Leslie Morgan Steiner is the author of CRAZY LOVE, a book that chronicles a time in her life when she became a victim of domestic violence. She came out with this Ted Talk, which is meant to help victims of domestic violence recognize signs and patterns, and the talk also addresses those who just don’t know much about these types of relationships. I think her Ted Talk very engagingly educates those who aren’t familiar with the tiny manipulations that occur within an abusive relationship, and it definitely hits close to home for me.
Here’s a link to the clip:
Why does this relate to my life? As you might have read from my previous posts (The Story of My Toxic Husband & How to Identify Toxic Relationships), I was in one of these relationships not too long ago. I tried to leave my abusive ex 11 times before I finally did, but it was thanks to my friends and family that I was even able to get out of that difficult situation in the first place. At the time, I was under a lot of financial stress, I was isolated from my support systems, I was crazy in love, and I felt like no one would ever be able to understand what I was going through without thinking I was an absolute dumbass.
It wasn’t until one night when he came home drunk, whacked my head against the wall by my ponytail, threw our 4-month old puppy across the room, and destroyed our apartment — all while his mom and sister were visiting — when I finally realized I needed to get out of this type of relationship. The relationship tore me apart and destroyed everything that I had built and worked for during my entire adult life so far.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons from that relationship and re-pieced myself back together into a stronger woman since then, but even now after a few years of dealing and coping, I still hear condescending and judgemental shit from people who might mean well, but they just aren’t educated about domestic violence.
“We tend to stereotype victims as grisly headlines, self-destructive women, damaged goods. The question ‘Why does she stay?’ is code for some people for ‘It’s her fault for staying’ as if victims intentionally choose to fall in love with men intent upon destroying us.”
There’s no certain type of girl who gets into an abusive relationship. It can happen to anyone who doesn’t know the signs — love-bombing, isolation, gaslighting, tiny manipulations… Being a victim of domestic violence isn’t something as simple as the guy going “Hey, want to leave all your friends, give me all your money, and let me beat you senseless?” It’s a gradual process that most women don’t even realize is happening until way further down the line, when they’re already heavily invested.
So instead of judging and blaming the victim (ugh, hate that word), perhaps learn a little bit and educate yourself. Practice a bit of empathy and see outside of your own perspective. Anyways, I thought this Ted Talk explained the message pretty clearly–for those who have survived domestic violence as well as those who are currently going through this.
Enjoy the Ted Talk!