Martyrdom Is A Very Powerful Drug

My friend is addicted to her shit.  The man she is married to is treating her like dirt and looking her in the face day after day daring her to kick him to the curb, while she is thinking and meditating and agonizing over “What Would Jesus Do?”

What does Jesus want her to do about him? Jesus wants you to kick his ass to the curb. That’s what He wants you to do. Jesus wants you to stop subjecting yourself to this roller-coaster of pain. But no. She is stuck in a black hole of self-pity and false righteousness that tells her to talk to the Pastor and talk to her sister and talk to her friends and sit there and look sad and pitiful and put on the “dutiful wife” face.  Martyrdom is a very powerful drug.

No matter who tells her “its enough” while she nods her head in agreement. No matter who tells her that she is really not helping him at this point. He’s in a routine and she is in it with him. Meanwhile her young children are watching as their father talks to their mother like she was a scrub woman in a 19th century Dickens novel and treats her with contempt and disdain; justifying his meanderings with complaints of not enough sex or not the right kind of sex; demanding understanding and pity for, instead of release from his addiction to porn and other women.

He manipulates everyone in their lives into thinking that everything is good behind that white picket fence. He maintains his persona of the good husband, good father, great businessman, church-member. Twenty-some years of craziness she’s continued enduring. Relishing the brief periods of quiet. Periods that are getting shorter and shorter. Waking up in the mornings and testing the water carefully. Tiptoeing around her own life and recoiling at the mistakes she makes without knowing until it’s too late and then frantically hustling to soothe the monster like a young mother holding up toy after toy to her belligerent, tantrum-throwing baby “Is this what you want dear?”

He doesn’t touch her. No. There are no beatings. No physical beatings. Just a continual tearing away at the self-esteem. A tear in the fabric of her sanity here, a rip in the sense of personal worth there. A constant pressure on the shoulders pushing, pushing down. It’s you. You’re the reason why this isn’t working right. You’ve made me this way with your expectations of decency. I’m seeing her because you… And it continues until she questions her own right to happiness.

I’m afraid that she has become programmed to the celebrity of this behavior. This is why the more she tells people about what she’s going through the more relief she feels. “Look at how much I am suffering and through no fault of my own. Sympathize with me. See me.” But in this there is no actual drive to be free of any of it. It seems to have become the point of her life… to deal with another episode of an ugly drama.

I hope I am wrong. I hope that any day now her courage will ignite and she will say “ENOUGH.” Until then, I don’t want to hear anymore about it from her. The stories have gotten to be too much. Each one is worse than the last. Incidents of humiliation and cruelty at which I can only respond, “Why are you still there?”

I know that some will chastise me for this. Abuse is an odd creature. It’s like an alien force that stealthily injects a substance into the psyche of a victim that causes them to succumb. It’s like not being in your right mind. My friend is an otherwise strong and intelligent woman. I know I don’t understand, that is the point. Even if I don’t understand I still know what she should do. She should stop the madness before it’s too late. It may already be.

Do you know someone who is doing this to themselves?

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