What Makes Us Strong?

What gives a person strength? Why do some of us have the power to pull through, while others fall apart? These questions trouble me. I feel as though there is no answer to them. Observing the people around me, I see many who falter at the slightest hiccup in their lives. I wonder why we get so wrapped up in the little issues that bother us. Just the other day, S broke down about meeting Bryan’s mom. She literally started crying. Maybe I’m being a little harsh, but I thought that reaction was a little melodramatic. I suppose everything in life is relative. Perhaps that was hard for her because she has never had to go through anything more challenging. Then again, there are people who go through hard times and just can’t handle it. They fall apart. I wonder if it’s something you’re born with, or if life can condition you to be strong. I feel like it’s a little bit of both.

My friends say I am a very strong person. Sometimes I agree with this…other times I think I’m pretty weak. I’ve been through a lot in my life. Especially in recent years, I endured a lot with P. But I feel if I really had strength I would have been able to leave him. Was it really tough to handle all he put me through? Wouldn’t it have been tougher if I had been able to shut the door on him? I have a lot of guilt that stems from these questions. Sometimes I think I don’t deserve to be called a strong person because I couldn’t end it by myself. I certainly would not have been raped if I had that strength. I could have saved myself from a lot of hurt. I knew what P was capable of and yet I stayed with him. What does that say about me?

Writing about this hurts. I have a lot of confusion inside. How much blame should be placed on P? How much on me? It hurts every time someone asks me why I didn’t leave sooner. The judgement in their eyes burns through me, deepening this sense of guilt. I don’t know how to feel. All of the blame cannot be placed on P. That’s just not the way it works. There are two people in every relationship. So what was my role? Do I have the right to call myself strong? I try to work towards the answers of these questions. But I feel like a chicken with its head cut off, running in circles.



5 thoughts on “What Makes Us Strong?

  1. So much strength and gentleness to you today…

    Abuse is a hard thing to understand. Especially for strong, self-sufficient, determined women. – But you are not alone in this position. As one who was long victimized, and as a victims advocate I have often pondered similar questions…

    But don’t give in to this train of thought. In reality, the only person responsible for abuse is the perpetrator. A woman should never be put in the position of having to decide whether to stay or leave in the presence of abuse.

    And you should be proud of the strength and creativity and determination that has made you, not a powerless victim, but a survivor of someone else’s abuse.

  2. Abusers are skilled manipulators. It’s not your fault. I recommend reading Ditch That Jerk: Dealing with Men Who Control and Abuse Women by Pamela Wiseman. I was struggling with some of the same issues and this really helped explain things. It is a silly title for such a serious and important topic. But don’t let that fool you. I feel so much better and stronger in my resolve to stay away from my abusive ex after reading this. I’m now kind of on tear reading Kindle books on the topic. The more I understand, the more powerful I feel.

    Really, what he did to you is not your fault.

  3. Girl… I know these thoughts are real to you and are hard to answer, but looking in, it’s absurd. There are 2 people in a relationship, but you should have been respected and loved and you shouldn’t have had to deal with that. Everybody endures for love. When you fall in love the first time, you endure all because you don’t know any better. You haven’t learned what’s acceptable to you and what a healthy relationship is. You’re strong. You learned something huge with P. Don’t even think about the what ifs and don’t think about your role in it. You loved a man for everything he was, even the bad. It happens to the best of us.

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