With the big story in the news regarding the violence that occurred in the relationship between Chris Brown and Rhianna, the question that keeps surfacing is why Rhianna would go back to Chris after that beating. Was she just that dumb, stupid, crazy, etc.? Many people think so and everyone has lots of advice to give but unless you have been in that situation yourself, you have no idea about the dynamics that are in play.
I have no idea why Rhianna has chosen to stay with Chris, if, in fact, that is the choice that she has made. However, I can share my particular situation and the reasons that I stayed in my abusive relationship. But as no two people, and therefore, no two relationships are the same, I can’t begin to advise someone else about what is best for them.
I was married the first time at the age of 24. My husband and I dated for a year and although he did tend to drink a bit too much on occasion, it was never a problem. We both worked and loved to play tennis in our spare time. We lived together the last 3 months of that year and decided that marriage was good for both of us. The honeymoon lasted 4 months. I don’t know what brought about the change but he did become a different person. He stopped working and began drinking and smoking pot on a regular basis. And within a very short period of time, he decided that rather than defending his actions, he would go on the offensive and started to accuse me of cheating on him when it was he who was cheating on me.
When he did come home, he started with the accusations and progressed to slapping and punching me. I never raised a hand to him nor did I verbally abuse or even yell at him. I was afraid to do so because I was afraid that he would get even more violent. Things escalated to the point where I had a loaded gun in my face on a regular basis and he threatened to kill me. As a result of my fear, he was able to control my comings and goings. He would show up at my office to check on me to be sure that I wasn’t flirting with someone. When I got home after work and on weekends, he would call to make sure that I was home and it didn’t take long for me to follow the rules in order to avoid the repercussions. If he returned home at 3 a.m. and wanted something to eat, he dragged me out of bed and would verbally and physically abuse me until I did what he wanted. And, most importantly, with a gun in hand, he regularly reminded me that if I ever decided to leave, he would hunt me down and kill me.
The day after our 10th wedding anniversary, I moved out. I had reached the point where I felt that if he did come after me and kill me, it would be preferable to living as I had for so long. I had returned to him every day during all that time because I had made a commitment to spend the rest of my life with him. I returned each day because I thought that I could find a way to fix things. I returned each day because I loved him. I returned each day because I couldn’t imagine abandoning another human being who had no job and no money. And I returned each day because of the fear of death. But, the day that I left, I knew that regardless of whatever may come my way in the future, I would never have a bad day now that I was free. And I have never had a bad day since.
If you or anyone you know might need help, Check out the National Domestic Violence Hotline website.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.