Celebrating freedom on so many levels!
TW: suicide, abuse
As we get ready to celebrate the 4th of July holiday, I reflect on what freedom means. I used to think of this time of year in a very narrow context—a holiday to commemorate the birth of our country. While that is still what we celebrate nationally, freedom means so much more to me now after working at the WCA for over 13 years.
I have taken many things for granted that I now find myself grateful for as I have witnessed others who have not experienced the same freedoms. The freedom to make plans with friends without fear of reprisals and to go to the grocery store without worrying about how long it takes to drive home. The freedom to wear the colors I like and the clothes that feel comfortable without being belittled or ridiculed and to exercise with friends and stop for coffee on the way home if I feel like it. I have the freedom to go to sleep at night free from fear… the list goes on.
I have heard clients talk about their lack of the ability to do the things I mentioned when they were with their abuser, because at the heart of their relationship was the abuser’s need to control everything about their life. Wanting to control someone else’s life is the hallmark of an abusive relationship. There does not have to be any sign of physical violence for a relationship to be incredibly abusive.
Early on in my tenure at the WCA, I met a young high school student who was at the end of her rope, ready to commit suicide because her boyfriend had been controlling her through her cell phone. Belittling, minimizing and gaslighting are all techniques used by abusers that can be even more insidious and dangerous in our virtual world.
As you celebrate this national 4th of July holiday and the birth of our nation, enjoy not just the freedom you have because you live in this country, but take time to reflect on the many ways that freedom is manifested in your own life.
Chief Executive Officer
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