As a victim of a verbally abusive person, I slowly lost my Self. The side effects of verbal abuse (and emotional or mental abuse) ate me from the inside out; I became hollow before I realized how awful my life had become.
I doubt my ability to mother my children and how to clean the floor (as if the two were of the same importance). I live in a constant state of uncertainty. The world seems unsafe – the rules spontaneously change. I suffer stress headaches, irritability, and fatigue.
I am super-critical of myself to the point of decision-making paralysis. I would rather ask my husband and let him decide. The abuse I experience from my incompetence seems preferable to that from a wrong decision. I weigh my actions against what I suspect his reaction will be. I try to read his mind but ignore my own.
My abuser’s preferences have replaced my morality, thinking and way of doing things. I am more him than me. I wasn’t always like this. The abuse is bad, but the things I’ve allowed to change in my mind and heart are horrid.
It’s a disgusting and soul-killing way to live.
*Note: I divorced Will in 2011. The side effects of verbal abuse recur less often now, but I combat them with the abundant energy I have (now that Will isn’t sucking it out of me). My book, My Abusive Marriage: …and what happened when i left it will show you how much life changed when I left my ex-husband.