It takes time and some distance from the violent situation, to get our heads in order…
Living under domestic violence is not easy in the brain, because we are living under constant stress….and it clouds sound judgment.
It was only after several of the same incidents, that my inner voice said: “Wait a minute, there is a pattern here!”
It happens that, finally I was connecting the dots:
- Each time I tell him something positive, that is a success for me, I get his hostile reaction…
- Even more: the more success I get, the more aggression he shows…
How can this startling reaction be happening?
Or, in other words: does your husband beat you more, and exhibits more aggression exactly when you are successful?
Do you remember a time when you came back home sharing a positive comment received?
Some real appreciation, as a raise? Or an honor, like receiving a diploma, with your name on it?
Here is my story: I was beginning to get teaching assignments, at a local private small university…for little money.
It was the start of my teaching career what made this piece of paper significant… I was finally teaching at university level!
So, I get the invitation to attend a ceremony, where we new faculty will get recognized…and get our teaching diplomas!
Of course, I told about this event at home…planning how I was going to get dressed (do I need new shoes?) and very excited…
when I could watch the somber mood of my husband.
He began immediately accusing me of exploiting this opportunity to explore how to be unfaithful! and very fast he was beating my face.
I ended up receiving my diploma using dark glasses..but I went anyway.
He was making me pay for this small step towards my professional success…or financial independence.
Later on, I understood he was threatened by my steady walking towards developing my professional self.
For him, it meant I was leaving behind a traditional role of obedient wife, and he resented me for that. He imagined that the house would be abandoned, that I would not cook anymore for him, on the surface.
I understood that he was afraid of me getting to be more successful than what he was in his own life. There was a competition going on!
The more you develop yourself and explore what you are good at, beyond home duties, you walk into dangerous territory…
because hubby will feel threatened by this new woman, who is not the same person he married…
But we have a duty to develop ourselves, both men and women…
If he does not accept your right to self-development, and you dare to show how much fun you are having because you are becoming a real adult person in the world, the more punishment you will get.
I hope you have a different hubby, that can feel proud of his wife because you are progressing and learning and maturing:
a husband that is your partner in developing personally and not a jailer and controller, who thinks each one of your steps means an attack,
or a dirty competition destined to leave him in the dust.
And there is more: there is a scale by which a bit of rebellion gets a bit of punishment, but a larger step ahead gets a lot…
Are you connecting now the fact of leaving the marriage (and going to the shelter) with the real possibility of the husband killing you?
Sadly, this is the moment when more women get killed by their own husbands…To say it clearly: if you are married to a guy that is falling behind, not excelling in his occupation, and feeling jealous of what you can do (at the same time shouldering domestic work and the kids…), each step towards your personal development will be an insult to him. Another opportunity to feel rage because he is “postponed” “not-recognized” and “abandoned” by his wife when she goes to work each morning!
I don’t have a magic formula to protect you. What I want here to do is alert you to the risks of growing faster than him, if he is a resentful person who will attack you at each step forward you do.
This is the lesson…you need to know how and when you involve him in any information about your success. You need to moderate your satisfaction, hide your joy and cover up any reasons for him to feel postponed. You can use a simple trick: to get him his share of the recognition and praise: “you helped me get to this point..”
Of course, if this is too much emotional work to do, only to keep his ego quiet and not becoming a threat for you, then don’t do it. Otherwise, you will know that this is the time to prepare -step by step- a safe exit from this empty relationship and go your own way.
In this case, I wish you a safe, careful and well-planned exit!