How Do Smart Women End Up with Abusive Men? I was asked this question countless times as my I found myself stuck in an abusive relationship that began to spiral even more out of control. He didn’t seem abusive in the beginning, but the longer we were together, the more his abusive behavior began to seep in. It started off with frigidity and verbal abuse but soon became evident that the man I was dating was very spiteful and would go for the jugular in the most minor of disagreements. Even after all these warning signs, I still didn’t believe anyone when they told me that one day it would escalate to physical violence. I will never forget that day, the day I almost became a statistic— another homicide victim resulting from domestic abuse.
Certain family members would continuously asked me why someone like myself, a person with a seemingly high IQ, would allow themselves to be treated this way? How could a smart person end up in this situation? Every time I was asked this question, I cringed. The inference that I was stupid or ignorant because of my poor relationship choices did not help make my already out-of-control situation any better.
Anyone who is familiar with the dynamics of an abusive relationship knows that falling prey to one has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence or even their socio-economic status; rather their vulnerability.
Believe it or not, even with the career success I’ve had thus far, my life is far from perfect. I am of course grateful for the opportunities I’ve gained and work hard every day to become better and better. Being human, however, I am infallible and I end up in really bad relationships a lot of the time.
I am a hopeless romantic, this might actually problem numero uno. When you think in Cinderella terms, the love at first sight and other promises many men are more than willing to deliver are taken to heart far too prematurely. Growing up with abuse and neglect I am forever searching for a person that I can rely on. It is not one sided. I would love the opportunity to be someone’s rock as well, to really step up to the challenge and be there for someone else selflessly.
Rape, domestic violence, abuse, I’ve been through it all, and I am an open book. I’m not hiding my life story nor am I brandishing it without request. I feel that good can come out of the bad things that happened to me. I believe sharing my story is one way to validate these traumatic experiences while helping others heal.
Like many of the artistic and literary predecessors before me, I am neurotic. Yup, just a little bit. This doesn’t translate well into relationships, well that’s according to the people I’ve dated. I’m not sure if I believe them, however. For one, my friends haven’t left me yet despite my anxiety and neurosis. If I was truly that bad, I’m sure they wouldn’t have stuck around this long. Secondly, I have many good qualities that certainly outweigh the bad ones. I am loving, compassionate, kind, I will do anything to help.
When people fall prey to abusive relationships, it is often difficult for them to get out. When they do finally get out of the relationship, they often find themselves repeating this same pattern again and inevitably ending up in another abusive situation. For somone who has never been in this situation, it is difficult to understand why the abuse victim continues to live this way. Usually, the abused party will continue to play the role of the victim in this cycle of abuse until they have their “Tina Turner Moment.”
Ike and Tina Turner had one of the most widely publicized abusive relationships in entertainment history. Through over a decade of marriage, he abused her and other band members. When we think of their relationship, we often think of the physical abuse, the most difficult type of abuse for an abuser to hide as there are immediate physical scars and symptoms, but there was undoubtedly more to it than just physical abuse.
I was once victim to these circumstances. I had grown up with abuse and the pattern naturally took a role in my relationships when I began dating. Each boyfriend became progressively worse than the last. Until I met one guy who was everything the others weren’t. He was nice, polite, and gentle. He loved children and animals. Though this is who he portrayed himself to be, there was something empty about his actions, as if he was acting the role of this nice guy without emotions behind it. That was one of my first impressions of him; that he was pretending to be nice but was really a psychopath. I soon learned why they tell you to always follow your instincts.
My family and friends met and liked him. I confided to a few of them my fear that maybe he was just pretending to be nice and that he was truly a psychopath. Since I have a reputation for being overly cautious, they brushed my statement aside and cited that I was so used to being in bad relationships that I was scared that a nice guy was actually interested in me for once. Regardless of what they said, I still thought I might be right. I wasn’t yet strong enough to break out of this cycle or to listen to my inner voice, and of course, I wanted to buy what they were selling. Everyone wants that nice person to sweep them off their feet, to kiss their tears away, and to (insert other ridiculously overused love cliches here). Anyway, I wanted what everyone wanted: love, and here he was promising literally to be my knight in shining armor. I was incredibly vulnerable as I fell into this trap. I had just been ditched by another guy who I dated briefly, after confiding in him that I had survived rape.