I was inspired to write this post after meeting with a colleague where we discussed the dynamic surrounding survivors of domestic violence blaming themselves for the violent outbursts displayed by their partner. I began to express my own experiences around self-blame, of which I’ve had many, when he stopped me. My colleague then shared a wonderful analogy that I completely resonated with. He said this: “Jessica, what does an orange make when you squeeze it?” There was a brief pause and he continued, “When you squeeze an orange it makes orange juice of course.” I agreed and he added, “When those that have been abused blame themselves for their partner’s orange juice, it’s as if they are somehow denying the fact that their partner is an orange!”
He is so right, and as a result of this conversation I was moved to share this with each of you. We spend hours in support groups, responding to emails, answering phone calls, and providing resources to hundreds of survivors that continue to struggle with this idea that if somehow we could love him enough, behave well enough, do enough, say enough without saying too much, be available enough, pretty enough, interesting enough, then somehow we have the capacity to prevent our oranges from becoming orange juice when they are squeezed. Lord knows I wore myself out as a result, and I know many of you have done the same. Friends, an orange makes orange juice when it is squeezed because it’s an orange; it has nothing to do with the one squeezing.
May I encourage each of you today to re-evaluate how much time, energy, and effort you’re spending trying to control the behavior of the oranges in your life. At the end of the day we are only responsible for our own juice.