"Him and I, we had a fight
The kind where nobody wins
He used his hands
I pleaded, but he had me pinned
You know when you take a bath and never get clean?
The bruises that never show…
I thought you’d know what I mean.
But you changed your mind
This time, you changed your mind
Because you’re somehow the victim
You changed your mind
So cast it off, it never meant
You changed your mind
because it’s easy, because you can
So you changed your mind
Well, if he’s a monster then you live under my bed
He roughed me up but you left me for dead
And I can get your silence out of my head
But just remember, I know what you did.”
When I very suddenly found myself in an abusive relationship, my mind went in many different directions at once. I was angry and hated the man that I was with, I was scared of him and wanted to run away from him, I was scared of him and wanted to please him so he wouldn’t hurt me again, so we could pretend it never happened and that I was a good enough person. I worried that my friends would be mad at me, that they wouldn’t want to speak to me anymore. I wanted so desperately to talk to some of them and hide away in their bedrooms. I wanted to defiantly stand in front of my abuser and say every perfect thing to make him feel small. But mostly I wanted to close my eyes and forget everything and never tell a single soul.
But I did. The first person I told, who was my ex and the closest person to me at the time, told me I was probably lying because I didn’t leave the abuser immediately. He then made demands that I cut it off with this person, tell him exactly why, and never see him again. When I didn’t do those things, as this was during a time when I could not take care of myself, he said that it was all very hard on him, that I should be proud of him because he managed to stay sober throughout this, that he would never do anything like this to me, and that he would never forgive me. Him and I no longer speak. This song is about my ex and people like him who claim to be allies, who are comfortable supporting minorities against the media or the government, but run back to their privilege once they or someone in their community is called out or challenged. But there’s more to this post than just him.
The second person I told paused afterwards and said, “…wow, this makes me feel differently about you.” On the flip side, I had friends tell me how much they wanted to kill my abuser, how they wanted to hurt him and while a huge part of me loved hearing this, it also scared me. It felt too fresh to talk about direct, harmful things that could happen to my abuser because I imagined how enraged this would make him, and how it would only lead to more violence, and in this way it made me want to protect him so that violence didn’t fall on me. It was those that focused on me and my feelings, who let me talk it out, who didn’t pass judgment even when I did more bad things to myself, who told me it wasn’t my fault, those are the people that helped me through and out of this relationship, and I’m forever grateful that I have them in my life.
It’s important to positively support victims of abuse throughout their whole path of finding sanctuary, even if that means supporting them during times when it may look like they’re taking self-destructive steps backwards, even if the person ultimately stays in the relationship. It may seem like they are actively trying to disregard help, falling farther into a relationship with an abuser, but they may need to work out certain mental processes on their own, and it’s important to let them know that they have unconditional support. It’s difficult to support people in these situations, and if mutual friends can support each other throughout this process, then that’s even better.
I will say that it’s really cool to be in a hardcore band so that I can scream and jump and shout about how angry all of this makes me. And I highly recommend it as a non-traditional form of therapy.