Domestic abuse involves more than sexual and physical violence. It includes mental and emotional abuse at least and, whether obscure or obvious, verbal abuse in relationships is the core method of control for abusers. Verbal abuse is more than name calling, more than yelling. Verbal abuse is insidious and tricky, but very real.
Fortunately, for most women, our homes created with loving partners offer a refuge from other people’s nastiness. Sanctuary resides in his or her hug and we regain the strength to confidently stride past those whistling, hooting construction workers again tomorrow. But others come home to spouses who embody every aspect of nastiness the world provides.
Some of us return home to discomfort, fear, anger, and anxiety over what is going to happen next. If you constantly wait for the other shoe to drop and feel your peace depends on accurately reading your partner’s tiny body movements to head off a fight, then you live with the world’s most intimate, and therefore most dangerous, bully. Continue reading →
HealthyPlace.com interviewed me about leaving abuse on January 5, 2011 almost a year after I left my ex, but before our divorce was final. I wrote this post day after, but saved it as a “draft” on the other blog. I thought it was about time to share it.
Is there a problem in your relationship but you can’t put your finger on its cause?
Have you tried fixing yourself, thinking that if you could be a better wife then the problems would go away?
Do you find yourself doing and saying things to your partner that you wish you could take back?
Do you wonder if you abuse your husband or your children?
If you ask those questions…
…then chances are you are not an abuser, but the victim of abuse in your marriage. You care if you hurt someone else, but it seems like your partner does not care one bit about your feelings.
Perhaps you are at the end of your rope as Kellie Jo Holly felt when she began the blog at the heart of this book. What can you do to fix things? What works and what doesn’t work? You don’t want to leave your marriage any more than Kellie did, but you just can’t take the craziness anymore.
Let Kellie’s example lead you through the fog to a clearer, more loving relationship with yourself (and maybe your husband). Deciding to leave your marriage is heartbreaking and sometimes too much to bear. Being honest with yourself is the first step. Take Kellie’s hand, walk together, then decide.
Kellie didn’t define her marriage as abusive. She told herself that if she could be someone her husband could respect, then their problems would be solved.
She worked on overcoming Depression and the effects of rape.
She observed the women her husband loved and tried to emulate them.
She read many self-help books for herself and for couples.
She forgave her husband’s indiscretions, outbursts of temper, and nastiness.
But nothing worked. Her husband’s temper continued to flare over minor issues and she could not understand what was so “wrong” with her.
Then one day, Kellie ran across a book by Patricia Evans that opened her eyes. For the first time, Kellie clearly saw that what was wrong in her relationship had nothing to do with her personal issues, but everything to do with her husband’s abusive nature. She was abused. She didn’t want to believe it, but something had to be done.
“I don’t believe you,” he said. “You’re calm. You’re calculating your next move … I can see it in your eyes.”
“What?” I asked. I felt my eyes scrunch at their lids, felt my brow knit together into the one wrinkle on my face, off-center between my eyebrows by a fraction of an inch. He used to smile at me when he saw that wrinkle appear, run his finger along it gently.
Now, years later, looking into his whiskey reddened face, I understood why he loved that wrinkle. The subtle line showed my first signs of anger. It was his clue that he was getting to me. Continue reading →
If you’ve tried to explain verbal abuse to anyone, you may have found yourself at a loss for words. You may doubt your ability to paint an exact picture, or maybe when the words come out, your friend gets a blank look on her face. You think she wants to say, “What’s so bad about that?”
(She doesn’t think that, by the way. It’s your own doubt of yourself that makes you interpret her in that way. Her inquisitive look is her saying, “I don’t get it yet. I believe you are in pain. Please, go on so I can understand.”)
To help people understand, you could explain verbal abuse by telling a tale everyone is familiar with: the ghost story. I’ve written the framework, now you take it, juice it up your own way and explain the hell out of verbal abuse! Continue reading →