Do not discount yourself. So many people compare themselves to others. They decide they aren’t in hell, exactly, because ‘someone else has it worse’… I say stop it. Stop. Yes, some people have it worse than you and some people don’t. That’s normal. But that does not mean you are not both experiencing a form of hell.
If you are in an emotional abusive relationship do not say, ‘at least I’m not being beat every day’. All that does is discount what you are going through. I promise you, I wished he would just hit me, just get it over with already. If I’d had a damn bruise I might have moved out sooner… but you see? I did have bruises, I had bruises on my soul. Just because someone doesn’t throw a fist into you does not mean that person is not abusive.
Do not discount the implied violence and the soul wrenching guilt trips. Do not discount how you feel. Emotional abuse is like taking a trip on a crazy roller coaster in pitch black. You have no idea if around the next curve you will be falling into the abyss or climbing a mountain. You have no idea from one moment to the next whether you will be loved or hated. That feeling in your gut, that spark of fire burning there? That is your sign of how things truly are.
If you are scared and you can’t figure out why. If you are worried about the stupid shit that doesn’t even matter, things like messing up and forgetting something or not taking out the trash or having the car filled up or whatever… shit that doesn’t matter in five years… If you just can’t seem to be good enough no matter how hard you try… Or even worse, you’ve been put on some stupid pedestal and so if you make the slightest, tiniest error, you’ve failed… Yeah. Those things. Just because you don’t have a bruise doesn’t mean it’s not abuse.
So what if he doesn’t yell at you, yelling isn’t required either. There’s still the looks of displeasure and the cold shoulders or, heaven forbid, the silent treatments. Emotional abuse is one of the most destructive forms of abuse out there. Rather than destroy the outside of a person the inside is the target. The very being, the core of who you are, is the target. Not only do you have to fight it by yourself you begin to wonder why you fight and then you quit and you forget why you had any worth at all.
Then you begin to believe his lies. His lies that there’s no one else who could possibly love you. His lies that you may need some anger management because you burst into tears because he’s disappointed again. His lies that the only reason he stays is because he feels sorry for you, for there’s no way you’d ever survive on your own because you are just too stupid.
You can’t even do the checkbook right. Don’t you even know how to add? Seriously? Why would you buy something for you? Why on earth would you get yourself something from the store? Who cares if you like oatmeal or grits when no one else does? Why did you buy that? Don’t you think you need some rest? You look tired you should go to bed… And then gratefully thank him and go to bed only to be awoken an hour later because you need to put the kids to bed and turn out the lights and lock the doors because that’s your job and if you don’t do it then it won’t get done… How dare you get angry when all you have to do is take care of the house and kids! He works for a living, he pays for everything. You should be grateful… but you look so tired honey, why don’t you go get some rest.
What do you do then? How do you defend yourself from an enemy who is constantly changing? The only thing you can count on is that his mood will be different in a few minutes, maybe better, maybe worse. Some recognize it as ‘walking on eggshells’ trying to be quiet. No matter what step you take you make noise. There just isn’t any thing you can do. Emotional abuse is like that. It’s so far deep into the cave that you don’t know how to find your way out again. You are so lost that you begin to try to make the best of the dark and the dirt and the rocks. You’ve forgotten that there really is air and sky and rain and wind and not just the stale, old musty, mildewy dirt. When you are in the midst of an emotional abusive relationship it’s hard to find your way out.
So, yes, you are living in hell and yes you are in a hell just as bad or worse than others. Everyone’s hell is different but this one is yours. Do not discount yourself, do not make light of the fact you have no bruises. Hell is still hell and there is no comparison.
If I have described your version of hell then forgive me. I find peace in finding words. Words can draw pictures that help others to see.
thank you for reading,