A Best Friend’s Love – Fighting Demons

*Let me just put this Blog into context.*

The author was a specialist in domestic violence law. And this is her story from the perspective of a best friend.

Every week I go to boxing training and I imagine my best friend’s ex partner is the bag I’m punching.

I hit that bag like I’m Muhammad Ali fighting to be the heavyweight champion of the world. This is my weekly anger management. Because in real life it’s illegal to punch him in the face (and I know violence isn’t the answer) but it’s what anyone that loves a survivor of domestic abuse wants to do. To make the perpetrator hurt, really hurt and for you to be the one that causes that hurt. So that the perpetrator knows that you can hurt them and you’re doing it out of love and loyalty.

Of course, hurting the perpetrator will not help the survivor, it will only make things worse. Which is why the punching bag helps. It’s an outlet for the rage.

Over time you may think that my punches have had less ferocity, not true. I’m not more angry about the past. It’s literally years since I ‘found out’ about him. The problem is that he keeps behaving like the narcissist, misogynist sociopath he is. He won’t learn, because he doesn’t feel that how he is behaving is anything other than ‘normal’.

There won’t be an epiphany moment where he changes- so my best friend faces new forms of abuse – so the rage carries on and I keep punching. Don’t get me wrong so much has changed.

My best friend has moved forward with her life, despite and because of the struggles that he caused, not moved on. I don’t think it’s possible to entirely move on. The history is there, tangible and palpable in every decision that she makes. Every decision is fueled by the history that has taken her to the place she is now.

These new forms of abuse are the ones that people can’t see now because the perception is that she has moved on, when the reality is that she is always moving forward, navigating a safe path for her and her children’s future.

These abuses are the actions and lies that continue his narrative to justify his behaviour. I also box because I feel guilty. Real gut wrenching guilt.

Let me put this into context. I was a specialist in domestic violence law. I have succeeded in getting so many victims the injunctions they needed to protect themselves and their vulnerable children. But to my shame I couldn’t see what was in front of my face (not literally in the end as he had moved her away from those that love her).

From the day I met him I knew he wasn’t good enough for her. In our first conversation he lied to me. I knew he had and I questioned him about it. Looking back that seems quite a combative move but I was protective, I still am -fiercely. But the trouble with a love bombing new boyfriend is that they seem perfect and young love is powerful.

Deep down, if I think about it (and I don’t like to) I always knew that something was wrong. But I was dealing with my own mental health battles and maybe my head space could not accommodate another person’s trauma when mine was all encompassing. I would say that I have avenged that guilt with a best friend’s love bombing of her own. Always being available to listen, always reassuring, unconditionally supportive of new adventures.

Feeling sheer pride watching her be a strong voice and advocate for other survivors when they can’t find their voice.

So if you, like me, need an outlet to deal with the rage of being the best friend (or relative) of a survivor and/or have the guilt of what you should have seen- then start boxing.

It’s cathartic!

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