It’s been a long while since I last updated my blog and I do apologize about that. I have been steadily busy with other things that at this moment right now, seem a little less important compared to what I am about to discuss. I want to talk to everyone about abuse. It’s something that we hear about and even see on the television. It’s not something that we’re unfamiliar with, right? Most of us, however, have never been abused or in an abusive relationship. That’s what we all think, yes? This is likely incorrect in more cases than we actually realize.
You see, abusive relationships come in all shapes and sizes. In some cases, in many actually, we can be abused and not even realize that it’s happening. We may never realize it’s happened, even after years have past. That’s why I wish to discuss this. I have friends, more than one, who have been in abusive relationships (romantic and otherwise) and it can be very scary.
A recent incident regarding an old friend of mine has really shaken me up about the lack of knowledge and understanding when it comes to abuse. First of all, what is abuse? Abuse is really quite simple by definition; it’s to treat a person or animal with cruelty or violence, sometimes regularly or repeatedly. This isn’t very informative though, now is it? On the television, we see abuse as a person hurting an animal physically or putting their hands on another human being, usually in the form of a hit or a grab. It usually leaves marks or bruises. In reality, abuse is so much more than that. It’s so much more than what we can see on a person or animal.
Outside of our televisions and media reports, there is a real world of abuse and violence that is much unlike what we would expect or understand. It goes far beyond grabbing and hitting. Abuse can take many forms. It can be the way someone speaks to you, how someone may speak about you, how they act towards you or your friends or even your family, it could even be what they say to you.
To start, let me bring to light the different forms of abuse and we can go from there.
Physical Abuse: This is the most common type of abuse. It’s the kind that we hear about on the television and through the media. This type of abuse is when a person grabs or hits another person in an act of violence. It’s not limited to hitting and grabbing. If another person is putting their hands on someone, in any type of violent action, it is considered physical abuse. In more cases than not, this kind of abuse can leave physical scars, marks, or even bruises.
Emotional Abuse: This can take the form of bullying or derogatory remarks. After a while, it can diminish our self-esteem and confidence. It leads us to feeling worthless. It’s not something that can be seen on the outside, but it can deeply effect us on the inside, leading to depression and even stress in some people. Some people after suffering this type of abuse can become withdrawn from others for they feel they’re no longer good enough to be around them. They may shelter themselves away from friends and family and stay close to the abuser who they may feel is the only person who can stand having them around.
Sexual Abuse: We hear about this type of abuse often with children by adults, doing things that they really shouldn’t be. This type of abuse can happen with adults as well and even in relationships. Something many don’t realize is that you can be dating someone and still end up raped. It’s very frightening. Just because a person is dating someone, engaged, or even married to them does not mean they they can take advantage of their partner sexually. No still means no and it can still be considered rape. That’s what sexual abuse is really. It’s when a partner does things to use sexually that we may not be interested in doing.
Psychological Abuse: Also known as mental abuse. While we rarely hear of this kind of abuse, it is much more common than we often see or realize. It happens every day, even to us or around us. This type of abuse can take the form of threats, name calling, insults, control, social isolation, humiliating or derogatory comments, ignoring of, blatant disrespect (be it what they say about them, to them, or in actions), or anything really that can cause a long term effect in a person. Much like with emotional abuse, this can cause a person to suffer from social withdraw, depression, stress, anxiety, and in the worst case scenario, it can even cause mental disorder such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Mental abuse is as dangerous to the mind as physical abuse is to the body. It is very real and very scary.
Verbal Abuse: Now this one often goes hand-in-hand with both emotional and psychological abuse. It’s, in fact, often the cause of those types of abuse. This is the type of abuse that we can hear. It doesn’t always happen to the person directly in the relationship. In some cases is can happen to the friends and family of that person. This is a form of control. The abuser may verbally abuse others around their partner in order to push those people away. This is so that they may isolate their partner, which is also abuse. This type of abuse can be disrespecting of their partner, name calling, threats, yelling or screaming at, blaming, and more. It can even be as simple as the tone in their voice.
I’ve covered a few types of abuse here and there are others, but these are the main types that we deal with. Almost all of us have dealt with bullies at some time in our lives and you know what? That was abuse too. See? It’s scary how close to home this really is for all of us.
As I said before, I have a few friends who have suffered from abusive relationships that are outside the typical bullying that we all sometimes deal with. This is the type of abuse that can lead to much more serious results and while is may not be as graphic or as violent as what physical abuse can do, it can be just as scary.
In one case, my friend, let’s call her Tina. She was in a relationship with this young man who while he did physically and sexually abuse her, her also emotionally and psychologically abused her. We can all pretty much recodnize physical and sexual abuse, but emotional and psychological abuse can be a bit harder to spot. So I have complied a list of things he would do that were emotionally and psychologically abusive. This will give us some better examples of what we may be looking for.
