I walk into my condo and there is peace. Not that it is quiet, but that there is a bit of peace of mind that I am accountable to me. That my thoughts and decisions are my own. Not always the best, but that I am no longer a prisoner stuck mentally in a cell, my mental restrictions were behind me.
No one will ever understand unless it is experienced, the years of being told that you are stupid, dumb, that you cannot move, cannot make decisions, that you don’t exist. That you are invisible, yet visible to be ostracized, visible to be tormented, visible when you are not compliant. A relationship that is emotionally abusive, causes low self esteem, insecurities, and depression to name a few.
85% of domestic violence victims are women, with 26% of gay men and 29% of heterosexual men having experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Mental abuse is less likely to be reported with only 12% of women and 17% of men admitting to psychological abuse issues
YOU LOOK OK?
Everyone looks for the signs of abuse as physical and cannot understand the mental abuse. The emotional damage can be stifling. It can hinder your next relationships cause you to question who you are and what you do, to remarry or co-habitate with the same type of person (comfort in dysfunction) or you become an abuser yourself. How do you explain to someone that you are abused when they only see you laugh, smile. With no bruises, it so often difficult to talk about let alone prove.
You fall into the trap of telling yourself “it’s not that bad” and minimizing their behavior. Victims can become isolated, because their validation came from the abuser. Health problems can also occur, due to stress such as, depression, anxiety and eating disorders to name a few. Signs could also be frustration, confusion, depression, anxiety. Being told you are a liar, or your opinion doesn’t matter, being told you are worthless, that you are unloved can change your brain, can make it difficult to believe that another relationship is possible and cause you to live in fear.
A few examples of Mental Abuse is:
•. Sets unrealistic tasks, to be berated and humiliated when it is not complete
• Reward systems are put in place, for what they deem is good behavior. Sex, gifts, time out, being treated nicely, allowing use of things in the home can be on a reward system, that can be taken away when not completed.
• They are often unhappy and dissatisfied. Always complaining and you may be consistently trying to climb uphill to appease and make them happy to no avail
• Demanding to name exact dates and times when discussing things that upset you. This can be especially damaging as the abusee is always confronted, always considered untrustworthy, does not understand how to communicate and often excepting accountability for dysfunction.
Leave or Stay
Funny, I have spoken to many women especially who lived with this and as time passed, the husbands and/or boyfriends seem to change and lives were made easy with the woman now either the Abuser in a certain sense or the emotions are dulled and lives are just monotonously lived, with justification of old behaviors and humorousness when reminiscing on “back in the day” but for others, like myself, leaving is a better option.
When I left, I stood in the mirror I think for hours in order to figure out who the heck I was. My clothes, my style of dress, my manner of speech, my way of being, even my job!!!, was because of my husband. I didn’t reinvent, I rediscovered and as I continue to work on myself, I have opened doors of light that were thought to be closed forever.
Finding the you and not the words and understanding that there is worth in you is the first step. There is most certainly an “After”. With GOD, Prayer, and knowing that you can love and can be loved the way you deserve will empower you to take on the world.
If you need help for yourself or someone you know and need more information reach out to https://www.thehotline.org/ there is a 24 hour online chat and assistance