Sounding My Battle Cry
This is a repost. (Thank goodness for a faithful reader who saved the original post via her RSS feed. Needless to say I lost a lot of sleep this weekend over not having backed it up). When Blogger went down last week it took the original post and all comments with it. Not trusting that I will ever get it back, I am putting it up again because it is an important issue, to me, and to many others who have reached out to me after the original posting. This time my words are backed up! Lesson learned.
My son is in an abusive relationship and I feel powerless to stop it.
There, I said it. It's hard to admit. It's scary. It's ugly. It's really hard to watch it happen. But, unfortunately it's true.
His side of the story is one that is not often told. You hear about teenage boys being the abusers in teen dating relationships all the time. But what about the other side of the story, when it is the boy who is being emotionally and verbally abused by his girlfriend? Why don't we ever hear about that?
As a mother of boys, I want to speak out. I want to share my story and sound my battle cry.
This has got to stop!
How serious is it? If you've ever been in the middle of it, I think you'd say it is the worst kind of serious. To watch your outgoing, confident 3.6 GPA son fall to a 2.0 GPA and become a moody, angry, unhappy former shell of himself, is heartbreaking.
I want to scream...How can this be happening, and how can he be letting this happen?
I know the answer. It's because he loves her. And he thinks she will change. He thinks if he waits long enough, she will correct her mistakes and become the person he wants her to be, is sure, she can be.
His reason is no different than any other abused person's reason.
I've printed off the material. There are checklists and warning signs. One particular article indicated that if you had one or more of the warning signs listed, then you were in an abusive relationship. Out of a 25 item list, their relationship has 22 of the warning signs checked. Indeed, their relationship is toxic. He needs to walk away from it, in the best interest of both of them.
But what happens when he won't?
She has worked it so his life revolves around trying to make her happy. He has given up his friends, obviously let his grades go, and stopped doing things he loves in order to make her happy. What's sad is that it is not going to happen, she's never going to be happy with him.
She needs to be happy with herself first.
He tries and tries but it is never good enough, and she tells him that over and over again. He doesn't spend enough money on her. He is a terrible boyfriend. He is selfish. He doesn't spend enough time with her. He doesn't call her enough. Whatever it is, nothing he does is good enough. Think how frustrating that would be...imagine what that can do to a teen's self esteem.
No wonder he wants some control.
Nothing is ever her fault. It is always something he did (or heaven forbid, didn't do) that sends her into a rage. Of words. Of fists. Of hang ups. Of insults. Of ugliness. Of threatened break ups.
And like the classic abused person, he defends her actions and makes excuses for her all the time. She knows darn well what she is doing....she does not exhibit this awful behavior in front of anyone but him.
A while back he shared some information with me about what had been happening. He showed me some text messages she sent him. I was horrified. She called him names. I heard his side of several phone conversations. He soothed, and begged and pleaded with her. She ranted. He tried to explain how much trouble he was in here at home. She blamed him.
I have stood outside his bedroom door and heard his gut wrenching sobs. My confident, strong, adorable 17 year old, crying his eyes out? It was enough to make me want to charge off on my horse and sound my battle cry. As if there is anything I can really do.
I finally couldn't take the situation anymore. I had the confrontation no mom wants to have. Mike and I sat down with them. I pulled no punches. I laid it out for her. I told her the truth. I gave her crystal clear examples of why their relationship was toxic and explained that the way she treats him was unbelievably wrong. She cried. She promised to change. She said all the right things.
And then months later nothing had really changed. Except that after that meeting, Mitch told me nothing. Because she told him not to talk to me about their relationship anymore. That their relationship was private, and that it is none of my business.
After all, I'm only his mom.
I share this story because I want the world to know that abuse is not only from boys to girls. It can be from girls to boys. The world needs to know this. No one should ever have to be treated this way, especially by someone they love.
What ever happened to living by the thought: Treat others as you wish to be treated?