I’m appalled, shocked, and frankly infuriated by the amount of clients I get that are experiencing domestic violence.
“It only happened once.”
“But he loves me though.”
“Y’all just don’t understand him.”
“I don’t know what I would do without him…”
These are many of the justifications I hear from women as they search for any and every reason to stay in an abusive relationship or marriage. You might ask yourself, why doesn’t she just leave? Well, with her spirit broken, body bruised, and self-esteem beat down, leaving becomes harder and harder. The more I thought about this topic though, my quandary wasn’t over why women should leave my but rather why so women were involved in these relationships! This is my letter to you, my letter to me, and my letter to MEN.
I get it…..you may be holding on to a lot of anger in your heart, and you may feel that the only way to keep control in your life is through force or through making someone else feel what you’ve felt.
I get it…..you grew up in dysfunction and your father beat your mother in front of you and that’s what you have grown to believe manhood is.
I get it….you lost your job, you haven’t been able to provide and you feel like less of a man so you hold on to the one thing that makes you powerful and that’s your physical strength.
I get it…..you’re afraid and you don’t want her to leave you so you feel like the way to get her to stay is to make her feel like no one else will ever want her.
I get it….you’re frustrated because you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and no one understands your struggle or empathizes with your pain.
I get it….no one ever taught you how to manage your anger or be emotionally intelligent, thus you don’t know restraint, you only know attack.
I get it…..you can’t admit to your insecurities so when you begin to feel vulnerable you lash out as a way to show that you don’t have any weakness in you.
I get it…she said hurtful things, challenged your manhood, threatened you and maybe she even hit you and you just felt the need to defend yourself.
There are a lot of things I get, but what I don’t get is why you can’t understand that your woman is here to help you and not hurt you. Men we were put here on earth to protect our women not to be the ones posing the threat. Here are a few ways as men we can help decrease the domestic violence.
1) Find ways to handle your stress
Many of the domestic disputes aren’t even about what caused the fight, they are just a build of stress caused by other issues and then suddenly the ball of stress explodes. Men, find yourself an outlet whether it is exercise, a sport, a hobby, or whatever… just manage your stress on the front end so it doesn’t cost you on the back end.
2) Work on your mental health.
Yes fellas I know we are taught to just “handle” things, but the truth is that many of us are mentally and emotionally unhealthy and not dealing with those things are a recipe for violence later. Counseling and therapy don’t make you weak they make you stronger!
3) Men hold men accountable.
One thing I refuse to do is remain cool or friends with a man that abuses his woman. Men have to hold other men accountable if they know what is going on. You may not think it’s any of your business, but the people I choose to associate with are my business and abusive men shouldn’t get any love from other men. In fact they should be called out. We have more influence on each other than we know.
4) Walk away.
If you haven’t learned to communicate without being defensive and if you can’t manage your temper then find yourself an escape route and cool down.
5) Think about your family.
Your sons will grow up thinking it’s okay to be violent with women, but they will also grow up resenting you for the way you treated their mother. Your daughters will grow up believing that it’s acceptable for men to disrespect and beat them, and until she is old enough to discern then she will resent you as well. Eventually your woman will find the strength to leave and you will have lost everything.
6) Learn to effectively communicate.
Attack the issue not the person. Understand that effective communication is about speaking & listening not chaos and confrontation.
7) Give her permission to leave.
I’ve told my wife that if I ever become abusive I want her to leave me. I want her to know that no matter the vows we took and no matter how much she loves me…. that it will NEVER be okay for me to abuse her or any of our children. This automatically holds me to a higher standard and it gives her permission on the front end to know that it should be a DEAL-BREAKER!
Again fellas I GET IT….but I want us to begin to get it as well and then do something about it. It is time for us to redefine manhood, starting with less force and more love.