nothing. A love so pure that it leaves you gasping. This sounds like a fantasy as it takes, a one in a million man or woman to give this pure love experience.

Lately, I have been taunted by the deaths of women who find themselves prey of dark love. A love that is cold, complicated and stems from obsession and sexual attraction. In December 2017, a 15-year old girl died by the hands of her 26-year old lover, sad isn’t. The news report stated that she ended the relationship but he didn’t want her to leave so he entered her home and shot her in front of her mother. This is dark love in its true definition. A love that stems from obsession and the need to control ending with dark deviant actions and outcomes.

Pure love is forgiving and understanding. It accepts that even though loosing love is not easy it sometimes requires letting go. A Pure love wants the best for its recipient and stands down with compassion leaving a window for friendship to evolve.

Pure love leads to healthy relationships knowing that it is not built overnight and it is not a cookie cutter one size fits all experience. Every person experiences love differently but all of us deserve to experience pure love.

The Conversation…mmmm

Sometimes I wonder…. The side bar conversation… Funny or funny, lol!!!

So, last week at work my coworkers and I went down a conversation path on “the cheater”. The females in the room were convicted that men are like ‘dogs’ who salivate at every dress-tail and sleep with any a woman. The words whore and disgusting were the beginning and end of every sentence. One of the females shared a story of friend whose husband cheated. As she shared, she described her friend and husband as power couples explaining that both had prominent high official jobs and that the husband cheated with only ‘tots’ and crawly girls. As she spoke the disdain was evident but what was shocking was the fact that the husband said that ” a vagina had no career” so he did not need for his side chicks to have degrees hence he screws anyone he wants.

The conversation went left when the men agreed with the statement “vagina had no career” and noted that women become too emotional over sex. I was also offended by the statement but I agreed that sex was an emotional process for women more than men. Most women only become intimate because they are ready to commit. I am not quite sure why though; maybe it is because we are the beings taking it in – the receivers. The men positioned that for them they have sex to escape and unwind not necessarily to start a relationship or to commitment to love.

We girls all shouted in one unrehearsed voice hoes!

They paid us no mind but continued to say that women are women… and noted that we liked to complain about being “put down” when we do it ourselves so easily. Smiling, I was stunned as they explain that vaginas don’t have degrees. Yes, they are an appendage of the whole person but they deserve higher level respect.

O lord, at that point I just shut up, as the men were putting us women in our place. The funny thing is that while it was hurtful to listen they had valid points firstly, as women we need to respect each other and secondly as men they needed to be understood and listened to. Cheating is a hard topic and the cheater is usually the men. Listening to a cheater is not easy, trust! These men are asking us to do something that they can never take. The conversation came to a halt because they were not willing to listen to the fact that women can do the same thing , cheat.

The Abused

As onlookers, we usually have a lot to say about abusive relationships. We often ridicule the abused even making suggestions of how they could rid themselves of the situation and/or the person. Even with this, the abused will tell you it is not easy they will go as far as providing reasons, some of which you may never understand or accept, as to why they stay.

The hardest reason to understand or accept is: that the abuser was a loving and very attentive partner for years and then they changed. The abused will advise that they are waiting for their relationship to return to what was. The change however never comes and the abuse escalates moving sometimes from verbal to physical. Or the verbal abuse ignites to becoming emotionally distressful.

The cold and hard question is, can an abuser change? The truth is yes and no. Yes, they can change if they accept that they are an abuser and are willing to change. Acceptance is hard to come by and often requires professional guidance for acknowledgement to be realised. The person will require treatment and will need to be re-trained on how to deal with their anger and manage self and deal will issues. This is not an overnight fix it takes time and the willingness of the abuser.

If the abuser is not able or willing to accept and acknowledge that they have abusive traits then they are not fixable. And, the abuse may escalate because of the attempt to have the person accept that they are an abuser.

It is often easier for the abused to acknowledge the abuse. The issue, though, most times is that they stay in the relationship out of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the person. The most difficult thing for the abused to accept is that they are being abused and it is not their fault.

And, the hardest abuses to accept and acknowledge are emotional and verbal and their several reasons why this acceptance is so hard to realise. A few of the reasons are low self-esteem and self-blame believing that one caused verbal and emotional beat-down. The extreme have noted that the abuser is just being expressive and means nothing and that is how they are. How then does nothing hurt? How then does nothing traumatise you? How then does ‘them’ being themselves make you feel less than a person? If someone puts you down constantly, makes you feel less than a person constantly, shuts you up constantly. Isn’t that abuse?

