Act to help break cycle of domestic abuse

Published 8:44 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

You love him. You know he loves you. But things seem to be changing. Maybe he lost his job or is unhappy at work. He’s been under a lot of stress, so you’ve tried hard to be as perfect as possible. He gets angry about the simplest of things. You keep hoping he will get back to his old self. He doesn’t like your friends anymore and doesn’t like for you to be with your family. It upsets him so much; you’ve pulled away from all of them. Then one night, you don’t even know what happened, but he hit you. Immediately, he said he was sorry.
He told you he loved you and promised it would never happen again. He seemed like his old self and you forgave and forgot. Life seemed good for a while, and then it happened again. He hit you, pushed you up against the wall and called you terrible names. He had been drinking. As soon as he sobered up, he kissed you, hugged you and said he was so sorry. He said he couldn’t believe he did that to you. He promised it would never happen again. Life was good again and you forgave, but this time you didn’t forget.
Weeks went by, and then months and things seemed fine. Then it happened. You disagreed with him and he pushed you to the floor, hit you over and over, pulled your arm behind your back and twisted it, flinging you to the floor. He broke your arm. He was wonderful and took you to the hospital. He told you how sorry he was and promised it would never happen again. Since then, he smothers you with love, attention and affection.
This is the cycle of abuse.
After he has harmed you and is so apologetic and loving, you begin to think it is your fault. You see the person you fell in love with and think it will never happen again. You become almost obsessed with not doing anything to upset him … you know he will be fine if you will just be whom he needs and do what he wants. But he won’t be. An abuser doesn’t quit. Without professional help, he will continue and it will escalate.
If this is happening to you, help is available. Call the crisis line at 252-752-3811. Trained counselors will help. You must flee the violence. If you need a safe place to go, call the crisis line. Soon Ruth’s House will be opening in Beaufort County and you will be able to stay in the county, be safe and begin the process of transforming your life. Until Ruth’s House opens, the Center for Family Violence Prevention in Greenville will provide shelter.
If this is happening to someone you care about, give her this article and encourage her to call for help. Don’t delay. Her life is at risk.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, act now. Retake control of your life.
Deborah G. Ryals is president of Ruth’s House Inc.