Disclaimer: None of this is based solely on people here... it is an observation I have seen from people in general both regarding my own personal experiences and watching others going through their experiences. It is a message I believe needs to be told because I don't think it is something that is generally thought about. Message: People have told me that they feel restricted or confined. People have said they feel as if they are not free to be who they are. They have told me they cannot trust anyone and do not feel safe anywhere. Now .. consider this person to have mental illness as well: At first glance, one may look at these statements and think, "those feelings are sad and awful to have, but it is part of mental illness...so it is to be expected" and just shrug it off, and walk away. Maybe they will say a word or two to express a bit of sympathy/empathy but its not something really focused on for long ... after all, these things are commonplace for mental illness, therefore, the person should just learn to deal with it, stop complaining about it, and move on... right? Then there are times when people are mistreated by everyone they know in their real lives... and they try to express this painful reality, but if they use certain words... like "all" , "everybody", or any other word that is considered absolute... again, it gets shrugged off as just part of mental illness, or irrational thinking, or some other form of insinuating it is somehow the speaker's fault, and not really their reality. While I realize it is hard for most people to understand or maybe even believe this could be a reality for some, maybe only a few... the fact is, it does happen. That being said, to me, its not good or even right to prejudge a person or their situation without first hearing them completely out. All those kind of judgements do, is bring this kind of person into the same group as the group I mentioned previously who feel restricted or confined or not free to be who they are or cannot trust anyone and do not feel safe anywhere. There are also people who become suicidal... and in those times cannot see through the darkness to remember the moments -- even if only a few -- when everything was not as bad as they are currently experiencing. In fact, I think most of us (meaning humankind) are that way when we become suicidal. I feel its important for that person to have a release valve, ie someone to talk to and just vent out all their fears, problems and frustrations. This person may sound offensive at times, or perhaps could be put in the group previously mentioned with absolute thinking. This does not mean they deserve or need to be heard out any less than the person that just goes silent or that is able to hold on to enough of their sanity to be able to discern what is politically correct to say in whatever company they are around. This is not to say those people that connect with the people I just described are mean or cold-hearted... rather, it's more to say perhaps if a person truly wants to help another... they need to be open minded, compassionate, understanding, and willing to just let the person vent for a bit... enough so the person speaking can start calming down. Then the person can be questioned to discern if their "absolute thinking" commentary was just something they perceived because they were in such pain.. or if its their true reality... because really if its their true reality, that person is going to need lots of compassion and understanding and even help to figure a way to get to a better environment. This leads me to another point... the issue of abuse. Its often misunderstood. People that are on the outside looking in... see someone being abused or talking about being abused, and think "why doesn't that person just get away... I can't feel sorry for them, they must not want to get away". While I understand how easy it is to think this way and even to rationalize it as being true... let me say this: sometimes there are reasons they stay that are not in any way something outsiders can know or understand, and that they themselves are afraid to tell the outsiders for fear of what will become of either themselves or the ones they love if they do so. Now, you may say... that person should definately try to get away then, if they are being threatened and abused as well... but consider this: You are a mother of 2 young children ages 3 and 5. Your husband regularly becomes enraged for reasons not always related to any of you, yet everytime he becomes enraged... he takes it out on you.. by slamming you into the wall or hitting you or etc. He is careful however to not let this treatment be seen by others, including your children...and to make sure any bruises that may result are not in places that will be easily visible. So you know, to some degree, he CAN control his rages. Because he is otherwise a good person when you both are around other people and even sometimes when alone... even tells you how much he loves you and kisses you and etc... you find yourself wondering "have I done something to deserve this?". If you ask him about it, he just becomes enraged again and it becomes a repeat of the treatment you were just inquiring about. So then you know you cannot try to reason with him about this, but still are confused, "have I done something, do i deserve this?" because you can remember times when everyone was happy.. this wasn't always the way it was. All your friends and outside family have drifted away from you. You once tried to talk to someone but they thought you were over exaggerating the situation and just said "no marriage is without its arguments or disputes, i'm sure he loves you, he was just angry.. i am sure its not as bad as what you perceive it as at the moment, you are just upset.. things will look better in the morning." He found out about this exchange, and as a result... you got treated to more of his enraged habits, with the added bonus of "this is all because of you, if you hadn't spoke to that person and lied like you did, i would not be this angry with you... but you cannot go around telling people those things." you say "i will just take the kids and leave", he replies "(laughter) go ahead, i will call the cops and report you for kidnapping.. you will be found and go to prison, i will get the kids.. then what are you going to do?" you think that over.. you wonder ... what would he do to the kids if i wasn't here to protect them? You remember when you tried to talk about it, the person didn't listen anyway... you figure, maybe.. if you just try hard enough, you can work this out... that way everyone will be safe, nobody will get hurt...including you. So... you stay. Yes, its easy to imagine... that woman should continue to try to get away, to talk to people, to find a way out.. even if its just to the streets... but consider her point of view: 1. She is unsure if all of this is her fault or not, after all, she makes mistakes too...perhaps those mistakes snowball into this. 2. She tried to talk to someone to get their point of view and/or help.. and was told she was exaggerating things and they would get better...so maybe, its not REALLY as bad as she thinks it is. 3. She now has no friends or family to turn to. 4. She is now concerned if she attempts to take the children and leave... she will be arrested, the kids will go to him.. and it will be her kids that will be abused, and possibly killed. Telling the cops may sound like a good option.. but what if he is not convicted or not even tried, but simply let go... what will happen then? The streets may sound like a valid way to go, but... if the cops are called.. where does she hide? It may be easy to say call her family (even if they've been estranged, they will still help) but that is not always true.. in fact, many families will refuse either afraid for their own safety if they do take the person in or just simply do not believe its as bad as the person makes it sound. A shelter may sound like a good option.. but again, where does she hide if the cops come? A woman's abuse shelter sounds like an awesome option... but, how does she get there without him finding out.. and, what if there's not one in her area at all, then what? What does she do after she's out of the shelter in order to make sure her kids are kept safe? .. In the end, that becomes her focus.. her kids, and since there is nobody to talk to, she has only herself to figure all this out.. and in her state of confusion (because sometimes, he's really sweet and loving to her too, sometimes for weeks at a time) it's almost impossible to think clearly. Some women get away from this, but usually not without outside help. If people are quick to judge this woman as somehow "wanting" this abuse or "unwilling to leave", she is caught in a cycle that will doom her unless the abuser for some reason decides to change -- which is very very rare. This is just a scenario of marital abuse, but.. the same is true of other types of abuse. Physical, emotional, sexual or verbal.. all abusers are controlling, most abusers appear kind and endearing until the victim trusts the abuser, the abuser will isolate the victim from family and friends in order to make it harder for the victim to tell anyone, then the abuser will keep the victim in a constant state of confusion.. by being kind, sometimes even apologetic and loving at times, and then turning back into the abusive person again and making the victim believe it to be the victim's fault. Most victims will reach out at least once, only to be disbelieved and then abused further usually to a more extreme than usual. It's why the cycle of abuse is so hard to get out of.. no matter what type or what age the victim is. If the victim is a child, its even harder to get away, if not down right impossible. I say all this to say one thing: please, next time someone comes to you.. pouring out their heart, telling you of their pain.. no matter how hard it may be for you to at first believe or even fathom, don't be so quick to judge them or what their reality may or may not "really" be... the truth is, you have no way of knowing, but in that moment.. they are reaching out to you, they need you to listen, they need someone to show they care. So.. think before you speak.