If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, visit https://www.thehotline.org or call 1-800-799-7233.
I was raised with the warped idea that until he hit you, it wasn’t abuse. Growing up in a toxic family, where communication was solely in the form of yelling and nagging, I really had to re-learn everything I thought I knew about relationships.
Emotional Abuse Red Flags
The signs weren’t there in the beginning, and the ones that were? Of course, I ignored them.
He was the sweetest guy when we first met. Constantly sending me texts about how he wanted to see me, no matter what I was doing. No matter how late it was, or how early I had to be at practice the next day. Never wanting me to spend time with anyone but him. Cutting me off from the rest of the world.
Looking back, these were all obvious red flags of emotional abuse.
In the beginning, I thought he was my soulmate. Everyone encouraged me and said that this type of behavior meant that he cared and was very much into me. Soon I would learn that this was far from the case.
Love is patient, not cruel.
2.5 years is a long time to spend with a person. You learn a lot about them, you establish a life, and hope for a future. You fall in love with all of the things you want them to be (even if they’re not).
But a lot happens in 2.5 years. They tell you they need space the moment you start needing them, the day you are going to your uncle’s funeral perhaps. Run off to another city, abandoning you in your greatest hour of need, sending you one text that reads, “I’m out with my friends, and having too much fun to deal with this right now.” And then they shut their phone off.
They accuse you constantly of cheating and being disloyal. Force you to send pictures to prove that you are where you say you are, and you are with who you say you’re with. Go through your phone while you sleep and screenshot texts to your friends that can later be used in arguments.
They only know how to communicate through yelling, and they think you expressing your feelings and concerns is arguing — and being immature.
Put their friends and their needs before yours. Give you ultimatums. Make themselves the victim.
They use your past struggles, your weaknesses, and the death of a close friend against you.
Below The Surface
Emotional abuse is so much different than physical abuse because no one sees the bruises and scars. There are no broken bones; there is no bloodshed. It looms below the surface.
No one sees the crippling fear of abandonment, constant confusion. and unpredictability because it’s all beneath the surface. Instead, it manifests itself in the form of tears, breakdowns, and the feeling of never being good enough.
People accuse you of being dramatic, being a pessimist, or wanting to be the center of attention.
You start blaming yourself, and you stop taking care of yourself.
But, no one sees what’s really going on.
They turn everyone against you. Feeding lies to your friends, so you feel so alone and like you have no one left to turn to but them. They convince you that you need them in your life. That you aren’t good enough for anyone else, and that you are the reason the relationship has failed.
NOT Just Physical
Emotional abuse is still abuse. And it’s up to you to GTFO. No one else can do it for you.
Walking away is the hardest part. You’re walking away from someone you have built your life around. From someone who you literally made the center of your universe (though you were never theirs). And it KILLS.
This is not love. This is control. This is manipulation. This is sick, and it’s wrong. Learn to recognize it, and RUN.
Scars & Stories
If you have had the courage to walk away from an emotionally abusive relationship, I want you to know how brave you are.
These wounds will heal, slowly & gradually.
If you think cannot bring yourself to break away from the toxicity, I urge you to take a step back and look at the situation for what it is: WRONG. Write it out. Talk it out. Get an objective perspective. See it for what it is.
Ask yourself: “If my best friend was being treated the way I am, what would I say to her? What would I want her to do?”
You are stronger than you think you are. There is a way out. Emotional abuse is not your fault, and you don’t deserve it.
Your Own Hero
I’m sorry to tell you, but there is no “knight in shining armor” riding his noble steed, waiting to sweep you off of your feet.
Yes, there is someone out there for you. Yes, he is right, he is loving, and he is your soulmate. But he’s not coming to save you from this, right here in this moment.
This? This is your battle. You have to save yourself. It’s harsh, but it’s true.
I promise that it does get better (or at least that’s what people keep telling me). But I truly believe it in my heart, and I believe the exact same for you.
Walk away, my dear. Fight back (not physically, of course). Be the hero that you need.
You are not a statistic. You are a whole person. You are extraordinary.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, visit https://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1-800-799-7233.
For my favorite self care tips check out this post.
If you are in need of a little extra encouragement, click here to read “To My Best Friend Ending a Toxic Relationship”.
Wishing you so much love & peace,