- He would often ignore her messages, calls, for days to weeks at a time simply because we was angry with her.
We all get busy and that’s understandable. It’s not abuse to not respond to a message when you’re busy. It’s another to deliberately ignore someone. He would ignore her as a type of “punishment”. He wouldn’t tell her he was angry or even why. When you ignore someone in order to hurt them, that is when it becomes abuse.
- He would tell his friends nasty and untrue things about her.
Sometimes, in our anger, we can says things that aren’t entirely true about someone. We can even be a bit nasty at times and say things that we really don’t mean. This becomes abusive when we say them with the intention of hurting the person or with the intention of damaging their reputation.
- During their disagreements and fights, he would constantly make everything her fault and ignore his own mistakes, blaming her for them.
I’m sure we can all agree that none of us likes to admit when we are wrong or have made a mistake. That’s understandable. We have our pride. However, sometimes this can be taken too far and can become abusive. When we start twisting and turning things around in order to put blame upon the other person. When we cast blame onto the other person, claiming that we did this because of something they did. so it was ultimately their fault for what we had done. He would make her feel very guilty for things that she had no apart of. He would blame her. He would never take responsibility.
- He spoke to her in a very disrespectful tone.
As I mentioned above, verbal abuse isn’t always about what we say, but sometimes it’s in how we say it. In his case, he would usually speak to her in a nasty tone of voice. It sounded like he couldn’t be bothered to talk to her, like he was talking to someone beneath him.
- He would be emotionally and distant and unavailable most of the time.
This one is a little harder to explain, I must admit. This is when someone may invite another out to do something, but it may feel like they did it out of obligation. It may feel like they really don’t want to be there or be with their partner, as if they’re not interested. It can feel as if they have distanced themselves from that person, basically, they have withdrawn from them while still being right there beside them. It can make a person feel very alone and cause them to withdraw away or wonder if they, themselves have done something wrong to perhaps upset the abuser. It’s a way to make the person blame themselves and feel guilty for again, something they didn’t do or had no control over.
- He would often not notice or care about her feelings, even when she tried to talk to him about them. He didn’t want to hear it.
This can be hard for anyone. When we’re having a problem with someone or how we’re being treated, at some point, we will try to talk to the person about it. When the person doesn’t care or isn’t interested, it can be upsetting. What makes this worse however, is when they blatantly ignore what we say about our feelings and continue to do what hurts us. That’s when it becomes abuse.
These are just a small handful of the things that Tina’s boyfriend would do to her. In Tina’s case, her boyfriend would do things to her in order to hurt her. Not all abuse is like that however. In some cases it’s not like this though. With my next friend, who we shall call Chiko, her boyfriend would be abusive to her sometimes by acting out against her friends. Her experience can offer us up a few more examples.
- He would sometimes pretend to be her and respond to her text messages to her friends.
When we send a message to someone, should it be on social network or through a text message, we expect to be talking to the person we sent that message to. If not, we expect the person to tell us outright who they are. He, in some cases, would not do this. He would act and respond as if he were her with no indication that he wasn’t. This can be scary because with him, it was impossible to tell the difference! It can make someone question how often he’s done this and why.
- He would speak negatively about and to her friends. Often publicly ridiculing, bad mouthing, dogging, or disrespecting them.
Now, by disrespecting and treating her friends badly, he is treating her badly. How is this? It’s simple, those are her friends who even if he may not like, should respect them enough because they make his girlfriend happy. By treating her friends badly, he is attempting to push them away and trying to remove them from his girlfriend’s life. This is a form of control and social isolation. It is an attempt to isolate her from her friends and thus, a form of abuse not only to her, but to her friends as well.
- He would throw things at her.
Here we have a perfect example of physical abuse. We all play sometimes with out friends, children, and partners by sometimes throwing soft objects such as paper crumbled up balls or something light that can’t really cause any harm. However, when the object being thrown is a hard object that we know can hurt someone, that’s when it becomes abuse. We chose to throw that object with the intention of hurting them and that is never acceptable.
- In one incident he attacked her while she was driving.
I will be honest here and say that I was not there for this incident and I did not get the full story, but regardless. They were having a fight and she tried to leave. He got into the car and they continued to fight either as she was driving or as she was backing out of the driveway. At some point he made an attempt at the wheel and I believe he broke the dashboard of her SUV. Now I’m sure we can all find a million things wrong with this. The major one though is that it was dangerous. They could have wrecked and been hurt, or worse, killed and that is terrifying. Anyone who is doing anything like this to another in this situation is attempting to cause harm. It’s quite serious really. I believe this is rather self explained why it was abusive. Nothing gives another human being the right to try something of this magnitude. Not only was he controlling by trying to prevent her freedom to leave, but he could have hurt her or both of them. He could have hurt people outside of the situation if they had been in a wreck with another vehicle. This kind of incident could have been life threatening.
