When people think of an abusive relationship, they mostly think of physical abuse. Normally, people just think of a man beating a woman and/or sexually abusing her. But I would like to share some thoughts about another type of abuse that I don’t hear a whole lot about. I want to talk about emotional and mental abuse. In my opinion, this kind of abuse can be just as distressing and painful as being consistently hit. It is so difficult for me to admit this on this blog, but this is what happened to me. It is my hope that by sharing my own heart and experience about this horrible and devastating form of abuse, that others who may feel ashamed or embarrassed may be encouraged that they too can find hope and freedom and know that there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
While I was in the midst of it, I was never able to tell anyone about the constant mental and emotional abuse I was facing. I felt so humiliated by it. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I truly believed that nobody would ever understand what I was going through. I really wished he had hit me. I thought that if he had, then it would be a better excuse for me to explain my pain. I was definitely in denial. I also believed that I didn’t deserve any better (I wrote about that for the first time in an earlier blog entitled “I was a lost soul – a mentally abused woman who didn’t deserve better”). I was worthless and a loser, so I took it. I took it for 4 or 5 years, and it about destroyed me altogether. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Even though I was already battling through years of depression and low or no self esteem and using alcohol to temporarily numb the pain, I still managed to be a strong woman – suicidal perhaps, but strong. Well, that was until I started dating a man I had settled for. Little by little he started to destroy what was left of me. It was a horrible nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. It was sudden when I had found myself so weak. This is when my depression and drinking were heading to bottom. I really thought I needed this man in my life. I didn’t want to lose him. I thought I loved him. Looking back I have no idea why I thought that. He didn’t show me much love, he just wanted sex. He sure had a hold on me somehow. I had to drink my way through the relationship to survive it. I will never understand how I got there. His manipulation started at the very beginning of our early communications, but unfortunately, I didn’t think much about it. I completely ignored it. I didn’t think enough of myself. It’s sad to remember just how lost and desperate I was back then. I didn’t want to end up old and alone, so I ignored every single sign. And, it almost killed me.
It didn’t help to hear from others what they thought about abusive relationships such as, “Why doesn’t she just leave him?” “It’s her fault for staying around.” “She doesn’t want help.” I confess that I used to think that way about domestic violence situations. I am so sorry for my judgmental attitude toward women of abuse. Please forgive me. Before it happened to me, I just could not understand why someone would stay and continue to take it, day after day. I swore that it would never happen to me. I would NEVER become like one of “those women”. Sound familiar? All of a sudden, there I was. I was exactly what I swore I’d never become. I was so ashamed that I had allowed myself to be in such horrible circumstances, that there was no way that I felt safe to reach out to anyone to talk about it or to get help. I figured “well, at least he’s not hitting me…” so I just kept taking it and drank it away as much as possible. Recently I was thinking more about the possibility of getting hit. I thank God I will never know if that was going to come into play or not, but I discovered recently that I had ignored another sign. After a family party turned violent one evening, (I described this event in that previous post I mentioned earlier), I remembered that days later he had reminded me that he had been letting me know that he was feeling anger building up inside of him. He told me though, that he was keeping it under control. I was slowly discovering that he had anger issues and was just keeping them inside. But because I had never really witnessed it in him, until that frightening evening, I again didn’t think much of it. But it’s what he had said days later that kind of gave me the chills when I remembered it recently. He said “I warned you…” I remember he was telling me that he had been warning me that he was about to break. Like it was something that I was supposed to know and just “watch out”. Don’t abusers who hit usually tell their women that they had been warning them? I know I’ve heard it before in stories of physical abuse. I then started to recall that he had told me that when he was young, he would see his father beating his mother. So I now think it was a good possibility that hitting would come next had I stayed.
So how did I get out of it? I have no doubt that it was a God thing. I believe God’s hand was on my life even though I didn’t know Him yet. I had been crying out to Him because I was definitely not going to cry out to anybody else. Interesting when I think back on it, how I was crying out to a God I didn’t know and I am grateful I took that chance! He set me free. And later, he set me free from alcohol abuse and severe depression. It took a rock bottom kind of moment for that, but I’m not complaining. I am grateful to be free. I am now seven months away from celebrating my 5th year of sobriety. I am also celebrating my 4th year or so of being free from that abusive relationship.
So that’s some more of my story that I hadn’t had the courage to share before. I’m glad I did now. I don’t know what else to say except that if you’re in the midst of this right now, there is hope in Jesus. There is a way out. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. Please reach out to someone! Reach out to God! You don’t have to keep living like that. You deserve much better. If you don’t know God, it’s not too late to start knowing Him now. Call out to Him with a sincere heart and He will hear you. He will help you like He helped me and has helped so many others. I don’t know you, but I’m praying for you. Please use the below contact form if you’d like to send a private message.
I’ve been through a lot of hurt in my life. I buried most of it for decades and just recently in my recovery program, it’s all come out to the surface so that I could get healing. In therapy, I was asked to write a letter about victory. I’m thinking, if I can be this vulnerable and share this part of my story, then I should be able to share that personal letter too. Perhaps I will share it in a future post. Again, I’m only doing this with the hope that others will be blessed by it and have courage to take a step in the right direction like I did. ANY kind of abuse is NEVER OK.
That’s it for now, thanks for listening to my heart.