Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Was I Abused When He Grabbed My Face?

Soccer player holding another player by the face and speaking harshly to him

Was I abused when he grabbed my face? Will grabbed my jaw. His hand felt huge. He forcefully moved me to a corner in the living room. He stood there yelling at me. His grip hurt. I couldn’t talk and I knew if I moved he could break my jaw. Funny thing, though: I forgot that I was abused, both physically and emotionally, on that day in 1998.

I forgot all about the violence until I read about it in my journal.

I forgot about it.

If I Was Abused, Why Did I Forget About It?

It shocks me that the memory of physical violence hid in my mind for so long. Maybe I didn’t think I was abused.

  • No bruises, right?
  • He didn’t hit me, right?
  • Did the brainwashing I’d experienced over the earlier 5-6 years contribute to my perspective on his violence?
  • Perhaps my PTSD provided such detachment it felt as if the violence didn’t happen.

Or maybe I’d experienced so much fear and so many acts of violence (banging cabinets, slamming drawers, etc.) that my fear level was off-kilter. Actions and threats that should have scared the shit out of me no longer bothered me.

But someone watching them from afar would have been afraid. I would be afraid if I saw them happening to a friend. But I wasn’t as afraid of Will as I should have been.

Living with daily abuse and the threat of violence puts a person on edge and eventually causes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). My brain couldn’t handle the persistent high-energy existence GAD creates, so it began interpreting his behaviors that I should fear into ones I did not fear. 

My brain lowered Will’s red light behaviors to yellow and even green light behaviors. After he finished assaulting me, I probably didn’t think to myself, “Was I abused?!” What I thought was, “How can I keep that from happening again?”

He Abused Me When He Grabbed My Face

So anyway, I found a picture of face-grabbing and clicked through to the story about a soccer player who got a yellow flag for doing it. And the author believes the face-grabber should have received something greater than a warning flag for his behavior. Yay!

Someone who grabs your face intends to control and intimidate you. The behavior does not belong in soccer any more than grabbing another player’s face mask or helmet belongs in hockey and football. Guess what? Grabbing someone’s face does not belong at home, either.

The Intent of Face-Grabbing and Choking

If someone grabs your face, it is domestic violence. And if your partner grabs your throat instead of your face, you are 7 – 10 times more likely to die at their hand later.  What if your abuser accidentally grabbed you by the face instead of your throat? What if your abuser meant to choke you? The abuser’s hand, two inches up or down, could make a huge difference in what happens next. If a few inches make that big of a difference statistically, then you must believe that someone who grabs your face intends violent control.

I did not recognize the danger in 1998 because after years of fear, brainwashing, and living in abuse numbed me to it. But reading a post like this one could have helped me to understand. Share it, please.

Don’t let face-grabbing get past your brain’s fear center again. It is a physical means of control, it is assault and face grabbing is domestic violence. Will abused me that day. If you experienced manhandling like that, your mate abused you, too.

Here’s the post I’ve mentioned: Santa is a Bastard – Hateful Things and Hidden Memories

Here’s the book you’ve got to read this week: Gavin DeBecker’s The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence

Featured image from itsgoofy