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Dealing with the ravages of emotional abuse

I think one of the most misunderstood things that can happen to a woman is one who is suffering in an emotionally abusive relationship. I know because I was one of them. It is easy to tell yourself things like 'there are woman suffering worse then I am, some are getting beat" and so on and you end up feeling like you don't deserve any better.

It is especially hard when your family is not supportive and you feel that you as a person really don't matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. It is enough to know that you are a caring person and that somewhere hidden deep inside yourself is that spark of 'you' that no one can harm.

I made tentative gestures to my family but mainly got back that I was spoiled or such. How I did 'nothing' all day but lay around reading. I had had 4 children in 3 years and somehow in that time when I was tired things changed in my marriage. I would have nightmares when I got up the courage to think of leaving him that he came and killed me. What terrified me was not that I was killed but that my daughters would be left with him or my family and neither option appealed. I stayed in the marriage being 'good' and waited and hoped for a way to change things.

Things had to change though. I can remember vividly going to a woman's resource center, still in my 'pretend nothing is wrong' mode and asking for general information. I remember begging the lady with my eyes to please care about me, please care what happens to me. She saw my eyes and said maybe I should talk to someone there. That was the start of it, a very long and hard road but so worth it and now it is almost 1 year divorced.

I knew things had to change because someone pointed out to me what message was I sending to my daughters staying in this relationship. Even though we lost everything and are just now beginning to dream of buying a house for us, the difference in our lives was amazing. I no longer feel like I am a worthless slug though am still a long way away from feeling 'like myself' -the me I know I am deep inside. I had to write my story for other woman who are in a similar situation and need that extra nudge to finally change things. I think what held me back was the fear that maybe I really was worthless and not worth caring about. The fear that I would finally get the courage to ask for help and not be thought worth helping. I want to let other woman know that they are worth everything and though it will be very hard it is so much better then what it was before.


Ila17's picture

Thank you

Thank you for sharing your story and writing about emotional abuse. I understand how difficult it must have been to experience what you did and then get yourself out of it. It takes a lot of time to re-built our self esteem and joy after experiencing emotional abuse. I admire you for your courage to leave and for speaking out about your experience!

So few people seem to be aware of the devastating effects of emotional abuse. Two years ago, a women who had experience working with emotionally abused women educated me on the dynamics and signs of emotional abuse and it changed my life. I had just left another emotionally abusive relationship, and she could see the signs without knowing anything personal about me. She was just working in the same office. It was a challenging road, a lot of self reflection and facing things. Now, that I understand the dynamic of emotional abuse it is very apparent how many people are in emotionally abusive relationships. As soon as I understood the dynamics of it, women started talking to me about their experiences. Once, I gave a women a ride, I barely knew her and she ended up telling me about her relationship. It is so sad to meet so many women that say they are afraid that they are crazy, that their relationships are making them feel crazy, and they doubt and blame themselves. I hope that more and more people will become educated on emotional abuse, so that the signs and devastating effects of emotional abuse become common knowledge.

It is so sad to hear women say over and over again that are is afraid that she is crazy just because she is in an emotionally abusive relationship and she has no idea what is happening to her.


Maria de Chirikof's picture


It is my hope that woman become more aware of this. Especially for the woman like me who kept telling themselves things like 'well, I am not getting beat so is this so bad?" Things that make you stay in it longer then any woman deserves. I have tried to talk about these things so other woman will feel comfortable sharing their story. I wrote of my self-esteem issues in one called "The Inch Tall Woman" and how I do need to work on it daily still but try to think of ways to change it to a positive image when I get to feeling like the world's biggest fool.

Thanks for you comments and please do make a post about what you have learned about signs and etc. since many woman will love reading it!


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