OPINION | A message for domestic abusers: Stop it now!

Print

If you’re in a relationship and are abusing your partner, stop. It isn’t easy, but it is that simple. Cut it out. Leave. Let them go. Whatever it takes.


We’ll assume, for the sake of argument, you’re not one of the cowardly sadists who went looking for a victim, suckered one in, and now have a live-in hostage at your disposal whom you berate and beat for no other reason than that this is what you enjoy doing. Let’s say you’re genuinely remorseful after your assaults and actually mean it when you swear, yet one more time, that you will never do it again. Ever.


You have, perhaps, anger issues, or perhaps unresolved childhood or adolescent trauma. And you take it out on your other half. We’ll leave out of the equation the fact that you don’t take it out on someone who can kick your behind.


We’ll just go with that you wish you didn’t beat your loved one, but you do. It still has to stop.


For the sake of argument, you mean every pleading word of apology each time you come to your senses after beating the one you love in an enraged attack. Fine. You sincerely mean it. Truly you do. So does, for instance, every drunk or junkie who p***es away the family rent and food money on the knee-jerk outburst of a feel-good jag.


They act on the same senseless disregard for any and everyone else in order to indulge their own impulse. The deed done, they resolve and vow to quit their destructive behavior. Then, do the same thing. Again. And again.


Face reality. You are no less addicted to being abusive.


If you really have all the stricken conscience and broken-hearted regret you profess, have enough honesty to admit that you are a danger to the well-being of someone about whom you claim to care. Get out of the relationship. Not with the idea that, if you behave yourself well enough long enough, they’ll trust you, want to be with you, and the two of you will be able to live happily ever after. Do it because this is what has to be done.


You need, of course, to get yourself right. And you have needed to do that for a long time. After all, it’s not likely this was your first time fouling up somebody’s life, not to mention your own (even if it was the first time, you need for it to be the last). Try therapy. There’s low-cost help, for that matter free at some places.


Psychological counseling works. Never mind the rationalization that enters your head: I may be out of control, but I’m not crazy. Reality check: Being out of mental and emotional control makes a telling statement about your sanity.


Look at it like this: You know full well, in your heart of hearts, something has to be done about your behavior. The only person on the planet responsible to make that change in yourself is you. Whether you go for professional help, or whether you sit down and search your soul to come to a life-altering moment of truth, that is the bottom line. Accept it. Or you’ll go from finding victim after victim, ruining relationship after relationship.


Odds are you eventually will put someone in the hospital.


Or kill someone. It’ll be way too late to stand around crying about you’re so sorry and never meant for this to happen. All the sorry in the world won’t heal bruises or mend broken bones. It won’t bring anyone back from the morgue.


Your violence, however, will put you behind bars and you can weep and wail your sorrys all you want all the way to prison. But it won’t mean jack.


What you’re doing is wrong. Everyone involved suffers. Sadly, none of it can be undone. You can, though – and you must – stop it from happening again.


Dwight Hobbes contributes the commentary “Hobbes in the House” to the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and the TV show Spectator on the Minneapolis Telecommunications Network (Comcast Cable Ch. 17). He welcomes reader responses to dhobbes@spokesman-recorder.com.