"But... I love him."
her voice was filled with a wide range of emotions: longing, embarrassment, regret--and i knew the moment she said those words that she had already decided to go back.
I left my job at the women's shelter over 3 months ago but the job never quite left me. I still get the occasional call or email from women who I became close to and worked with. Sometimes they tell me good news, sometimes they call because they're at their wits end and just need someone to talk to, usually they ask for my advice. And they all, at one point or another, say they still love him. Him being their significant other, the father of their children, the man who beats them up in ways that no one else can see. He makes them feel like they deserve the treatment, the abuse, he degrades their sense of self and self-worth. He hurts them physically and emotionally. And still they LOVE him?
I wonder sometimes if our society has a messed up view of love, that we allow someone to treat us badly because we 'love' them, like that love WE have for THEM gives them the right to abuse us. It seems to me that love should only make you and your parter better people, not bring you both down.
Perhaps the real problem is that we're all just too prone to falling in love with the idea of somebody, regardless of who that person really is.
It makes me sad. It makes me realize I made the right choice in not taking the position as a full time case worker for the shelter. Most of all, it makes me want to tell these women that they can do better, that they deserve better.
But sometimes, (and this is one of the hardest parts for me), what these women need is support. Because at the end of the day it's their decision what they do with their lives. And all I can do when their mind is made up is smile and say that I'll be here for them if they ever need to talk. We say our "good-byes" and "take cares" and I hang up the phone, a slight sinking feeling in my stomach from knowing that she's going back to him.
And the cycle begins again.