Tammy Wynette's song Stand By Your Man is, without a doubt, the anthem of all women in a dysfunctional relationship. The sentiments of the song are expressed all over the world by women in shelters, domestic violence groups and CODA, co-dependents anonymous groups.
'He didn't mean to hurt me.'
'Really, it was my fault, I said/did the wrong thing.'
'I should have been more understanding.'
'Now that I know what upsets him, I can make sure I never do that again.'
'If you could have seen how he cried when he realised he hurt me, then you would forgive him too.'
'He promised me it would never happen again and (defiantly) I believe him.'
Deep inside, the woman in this relationship sees herself as a kind of heroine.
She is the only one who understands her man.
She stands by her man, even when it is difficult (for difficult read painful.)
No-one else can see the hurt boy inside her man like she can (for hurt read cruel.)
No-one else understands his pain (for pain read crazy-making behaviour.)
When the whole world turns their back on him (for this read refuses to accept his unacceptable actions) she prides herself on the depth of her love and the strength of her loyalty.
'Darling you are so much prettier without cosmetics. You don't really need them.'
'That dress is just a little too tight, I am only telling you this because I love you.'
'Are you really sure you can trust that friend of yours?'
'We have each other, we don't need anyone else.'
Social Workers, Police Officers and Counsellors all over the world struggle with this.
Sometimes they even despair.
Many don't understand how the giving away of power happened in small ways at first.
'He didn't pick me up for our first date and just hit me straight after I got in his car' one survivor said. ' He always wanted to know where I was and who I was with because he worried about my safety. Little by little, he chipped away at my confidence and my independence. I didn't even realise what was happening to me until one day I was in the supermarket alone and couldn't figure out what to buy because he wasn't there to tell me. It was just a small thing but somehow everything changed for me right there and then.'