Types of Abuse
Just some types of abuse:
Verbal Abuse is Not Fine
Verbal and Emotional Abuse
I was in an abusive relationship for seven years. This led to years of self doubt, poor self image, depression and anger.
The abuse wasn't physical for the majority. Mostly it was mental, verbal, financial, and emotional. I was constantly called stupid, fat, lazy, and ugly on a fairly regular basis, and several other words it would not be appropriate to print. I was treated like a servant, even if I was the only one in the relationship working I would go to work, go home, and be told to clean up the house (which was always a mess and usually created by him).
When I had to leave over Christmas a few years ago to say good-bye to one of the best grandmothers, if not people, in the world, I had asked him to pick up the house and put up the Christmas tree, since I did not want my kids to go through Christmas without at least a tree since I wouldn't be there. I came back and the house was even worse than when I left it, and the tree lay in the living room where I had left it for him, still in the box. About five minutes after I got home, the words "Are you going to clean up this mess?" dared to come out of his mouth.
Keep in mind that, in that moment, I was emotionally destroyed. My grandmother meant the world to me, and still does. My time of grieving was very lonely. I had few friends, and only ones I was allowed to have because they knew him first. Thankfully, I was blessed with two that he knew first that quickly became my saviors when I needed someone most.
Verbal abuse is when someone continually calls you names, talks down to you, screams at you, and puts you down, among other things.
Defining it is easy, going through it day after day, is the most difficult thing you can deal with, and, far too often, it escalates.
Emotional abuse, or psychological abuse can be far more subtle. Emotional abuse is over time, where you can be manipulated, intimidated or the other person is constantly critical and never pleased.
Emotional abuses are so difficult to suffer because they cannot be defined by a single instance, but rather a series of incidents over time. At first it can just seem as if these things happen once, when, in fact, it is happening repeatedly, over weeks, months, or years.
Keep in mind, please, that I was young, and thought that there was no way out because I had children, so this article is to educate other women in similar situations, so they can get help, and get out. Nobody should ever be made to feel like they are worthless, and nobody should ever feel trapped the way I did. After the birth of my second child, which was only eighteen months after my first, I realized there were several things wrong with the relationship I was in, but it took me five more years to get out, and get out fast, but only after it escalated.
Yes, you can be raped while in a relationship. Do not let someone tell you otherwise. You can be sexually abused by a spouse or partner at any point in a relationship. This is not something that is okay.
No means no! Even in a relationship. If you say no and they continue, get out. Even in a relationship, nobody can make you do something that you don't want to do, not legally. Call the police, file a report, and get out of there. You are not property.
Sometimes sexual abuse isn't out and out rape. It can be of a sexual nature, unwanted attentions such as groping, slapping your butt, or intentionally doing you physical harm (if you aren't into that kind of thing) during intercourse are just some ways you can suffer sexual abuse.
There are far too many times that a joke has been made about a someone being physically abused.
No person in the world should ever have to think: "Who will love me?" because they've been made to feel like they're nothing more than a punching bag.
Young women believe it cannot happen to them, young men, too. Physical abuse is the point where it escalates to the point that you are being hit.
In my relationship with my kids' father, I was hit a total of six times over the years. Once in the car, with him driving down the road. Another was when he rolled over in bed and intentionally slapped me across the face. Twice he punched me in the hip so hard I limped for a week, claiming I just slept wrong and my back was giving me problems. The last two times, I could not have felt more truly trapped. During one argument he slapped me and I warned him if he did it again he wouldn't have another chance. Less than a week later, he did it again, but this time he stopped, thought about it, then followed through, with my four year old son less than four feet away from us.
That was the end of my relationship. Due to financial problems, I had no choice but to leave my children with him for a few months. Under the condition he always had someone else with him. For five months I was homeless and looking for work, though, not completely homeless. It turns out a lot of the friends I made while I was with him, the ones I was allowed to have, were very good people, with support from them and a lot of support from both of my parents, I was able to find a home and retrieve my children from Ohio and their father, and bring them back to Florida.
There is a way out. Do not lose hope.
The Way Out
Domestic abuse hotlines are everywhere, and if you call one, they can offer advice, help in getting away, and many other services. They can give you numbers to attorneys, law enforcement, and work with them to get you to safety.
