Everyone associates abuse with something physical – a punch, a kick, a slap. What people often do not realize is that abuse has many other faces (emotional abuse)
Just because someone – a family member, a friend, an important person – does not tear your hand does not mean that he can not be offensive. Emotional and psychological abuse is harder to identify as it does not cause any visible bruises or scars.
But the damage is there, buried deep under the skin and physical extremities. The damage seeps into the brain and the heart in a way that is almost impossible to eradicate.
I understand how hard it is to remove the scars because of the cuts, slashes and trauma. The problem with my situation, as with most emotional and psychological abuse, is that I had no idea that I was being abused. My offender was so good at convincing me that I had taken on all his anger and punishment.
My culprit has convinced me that I deserve that I am shouted at again and again without reason publicly. That I deserved to be isolated from the rest of my family and friends – my offender was the only person I needed; that I deserve to be physically prevented from going to a certain place.
He even convinced me that I was responsible for his luck – when he threatened to kill himself “for my sake” (which happened several times) because I was doing something terribly, terribly wrong. The arguments were endless and empty. Everything was my fault.
He convinced me that I deserved every emotional injury he inflicted on me.
During the course of this relationship, I never told anyone else about all the things my ex-boyfriend said or did. What should I say? “My friend told me he was hanging over me tonight?” That would make me and him look crazy. He looked suicidal and I looked crazy because I endured it.
I did not want anyone to see this side of our relationship because I was in love with him. Deep, completely in love. It was a messy, one-sided, ugly kind of love, but it was still love. I thought that we were meant for each other and started to see our love as the only important thing.
Because our relationship was so important to me, I put up with all his antics and annoyances and comments. What I did not know was that this relationship was hacking my soul. She cut away until all that remained was a hollow bowl that reminds a little of the man who once inhabited it.
And that’s what makes emotional abuse – it turns you into someone you are not. Someone you do not even recognize. And you allow it because someone you love wants it that way.
Finally, I realized that I did not recognize myself, and after a horrible incident, I finally came out again. I told him it was over, and I watched the paint drain on his face.
I walked away as I watched him disintegrate. I walked away, realizing that I did not deserve the horrible things he had done to me.
And since I’m out of here, my world has become an infinitely better place. I know that I never deserved the abuse I suffered. I understand that all the threats, the pain and the anger were not normal.
I realize that love does not mean control. Love does not mean co-dependency. Love does not mean pain and suffering, screaming, pain and scarring. Love means selflessness and compassion and unadulterated devotion. And never again will I settle for less.