She didn’t see it coming; the blow came from behind. When she stood up to face him, he was waiting. This time he didn’t care if the neighbors heard. The shouted insults, accusations and name calling never let up that night. While he relentlessly blamed her for all that he believed was wrong in his world, their children listened.
Yes, she had attempted to reason with him in the past and had even left on a few occasions, maybe to pressure him to change, maybe to shock him into taking the situation seriously – or maybe simply to remind herself that she could leave. She always returned with the hope his promises and apologies were the truth this time.
His constant criticisms and ridicule undermined her efforts and eroded her self esteem. As far as he was concerned, she would never be good enough and he shared this insight with her every day. She even blamed herself for a lot of his anger. If only she was good at this or better skilled at that, he would be happier… she vowed to become all that he wanted; perfection in all that she did. Her vigilant effort didn’t seem to matter to him.
The tension in their home was almost palpable; she did everything she could to keep things calm. It used to be months between his violent outbursts, but now the violence was happening more often than not. His anger seemed out of control, even nonsensical at times and it scared her.
Protecting herself and buffering their kids from the chaos and craziness of the abuse was both overwhelming and draining. Attempting to stay emotionally healthy and physically safe in a supercharged abusive environment is a daunting undertaking and takes its toll.
She was tired; living like this exhausted her. She was tired of pretending to family and friends that everything was good between them, tired of supporting the positive image her partner had created for himself in the community, tired of pretending she was happy, tired of being lonesome, tired of participating in the façade, tired of living a lie.
Leaving an abusive relationship can be the most difficult and dangerous time for a woman as her abuser feels he has lost all sense of control over her. The Jean Scott Transition House (of Hope & Area Transition Society) located in Hope, B.C. has been providing resources to meet the needs of women and children fleeing abusive relationships since 1993.
Women with or without children who seek refuge at the Jean Scott Transition House receive accommodation, abuse education, safety planning, resource and referrals, and emotional support. If a woman is in need of Transition House, she can phone directly to 604-869-5191 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Jean Scott Transition House has a dedicated staff team who support women in their journey, no matter what they decide to do. Everyone has the right to live free from abuse and yes, this means you too!
Karen Jongs is a Women and Children Support Worker with the Hope and Area Transition Society.