Though the physical abuse is more apparent, both the abuser and the abused will defend the reasoning behind the beating, the scares, the swelling, the broken bones, the fractures and the stitches. The question though is, how can someone love you and inflict pain? The abused is gender neutral. Yes, men have been abused by females and it is no different. Actually, the emotional trauma can be worse based on the societal definition of, who is a man? As it has become the norm for the woman to be abused by a man. I say, though, that neither is right and whether the abused is a man or a woman the abuse needs to be acknowledged and treated as such.

An abusive relationship is not easy for anyone especially if you want to walk away. The feeling of shame and dismay lurks. It can make a strong woman/men forget their strength and become weak. The thought of being judged or accused of lying because of family members, friends and colleagues perception of the abuser. Often describing the abuser as: good, nice, an excellent partner as no one sees the monster that lurks behind the door. The word love and what is it symbolises can also delay or prevent the abused from walking. The feeling of obligation due to manipulation makes it hard for the abused to trust their own thoughts or feelings. The fear of retaliation. It is true that abusive relationships often ends when the abused dies.

How we can help

While I encourage you to get involved to stop or prevent the abuse you need to do so cautiously. As the abused, when approached, may become defensive even if they are a close relative or friend worst if they are not. When engaging the abused you should:

1 Talk without being judgmental – In your first conversation trying to speak to them without being judgmental. Never cast blame on them or their abuser. Show concern, stick to the issue.

2 Listen more talk less – Allow them to talk and open up to you. You should always listen and respond without judgment. Let them tell their own store and decide on the way forward. Remember they are the one in the situation and they know and understand the abuser.

3 Never impose – Create an environment where they realise their own power so as to dictate their next steps. Remember this is not about you. Encourage never force, always meet them where they are at. Remind them that no one deserves to be abused and that they deserve better.

4 Encourage them to seek professional support – remember that walking away is hard. The abused will need to become physically and emotionally strong to tackle what is to come and restart their life.

5 Support them through it – this can be difficult as you will have to be patient even though it may become frustrating at times; as the first conversation may not lead to change. Remember it takes approximately 7-13 attempts for the abused to walk away from an abusive relationship. Noting that leaving can be a very tumultuous and an extremely dangerous time for the abused. Leaving requires for the abused to acknowledge the abuse, careful plan and have established a strong support system, especially if children are involved. Remember no matter how overwhelming, always let them know that you are there for them no matter what they decide.

Edited by: Baby Kimmie and Claudine

Share your thoughts or your story on abusive relationships, it may help someone

Next Issue – Types of Abuse …their psychological impact

Abuse ‘the disease’…

It was deliberate that I took so long to write on my blog as I wanted to be objective as well as forthright in my opinion on the topic of abuse.

In recent times Jamaicans have pondered over domestic abuse and there have been many opinions some of which have shifted blame towards the abused. This may be in part because of ignorance on the impact that the abuse has on the abuser as well as the long-term side effects of being abused. There was also one theory on marriage being a resolution being that fewer individuals report domestic abuse (spousal abuse) when married. I must caution that non-reporting does not indicate ‘no’ abuse happening. As there is a myriad of reasons for spousal abuse not to be reported such as; fear of losing their children or access to them, fear of judgment from family members and friends, inability to maintain self or becoming homeless and fear of being killed or harm to the child.

It is often quite easy to make pronouncements “when the shoe has not fit you”. I have spoken with both men and women who out of fear for life have remained in an abusive relationship and have not reported the abuse. Though some of the reasons may seem nonsensical; the truth is that they are the once living the abuse and so they understanding the risks especially when children are involved.

I would implore onlookers and persons who are concerned such as friends to be more understanding and patient. Be their voice of reason, but be patient with the pace that the reasoning is being embraced. Domestic abuse usually encompasses all the other type of abuse: emotional, sexual, physical and often even social. The abuser is ‘the dominant” in the relationship, they are in full control and often dominate the mental space of individual being abused. Fear is real for the abused and it is not until the person overcomes that fear that they can make the decision for their own wellbeing. Strength and readiness are at opposite tail ends and are not often in sync; hence, the pace to walk away or report an abusive relationship varies, with pride and religion often playing a major role.

As we propel on this topic, it will be important for the subject of the signs of abuse and the side effects to be discussed. If one understands what the abuse can do and what it looks like then more persons may be cautious when entering into relationships. Information needs to be shared with fulsome understanding and without bias. Knowledge is indeed power; hence abuse needs to be treated as a disease one that no nation wants to become an epidemic.