Caroline’s Signs of Being Abused
It took me a long time to realize I was being abused. My ex-husband’s favorite tool was the “silent treatment”. Whenever he was “angry” at me, he would stop talking to me. He got so good at this, he would pretend I didn’t exist. He could do this for a very long time, toward the end of our marriage, he would do it for over a month at a time. It was torture for me.
Some other things he did were:
- Psychological abuse, making me think I was crazy by telling me things that I remembered had never happened
- Economic abuse, withholding my “allowance” if I made him angry
- Verbal abuse, calling me a “bitch” and raging at me, ordering me around
- Physical abuse explained below.
I didn’t find out I was being abused until the end of my story.
Caroline’s Emotional Signs of Abuse
Fear, Sadness, Depression
Caroline’s Story of Abuse
He hit me with a belt one day. I went to our church, and asked for help from one of our pastors. The abuse escalated then. He never hit me again, but he did trap me on the floor, yank covers off me while I slept, and told me he wanted me to die when I went out in my car. The next day, cool as a cucumber he asked me, “How does it feel to know I want you to die?”
Even then, I wasn’t fully aware I was being abused. I didn’t come to the full realization until he told me one day to tell our children he had never abused me. Something in me balked at this. I knew I couldn’t do it. It would be a lie, and it would be telling my kids that it was ok for my husband to treat me this way, and it was NOT OK!
So, I started looking for a definition of abuse, so I could show it to him and say,"I can't say that, see, here is why - you HAVE been abusing me". But couldn't find a good definition of abuse. In desperation, I finally called the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The advocate who answered told me that yes, I WAS being abused. She recommended that I read Patricia Evan's book "The Verbally Abusive Relationship". I went and got it, and realized that my husband was doing almost every abusive behavior described in the book.
After that, I decided to leave him. Within 6 weeks I went to my local women's shelter for counseling, found a lawyer, got a restraining order, and kicked my husband out of the house.
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