A very powerful series called “Maid” about a young mum, who finds herself stuck in a vicious abuse cycle recently aired on Netflix. Night after night, this beautiful young woman watches her partner – the father of her young child – drinks himself into an alcoholic rage. Often finding herself ducking for cover as he threw random items at her from across the room. As the series goes on she starts to piece together memories of her own childhood. Remembering the torment her own mother suffered at the hands of abusive partners, including her own father. She recalls hiding in small spaces, so as not to get caught in the line of fire.
Her mother is deeply affected by the abuse she endured is unwilling to acknowledge she was a victim of domestic violence. As such, she never sought any kind of support or assistance. The mother continued attracting abusive partners as the cycle goes. Her last relationship was blatantly financially abusive. That eventually resulted in her losing her home, leaving her with nothing but her car and a few personal belongings. The pattern of abuse becomes glaringly obvious as the series goes on. After a particularly explosive night, we see the young mum, pick up her child, a bag of belongings and leave. We watch as she slowly comes to terms with the abuse she suffered while growing up and at the hands of her child’s father. Many justify to themselves that if they aren’t being hit (directly), then it isn’t domestic violence.
Financial and mental abuse is as bad if not WORSE than physical abuse. The bruises are just inside. Hidden. So what is actually going on, is not as obvious to the outside world.
Eventually, the young mum is able to admit to herself and to other people that she is a victim of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. As she battles to overcome the daily trials and tribulations doing what she needs to do to survive.
Just when you think she has come through it and is on her feet, heading in the right direction – BAM!
Due to a series of unfortunate events, she ends up going back and living under the roof of her abuser. More isolated, alone, and miserable than ever. We watch on as she loses herself and succumbs to what she feels is her inevitable fate. Ashamed and embarrassed. Starting to believe this is her lot in life and that she doesn’t deserve anything better. It is heart-breaking to watch her literally sinking into the couch, as she slips into a deep depression. So many people end up in situations like this. Trapped by their lack of self-worth, or beaten down so far they literally can’t get up. I have no doubt, people would watch the show in disbelief. Cheering her on, willing herself to get up and leave, as the pathway forwards to an onlooker looks to be simple… Just leave. Yet the reality is a completely different story.
When you are beaten down, have no self-belief, feel you are not worthy, are fearful of your persecutor, and are filled with shame, walking out the door seems like an impossible task. This story of the young mother thankfully has a happy ending, eventually finding the strength to leave. Putting herself back together piece by piece. Finding the clarity and conviction to stand up for herself and her daughter, eventually breaking free from the cycle of abuse. Heading off into the sunset to create a better life for her and her little one. Sadly more often than not, no matter how strong you think someone is breaking free from a Domestic Violence situation is unbelievably difficult.
I often say the hardest thing I ever did was leave. I also say, despite how hard the journey has been and continues to be. It was also the best thing I ever did.
If you know someone who is sinking into a metaphoric couch, is out of communication, or a fraction of the person you once knew then to be. I invite you to be there for them as many times as they need you to be. Be Warm and Strong, Firm and Kind. Hold the space for them to find the strength they need to walk away once and for all. No matter how long it takes. Understand there is often a HUGE amount of FEAR “That they will find you or make your life a living hell if you leave’. As that is what the abuser has said will happen time and time again.
The only way to STOP DOMESTIC VIOLENCE is to break the cycle
As sadly… Hurt People, Hurt People.