Verbal/Emotional abuse is something I refer to as the unseen scars of abuse. Black eyes, scratches, bite marks etc. All those heal. But the abuse that one experiences mentally, verbally, and emotionally, those are deep rooted. These types of scars take a very long time to heal. Because in order to heal one has to find themselves once again. One has to remember who they once were. And I used the word “were” because when someone is involved in an abusive relationship truthfully they lose themselves. You lose everything, most importantly losing your voice, and the strength to stand up and defend yourself. Fear literally grips you like a vice. You live your life walking on eggshells in order to keep your partner happy. Not fully knowing at the time that they will never fully be satisfied.
In my previous blog I posted about the different forms of abuse. So I copied the stats regarding verbal and emotional abuse and pasted them into this blog so that way we can dig a little deeper into this form of abuse. I have found that many people tend to focus just on the physical aspect of abuse.Not realizing that it goes far more deeper than that. It goes deeper than what the eyes can see. What a lot of people fail to realize is that this form of abuse tends to be the one that holds a victim hostage. I have had people tell me: “I would have left after the first time that he or she hit me.” Not understanding that the abuser has already made this person feel helpless and/or hopeless. Not knowing that the abuser isolates the victim from friends and family so that they feel like there is nowhere to go, and that they are alone.
Domestic violence relationships are more than just getting physically abused. Your whole being gets abused. Everything that you are gets abused. Everything you wanted to be gets abused. Every word out your mouth gets used against you.Everything that you say and do tends to be wrong. Even if it is what your partner wanted you to say or do, they still find something wrong with it and take it out on you.
“One definition of emotional abuse is: “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”1 Emotional abuse is also known as psychological abuse or as “chronic verbal aggression” by researchers. People who suffer from emotional abuse tend to have very low self-esteem, show personality changes (such as becoming withdrawn) and may even become depressed, anxious or suicidal.”
“Emotional Abuse: Definitions, Signs, Symptoms, Examples – HealthyPlace.” HealthyPlace. Web. 7 Oct. 2015. <http://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/emotional-abuse-definitions-signs-symptoms-examples/>.
Emotional/Verbal abuse does not include physical contact. It is verbal threats, insults, “checking-in”, excessive phone calls and/or text messages, intimidation or stalking.
Examples of Verbal/Emotional abuse:
Calling you names
Putting you down
Embarrassing you in front of others.
Keeping you away from your friends and family (Isolation)
Making you feel guilty when you do not give your consent for sexual activity.
Blaming your actions for their abusive behavior.
Telling you what to do
Telling you what to wear
Making threats to commit suicide to stop you from leaving them.
Making threats to harm you, your pet, or people you care about.
Those on the outside looking in understandably cannot comprehend how someone can tolerate abuse for the length of time that they do.Going back to my first blog, where I talked about my personal experience with domestic violence: Imagine repeatedly being told that you are worthless, that you are stupid, that no one else will ever love you, repeatedly! You start to believe it. You start to take on those traits, as false as they are, they become you! That now becomes your identity. You become what you think. Who you believe you are is exactly who you will become. Now I know there is someone reading this and thinking, “I will never allow someone to hold so much power…blah blah blah.” But let me tell you, even the “toughest soldiers” can fall prey to this abuse.
People have to remember, a lot of emotions are involved here which is why it is so hard to escape. The two biggest emotions being love and fear. Sounds crazy right? Let me break it down. The victim fell in love with their partner originally, everything about them seemed perfect in their eyes. Swept them off their feet, treated them like a King or Queen. The abuser reeled them in. “Hook, line and sinker.” They got them! The web was spun and the once confident, outgoing, strong-willed person who said that would never happen to them got caught in the web of lies, and now feels like a “dead man walking” completely zombified! Yet, as crazy as some might think the love still remains, they love the person they originally met, and they now hold on to hope, hoping that the person they first met will return and things will go back to the way they used to be. As for fear, fear has been placed into them by threats of what will happen to them if the victim leaves, or tells someone of what has and is taking place. Not only that, but the fear of what others may think if they were to know, which leads to shame and embarrassment. Which therefore leads the victim to stay tangled in this web of a vicious cycle.
In order to come out of this situation, the victim has to see the way out. The blinders have to come off and they have to realize that there is hope. The hope that the victim has that things will change has to be switched over to know that things will only get worse, and the only way things will get better is by getting to the escape route.
How do you find the escape route you ask? If you are the one in the abusive relationship, first understand that you are definitely not alone! Understand that your family and friends love you and are willing to help. Now I know circumstances vary, maybe friends and family do not live closeby for you to just up and leave. But reach out anyways, they may know someone who can get you to them. As in previous blogs as well as this one, go to the websites provided, reach out to them whether it be through the hotline numbers provided, or even through the virtual chats that they have.
If you are someone looking to help someone get out of this situation and are not sure of what to do, the first thing I urge you to do is let them know that you are there for them. Keep in mind that your friend or family member may not just blurt out and tell you what is going on due to shame and embarrassment as well as trust issues. It has nothing to do with you personally. It is due to the traumatic experiences that they are going through. If they have not told you that they are in fact in this type of relationship do not badger them to try and get it out of them. I know it seems hard to do, but remember, you want them to feel and know that they can trust you. Let them know that if they need anything that you are always available. That is important, because when I knew I had to leave I knew I could call my sister, I knew that when I told her I had to get out that she would leave wherever she was to come and get me.
Maybe you are not quite sure of what to say, maybe you are afraid of saying the wrong thing. It is okay, if someone comes to you and tells you that they need to get out, you can always suggest the websites I have posted, or you can even do your own research for resources around their area. You can even suggest calling these places for them to ensure their safety.
The whole point of these blogs, is to raise awareness, the more we educate ourselves and others, the more lives we can save! I strongly believe that which is why this is an important mission to me.
Please share this blog with your friends and family, through emails, social media, any way you can get the word out. Feel free to email me with any questions you may have by going to my contact page and filling out the contact form. (Do not worry I am the ONLY person who has access to the email account). I will do my best to help by any means necessary.