- He would privately speak badly of her and cast blame for things onto her.
This is similar as to what happened with Tina, but with Chiko, her boyfriend would do these things privately to his friends and to her friends. He would talk about her in a negative manner and try to convince others to see her in the same negative light with himself as the victim.
- He would read her personal messages and texts.
Just as I said before with him pretending to be her. There were also times when he would read her messages and texts. How did we know? He would later bring things up to her friends or her that she did not tell him. This can be very scary because it means that he is trying to control her. While we shouldn’t keep secrets from our partners, it’s important to have privacy and for our partners to respect that. They should not be disrespecting their partners by reading their messages without permission or without their knowledge. This can be dangerous should the partner ever try to leave the abusive relationship.
- He would use his work schedule as an excuse not to have to help with household chores.
He worked nights and would use the excuse of having to sleep all day in order to get out of helping with any of the household chores. In most cases, he would not sleep all day, but play video games instead. She, in turn, would have to do the laundry on her days off, make dinner, and clean the house while he didn’t help with anything at all.
- He often was not there for her emotionally when she needed support.
She would often have to go to her friends instead of to him during moments of distress or troubles. She could not look to him for support or uplifting when she was upset. Now, while there is nothing wrong with going to your friends for support when you’re upset, it is a bit strange when you share a house with someone and you cannot go to them for that same support. While in a relationship, you should not feel alone.
- Her friends were often weary and uncomfortable around him.
A tell tail sign of someone who is abusive is sometimes simply by the uneasy feeling you can get while around them or seeing them. This is our instincts kicking in. They can often warn us of danger if someone is dangerous. Those hairs that stick up on the back of your neck or that sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach or even an unexplained nervousness or to be strangely uncomfortable around someone. These are your instincts. Many of her friends would experience this around this man before they even knew who he was.
This concludes my examples with Chiko. Again, this is really just a handful of examples from these two girls experiences that can help to bring to light some of the things girls in abusive relationships can go through. In both of these cases, their abuse was caused by their boyfriends.
In my next set of examples, I’m going to talk about a girl who we shall call Hise. In her case, it’s her father who was abusive. In her case he was emotionally, mentally/psychologically, and verbally abusive. These examples may help those of you who are with abusive parents or know someone who is experiencing such abuse in their lives.
- Her father would often cut down her choices of clothes and shoes, calling her names due to her choices of attire.
Now, parents can sometimes be picky with what their children wear. I am a mother myself and I know what I go through now that my oldest daughter wants to wear crop tops and midriffs. However, there is a line that can be crossed in this where it does become abuse. In Hise’s case, her father would call her slutty and other such terms due to her choice to wear shorts, a baggy tank top, and wedges heels in summer. This is not the 1950’s in America where women are not allowed to wear pants or show their shoulders. This was in the 21st century where it’s socially acceptable. She was not showing anything inappropriate and her shorts were not booty shorts. For her though, no matter what she would wear, he would see a problem with it and call her names due to her choices.
- Hise would often be terrified of pissing him off due to how he would yell.
Her father didn’t have to threaten her to scare her; not that he didn’t threaten her. As mentioned above, threatening is abuse. For her though, his yelling was terrifying enough and that’s abusive. When you strike fear into someone, you have gone too far and have stepped into the boundaries of abuse. Parents can often yell to demand respect, but as a parent, you should not be demanding fear. If you are demanding fear instead of respect, a line has been crossed. Due to this, she would often remain quiet and watched what she said or did.
- He would often blame her for things that went wrong.
Parents, as parents, should never blame their children for things. They should never make their children feel that they are to be blamed for anything in the adult world. Yes, children do things wrong and they make mistakes. That’s part of being a kid. However, it is never a child’s fault that a bill isn’t paid or a relationship didn’t work out. That is never their fault and a child should never feel that it is, let alone be blamed for it.
- He refused to allow her to speak and would often interrupt by yelling so that she would not be allowed a chance to speak.
Everyone should have a chance to speak what’s on their mind, regardless of their age, knowledge, or experience in an issue. They should be given a chance to speak. He would never allow her to speak, especially if that meant talking about her feelings, his actions, how she felt, or anything that he didn’t want to hear about. Instead, he would interrupt and yell at her in order to prevent her voice from being heard.
- He would often try to use guilt trips in order to make her listen and do what he wanted. He would do this in order to demand respect.
In many cases he would say things like “If it weren’t for me you wouldn’t have been able to go to that school!” or “If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have been able to live in that house!” He would say these things in order to make her feel guilty for going against him. It was a form of manipulation. When you feel guilty, you often feel indebted to that person. You want to make it up to them. You see though, parents make choices. We chose where we send our children to school. We chose where they will live. Our children are not to feel guilty for the choices we make for them. They are not indebted to us for these things.
