Abuse: The Trojan Horse of Relationships

By Leah Sheppard

Abuse: The Trojan Horse of Relationships

Sometimes in life we can be hurt by the ones we love. Whether it is emotional, Psychological, spiritual or physical, the impact that it has on us can be deep and painful, especially when it is enacted by someone we thought we could trust.

Often abuse is gradual, and unrecognisable at first. It may start with the odd comment here and there, about how you dress, how you speak or think, even about your lifestyle choices or family. You let it go thinking that this must be a normal part of any relationship and all they are doing is trying to help you… Eventually however, in an effort to keep the peace - or worse, to keep the relationship, we become trained in the way that THEY think, how THEY see the world, and in the process we lose confidence in our own ability to think, and act. We become subservient to their worldview and only find validation in ourselves through their eyes…Whether this is physical or psychological makes no difference: They no longer have to train you to be how they want you to be because you are already doing it for them.

Abuse infiltrates our lives like a Trojan horse - if it didn’t, we’d be able to deal with it straight away, right? We’ve all seen the ads about abused women in bad relationships and wonder why they didn’t just leave. But here’s the thing: No one enters this life hoping that they will be abused and hurt by the one they love. They all started out just like you, feeling so happy and relieved to have found someone to love and share their lives with, and to keep them safe. One off-hand comment led to another, which over time led to a raised voice, which led to a stronger and more deliberate way to make them understand that they weren’t up to scratch. Many women are abused in relationships, not just in a way that produces bruises and scars; often it will take a breakup to actually realise that you had been abused at all.

If you have been abused in your relationship, or at any point in your life it is important to realise that this is a reflection of the abuser, not yourself. There is nothing you did to warrant anyone treating you with pain, or anything other than respect and love. You are beautiful, genuine, loving, intelligent and powerful beyond belief. Your life choices and background and way of viewing the world have enabled you to become the amazing person you are today.

Trust yourself, trust your mind; Know that you are exactly what you must be at this point in time, and have all the strength and knowledge you need right now. You will grow, you will learn, you will develop; but in your own way, at your own pace and in the way you best see fit. Your scars, physical or otherwise, will heal with time; and you will be able to identify that Trojan horse whenever you come upon it in life. Always maintain your value, and never let anyone tell you otherwise.

If you need to speak to someone about abuse, or your experience, call The National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line on 1800 RESPECT, or 1800 737 732. It’s a free telephone and online confidential service for any Australian experiencing or who has experienced domestic or family violence and/or sexual assault. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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