Do not be afraid to call them. They do their jobs because they care. Many of them are volunteers, and do the job because they want to, not because it brings home a paycheck.
Reaching out is not cowardice or anything negative. It is there for a reason, use the resources you have.
For instance, when I lived in North Carolina (where I was when my children's father hit me the last time), I called DANA (Domestic Abuse is Not Acceptable), they told me any amount of numbers that I could call. They helped me to form a plan, and I utilized as much of the information they gave me as I could.
Call them, reach out to whoever you can, and get to safety.
People do not realize how many times a year someone's face is plastered across the news because they've been killed by an abusive partner. Don't be that person. You can and will be loved no matter what someone else has done to you. You will be stronger for starting over without it.
If you have children and you or they are being abused: GET OUT! Their formative shape how they see themselves over the years. It's better to have your stability in question as far as a home than to be killed, or worse, to have your children killed by someone who abuses them.
Everyone deserves to be loved. Nobody deserves to be abused.
Travis, A. (2012, September 18). Teenage victims of domestic violence targeted as definition is extended. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/sep/19/teenage-victims-domestic-violence-definition
Canwanie, A. (2011, January 26). Emotional abuse. Retrieved from http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=emotional abuse
(2012, October 24). Broken Bones Hurt Less Then Verbal Abuse [Web Photo]. Retrieved from http://notallthosethatwanderarelost.thoughts.com/posts/broken-bones-hurt-less-then-verbal-abuse
("Broken Bones Hurt," Broken Bones Hurt Less Then Verbal Abuse)
Heather Baker (author) from Florida on December 16, 2013:
To tell you the truth, the one thing that made me say enough was a few years before it ended, a girl knocked on our door at three in the morning. The entire left side of her face was swollen and bleeding, and I thought to myself 'If I ever feel like I'm heading down a road towards knocking on complete strangers doors looking for someone I don't even know to get me to safety, I am leaving.'
Thankfully, I never ended up searching for a porch light being turned off in the wee hours of the morning, but to this day, I want to thank her.
ziyena from the United States on December 12, 2013:
Thanks for spreading the word ... there is always someone, somewhere, living in Hell. Z
Harry from Sydney, Australia on December 12, 2013:
Thanks for this excellent post!
Heather Baker (author) from Florida on December 12, 2013:
Also, thank you for sharing this post. I hope it helps many people out there.
Heather Baker (author) from Florida on December 12, 2013:
B. Leekly, thank you so much for sharing your mother's experience. The point of this was to share experiences, and I fully welcome comments sharing experiences.
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on December 12, 2013:
Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites.
Brava for taking positive actions to get out of that abusive relationship and to cope on your own, with help from family, friends, and community organizations, and for sharing your experience to help others avoid or get out of an abusive relationship.
My mother died at age 89 several years ago. Back when she was in her 70s we were running a book shop together and we had some conversations about her approach to relationships. When she was a teenager, she got some tips from her aunts, who had learned from their own abusive and unfaithful relationships. The most important advice was for a woman, especially when just starting to date and figure out through experience the sort of man she does and doesn't want in her life -- selfish? kind? dishonest? reliable? ..., is to determine in her own mind what her limits of what she will tolerate are and where she will draw the line. My mother tolerated a number of misbehaviors by my father, such as his drinking, but she would not tolerate being hit. Once early in their marriage in an argument he slapped her. She did not say a word but just packed a suitcase, got out her mad money, and took a train home to her parents. He did win her back, but it wasn't easy. It eventually happened another time, and it took even more persuasion (including a fur coat, and he wasn't making much) to win her back. After that he never struck her again.
I was in high school when my father, after hitting bottom, got permanently sober, thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous and to my mother's drawing a line, support his wife and children or lose them. He went on to have a successful career as an antiquarian bookseller.
My mother was active for years in Alanon and learned much from other women discussing together what each would tolerate from the man in her life or would not. Thanks to that sisterhood moral support and shared experiences, my mother learned to give up martyrdom and to have a life of her own along with being a wife and mother. She became an enthusiastic doll collector.
It sounds like you, too, are being forged by experience into a woman of strong mettle.