Domestic violence is completely lacking in spiritual consideration. Like war, it is the antithesis of all that is sacred. The people involved are not “in tune with the universe” when they participate in the act because both the victim and the abuser not only have a broken relationship with each other, but also with All That Is.
How do I know this? I was in an abusive relationship for 7 years. Those who know the me-of-now can’t even fathom the “victim” of the me-of-then. It was only 17 years ago that I escaped the violence; though it has haunted me and my children ever since.
Just about every American with internet has seen the recent footage of Ray Rice clocking his then-fiancé-now-wife Janay. It’s appalling to say the least. Watching her slap at him, and then his horrific, ignorant response brought back a rush of feelings. I was outraged that this man was being paid millions for being a modern-day sports god in American culture, and I was glad that his profit-driven employer had canned him for his actions (though we all know had that video not been made public knowledge, he would still be playing).
It has since been clearly pointed out that A) she slapped at him first (though I can’t see where her blows were even remotely injurious) and B) she ended up marrying him even after the heinous events of that night.
People ask me why I didn’t leave after the first time (prior to the marriage). My answer is simple. I was very young, pregnant, and he told me he loved me and that he was sorry. You want to believe that… the first few times anyway.
As I walked down the aisle, the spiritual voices inside of me screamed that I didn’t have to do it. My dad even joked I didn’t have to go through with it just before the large doors opened to see all of the guests who had gone out of their way to attend my church nuptials. I ignored the feelings then, just as I had done for many years before (as I sought love outside of myself) and after.
I was a “button-pusher”, not realizing at the time the sheer power and impact the words I spoke could have on my life. With a strong vocabulary, and a deep sense of sarcasm honed in my formative years, I could cut through my physical abuser like a knife with the syllables that emanated from my mouth.
He wasn’t as intelligent or as quick-witted as I, growing up the child of a raging addicted mother who ended up sending him far away to live in foster care until he turned 18. He was (and likely still is) a compulsive liar and a sociopath.
My lack of spiritual attunement would have me fly into fits of rage when he said or did something really stupid (like cheat on me with a trashy bottle-blond during my pregnancy). I would verbally lash out at him, and not having any other response mechanism in his arsenal, he would hit me. During the bottle-blond fight, he sat on my pregnant belly and held a large knife to my throat, and I stayed.
Oh, but he loved me. He would apologize profusely, taking me to dinner, offering flowers and telling me it would never happen again. That was at first, but as the years went by, I gained weight and had two more children (bringing the total to 3). The weight gain was an obvious protective maneuver, but at that point, apologies were no longer necessary when shit would go down. He would just tell me, “Go ahead and leave. You’re a fat, used up mother of 3. Nobody will ever want you. Your family doesn’t even like you.” Which was true. Because like any good abuser, he had driven a chasm between me and any safe harbor relationship I might have had. So I stayed and said I loved him (queue Pearl Jam’s “Better Man”).
Oh hindsight. I just got new glasses, but my hindsight is a perfect 20/20. Had I known then what I know now, I would have never married him, and I certainly wouldn’t have allowed him to seed the garden that begat my children.
After seven nightmarish years, my father was the harbinger of my epiphanous moment. My grandmother was moving in with my parents, and Dad and I were driving her things home. He nonchalantly asked me, “Are you happy?” I lied, “Sure.” I think he knew it was a lie because A) I lied a lot then and B) I was a horrible liar. He said, “Good. Because life’s too short to be unhappy.” I filed for divorce within days, but not without one final beating as a last “hurrah”. I fought back that time… until I was knocked unconscious, coming-to in a puddle of my own urine.
I had strayed so far off the spiritual path that his wolf was almost able to destroy my Red Riding Hood. I fought my way out, but it wasn’t until he had my children in his wicked claws that I finally turned to spirituality and tuned inward. I’m still working on “fixing” my kids; though, they seem to be getting better and coming to a place of more self-respect and love every day.
Horrifying as the Rice’s situation is, I can only hope there is more substance behind Ray and Janay’s words than just dark matter waiting to suck them down. I truly hope they are on a path of individual self-respect and love, so they can share that with each other as partners, enhancing their lives and those of their children.
The sad part is that I, too, remember getting along great with my ex as long as we were fighting something or someone outside of ourselves, but when that fight ended, the devil always came rushing back to punch me in the face.
In my book, “Ex Libris Tarot”, I describe the Devil card like this:
- Bondage, addiction, enslavement, obsession
- Materialism, overindulging the senses, ignoring spirituality
- Ignorance, fear, being unaware
- Hopelessness, lacking faith, despair, doubt
The Devil indicates that overindulgence has created a miserable existence. You could be off track, and may be caught up in an unhealthy, unproductive, situation. The Devil could be leading you up a dead-end street.
Domestic violence falls within the realm of the devil, and only the opposite like hope, faith, love and enlightenment can save the people caught up in it. Instead of finger-pointing and victim-blaming, maybe we should all, as a population, send an abundance of love, imagining an angelic, nurturing, beautiful white light surrounding their family during this time. If they make it, great. If they go their separate ways, that’s OK, too as long as the devil gets kicked to the curb.