What is Abuse?


November 13, 2011

What is abuse? The word really baffles me at times. I mean lately I feel as though abuse is the most abused word in the English language. And I hate to say it but some people are just addicted to it. In the same manner that drug addiction is a disease I believe abusive relationships can be a disease as well.

I got a call from a close friend a few a nights ago who told me that she got into a dispute with her boyfriend. The same boyfriend who always verbally berates her and the same boyfriend who she always manages to go back to. Oh yes and this is the same friend who is absolutely always in an abusive relationship. But this time something appeared to be a little different. The tone of her voice sounded as if she was high. Not high on drugs but high on adrenaline. She reminded me of how fighters sound at my gym after they’ve sparred for the first time, and of course that’s what happened. Her boyfriend flipped out and hit her which is something that a man should never ever do, but at the same time when she told me the story it got complicated.

In real life domestic violence situations are always puzzling which I find to be totally irksome. If abuse in the real world was as clear as how Ike Turner abused Tina in the movie “What’s Love Got to do With It” then I would be a considerably less tormented soul, however, this is never the case. She told me she became suspicious of him dating another woman and even though she has seen at least one other guy while they were together she decided to confront him about it; at his home in the projects, with his two little sisters and mother present, in the middle of the night. He responded by asking her to leave which she refused to do. Instead she decided to tell him about some guy who she “almost” slept with the previous night.

Now at this point in the conversation I began to get nauseous and I’m sure you are too. I was finding it hard to conceal my contempt for her atrocious judgment. And I never want to blame the victim but it was difficult for me to restrain from doing so because I care about the victim and don’t want to see her in that situation again. It’s troubling because my friend is an educated, highly articulate, young poetess. So I can never understand why she puts herself in so many bad spots.

After she says this the guy gets upset and slams her to the ground. She gets up swinging and then he socks her one good time in the face. She says after that she passed out on the bed and woke up an hour later to ask him for ice. He refused. She went back to sleep. She woke up the next morning to his kisses. He asked was she OK, which I guess brought her a certain amount of joy. A few moments later he took her car keys and said he needed to take his little sisters to school. I stopped her after that. It was too much.

I asked her what she was going to do. She said her home girl took pictures of the bruises and she filed a police report. I asked her the same question again and she said she didn’t know. She doesn’t want him in the system because the system won’t help him and she couldn’t say whether or not she was going to get back with him because she needed time to think about. I can’t remember anything else she said because I tuned her out. As smart as the young lady is she’s very stupid.

I just can’t comprehend it. In the past I’ve had a loved one put his freedom and his athletic scholarship on the line to violently defend the honor of his sister who was beaten up by her boyfriend only to see them walk in the house hand in hand a few months later at Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve also been in situations where I felt as though a woman was deliberately pushing my buttons in order for me to strike her and then she considered me to be less of a man when I did no such thing.

I know that there are countless people in the world who have abusive partners and it is something that we need to aggressively pursue an end to as a society but at the same time there is a contingent of people in this world who seem to find a certain peace inside the chaos of an abusive relationship. For some people who grew up in abusive households violence is to dating just as dinner is to a movie. I’m wondering is it still abuse if someone goes out of their way to make it happen or is it merely a perverse partnership only understood by a select few. I’m not sure I’ll ever know.


3 thoughts on “What is Abuse?

  1. Wow hectic. This may sound awful but it sounds as though she got the response she was looking for… The only real victims of the world are children in car accidents- I was told that by a physiologist last year. So true! Sounds like your friend could do with a little mental clarity too. It’s not healthy to pick apart someone you supposedly care about until the point of rage

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