Many people do not even know that they are being abused verbally or emotionally. I was one of those people. I thought that everyone was being treated like I was. I thought that everyone was walking on eggshells afraid of how their spouses were going to react.
Abusers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be a male or a female. They can be a parent or a spouse. I am using my personal example of my ex-husband of twenty one years of marriage.
There were good days when we could sit and laugh and talk about things that were important to both of us. When those days would come, I would relax and enjoy myself but I was always guarded. When was the next blow-up? How would I react? What would he say? Where would the children be? How long could I hold my tears in so my children wouldn’t notice that I was crying again?
No-one knows what triggers an abuser to become hostile. It may be a memory of a past incident that they had experienced. It may be a chemical imbalance. Most of the time, an abuser will scream and shout and become demeaning because they have sense defeat and the loss of control.
When they are happy, they will plan to have a picnic at the beach or go for a swim with the children. They are always looking for approval because if you don’t comply, there is always a price to pay.
Here is an actual letter that I received only one day after my abuser apologized for the pain that he caused me. In that same conversation, he cried and begged me to come back to him. He said that when he lost me, he lost everything, and if he cannot have me back, he will settle for anything because he hates being alone.
“You crossed the line yesterday…you embarrassed me in front of J…she think that you have me wrapped around your finger…. and this how you treat me….like I am some sort of door mat. One of the biggest reason for fight with S is my relationship with you….and it looks like it will has started of the same way with J….I will not allow this happen this time…and I will not allow you to take that away. Everything is always your fault. I will go to J at least she has respect for me…or at least she did before you walked into that room yesterday….flexing your muscles.
So you are now promoted to the bottom of the food chain…There are you happy now…this is what you are after…see what happens when you stand up… I still have to take your bull shit. I can do anything. You are nothing to me. I am pushing back. You are a chicken. You can’t even fight me. Wait and see now what is going to happen to you”
If this letter rings a bell or touches a chord, you may be in an abusive relationship. The first step to healing is recognizing and identifying the situation for what it is. If you feel your relationship may be verbally and emotionally abusive, talk to people you trust. Talk to clergy, call your local battered women’s shelter, educate yourself, seek professional help. Do not allow verbal and emotional abuse to escalate to battery!