- He would often call her names and make her feel like she was stupid and incapable.
One of the most common names he would call her was “lazy” and “ignorant”. According to him, she was very lazy and never did anything. She didn’t even go to school or work. When in fact, she worked very hard and studied very hard in order to go back to school and college and to get a job. He would tell her how she was ignorant of the world and didn’t know how anything worked, when she did. It’s true, young people, all people, don’t know how everything worked, but she knew quite a bit and she tried. He made her feel like she would never amount to anything however.
- He would constantly belittle anything she wanted to do in life as well as all of her accomplishments.
As parents, we always want the best for our children, of course. However, we should always encourage them, we should not belittle them. Encouraging them helps to move them towards bigger and better things. Belittling has the opposite effect on people, not just children.
As you can see, abuse comes in all shapes and forms. It can all be very frightening and while it may not always sound that bad, it is bad. It’s terrible and it is wrong. I cannot stress it enough. Abuse can have long lasting effects on the people effected by it. One should not stand by and allow it to happen.
The sad reality about abuse though is that it is grossly unreported and unnoticed. It is often left to continue without care or a second thought to the end result or the consequences. The worst part is how people can change due to abuse.
Like with Chiko, she changed negatively due to abuse, like many people who are vicitims of this kind of behavior. She lost many of her friends, betrayed their trust, told their secrets, and would disrespect them because that’s what her boyfriend wanted. She dealt with a lot of stress and depression. She would keep herself very busy in order to avoid feeling those negative emotions. In her case, keeping busy was her escape because she would be too busy to think about or face what was really going on around her. She wouldn’t have to deal with any of it because she was too busy.
In Tina’s case though, she left the abusive relationship, only partially by choice, but regardless. For a long while she was very depressed and had really lost herself. All she wanted to do was talk about him and think about getting him back. I still remember how I and our mutual friends would talk to her, try to show her how he was abusive and convince her not to go back. She didn’t want to hear it. No one ever wants to hear how someone they love is abusive! No one wants to hear that!
Let me bring up something important here though. The reason why victims of abuse don’t want to hear about how their loved one is abuse. It’s really quite a simple answer, but it’s also a very sad and scary one. They do not wish to hear this because they already know. They’re already aware in the back of their mind that they’re in an abusive relationship. They’ve already thought about it and thought about leaving.
Chiko left her abusive boyfriend at one point. Almost immediately after their break up, he was looking at other women. When he went to move on and date another girl however, Chiko went back to him because she was scared of living without him. She was dependent on him. The sad reality about this though is that he manipulated her to come back to him. For one, he didn’t really care about or love her and that’s why he could move on so easily right after their break up regardless of how long they had been together or regardless of the fact that Chiko and him had even been engaged. The second point is that he chose to go after another female right away was because he knew Chiko would be watching him and it would upset her. He knew he could get get back that way. Manipulation is a form of control and it’s also abusive.
Chiko knew when they broke up that he was abusive but she didn’t want to have to face the hardship of moving on either. She may not have felt that she could do any better then him and that’s often why people go back to abusive relationships. That’s the sad truth.
For Tina, since she couldn’t go back to her boyfriend, she had to eventually move on. It took well over six months to even find herself able to stop thinking about him fora few hours. He was on her mind constantly. It took her seven months to even admit to anyone else that he was abusive. She could admit it to herself without denying it after four, but it took more than seven months before she could admit it to anyone else.
Moving on from an abusive relationship is hard. It doesn’t matter if the relationship is with a partner, a friendship, or with a parent. It’s still a type of relationship and it’s still hard. It can be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do.
Let me give you a few words of encouragement, for what little it may be worth. If you are being abused, by anyone, don’t stay. You do not have to stay in that. You do not have to continue to deal with it. Whatever he or she tells you, you can do better. You can make it. You can do whatever you put your mind to. You have so much more to offer the world than what your abuser is making you feel or believe.
For all those who are being abused right now, I am here to talk. There are people who will listen. There are people who you can reach out to, who do care. I care.
Abuse is a struggle, every day. It can change our entire lives before we even realize what is going on. It’s never easy and it is never worth it. All abusers have their good days, I guarantee you. They have days where they can treat you like a king or queen. Let me tell you this, those days aren’t worth the times they abuse you. Their abuse may be only a handful of times a year, but it’s not okay and it isn’t worth it. After a while, it will break you down and it will crush you. Don’t stay. It’s not worth it.
Someone who loves you, will never abuse you. They will not hurt you. An abuser makes a choice. They know what they’re doing and they know that they are hurting you. They do not care and they are not sorry. They are doing what they want without a care as to what it is doing to you or how it effects you. I know that this isn’t what you want to hear, but these are the facts. Just take the time to think about them. Don’t become another victim on a statistics chart. Walk away and take control.
It’s your life. Take it back.