Yoon So Hee - Ceci Magazine February Issue ‘14
You can bet Palmer feels empathy and sympathy for Rice. She probably does love him. She more-than-likely hopes and believes he will change. He has probably promised to change many times. This is old hat. Women who have been in abusive relationships know exactly how it goes and how it feels. It’s not easy to believe that someone who claims to love you and who you feel love towards would hurt you. Of course we hope they will stop. Of course we want them to change and want to believe they will. Abusive men aren’t all abusive 24 hours a day. We hang on to the good moments — that’s why we stay.
Abuse is a mindfuck. We are made to feel dependent on our abusers. We feel embarrassed and ashamed at what we’ve been put through, what we’ve “put up with,” at the verbal and emotional abuse we’ve been subjected to. At the reality of our lives and the crazy, humiliating, inexplicable behaviour we’ve witnessed. How can you tell someone those things? Surely no one will understand… Our self-esteem deteriorates. We become isolated from our support systems. We feel we can’t ask for help because we’ve left and gone back so many times over and we know our friends and family are sick of it. We feel judged and we feel stupid and we feel weak. We are strong women and we know better. We feel like we can take it. We can cope. We compartmentalize — shutting the bad stuff out. We tell ourselves it isn’t so bad. We really, really want it to get better. He says he’ll go to counseling. He says he’ll stop drinking. He says if only we’d change our tone of voice or our body language or be gentler or kinder or more thoughtful… If only. We stop trusting ourselves. Is it our fault? Is this normal? Maybe I did provoke him…
Abuse isn’t as simple as you want it to be. It isn’t clear cut. It isn’t easy to leave. It isn’t easy to give up on someone we care about and have invested time and energy and emotion into. But no matter what Palmer does, no matter what she feels or says, it doesn’t make his actions ok. And it doesn’t mean she deserved it.