Abuse comes in many forms. Abuse is defined as a pattern of behavior used to gain and maintain power and control. This pattern of behavior doesn’t look a specific way. Each abuser is different, so the way the abuse is different. You may be a victim and never feel someone’s hands around your neck or feel contact of any kind; that doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. Emotional abuse is hard to see, but the scars it leaves runs deep and hurts long after the abuse has stopped.
Emotional abuse or verbal abuse is the non-physical actions taken against a victim. Emotional/verbal abuse can be anything from threats, insults, constant monitoring or “checking-in”, excessive texting, humiliation, and isolation to just down right stalking. This type of abuse can go undetected for years. It may start small and methodical; a jealous comment here or there but eventually it snowballs. The mind games start to work. You think it’s just a little jealousy. You start to believe it’s normal to be told what you can or can’t wear. You believe it’s normal to be told what money you can spend. Yelling, screaming, cussing and name calling begin to seem normal. You start to learn when you shouldn’t say or do certain thing because that’s when life gets harder for you. You become an expert at walking on egg shells. You start to compartmentalize parts of your life. You keep more and more things to yourself. Somehow they make it feel normal, like all relationships are like this. “They do these things because they love you”. Wow, why doesn’t everyone want a love like that? I will tell you why; because that isn’t love.
Being scared to tell someone you have to go out of town for work, that’s not love. Being isolated from friends and family isn’t love. Being told you’re a whore isn’t love. Being accused of cheating on a daily basis isn’t love. Receiving voice messages calling you every kind of malicious name possible all because you didn’t answer a text right away, isn’t love. Threatening to harm you if they found out your cheating isn’t love. Being stalked isn’t love. Manipulating you isn’t love. If you have to put on a show in front of people, then there is something wrong with your relationship. Don’t believe the things your told, it isn’t normal.
I have heard time and time again, why do women stay? I don’t think there is one answer for every woman. Each woman has their own reasons. Staying doesn’t mean we’re weak. We are brave. We have endured something most people will never know or understand. Sometimes, we just refuse to see how bad something is until it completely destroys us. Sometimes, we don’t know we are being broken. Sometimes, we just stay until we can’t anymore. Whatever the reason, you are strong enough to leave.
But, I warn you, once you are finally liberated and free, it’s not immediately over. The fear and powerlessness runs deep to your core. Your heart is tattered because for so long you’ve been told you’re loved by the one person who has broken you. But, everything heals in time. Eventually, you will be happy again. You will be loved again.
When you find love, don’t be afraid. For a while, they will have to love someone who is broken and scarred. Let them see the scars you bare. Open your heart up to them completely. Realize they aren’t the person who abused you, they won’t hurt you. They will show you what love is supposed to look like, not the twisted version you have known.
You can be loved and you will be happy again.