How do you answer when people ask, “Was it just emotional abuse?” I don’t even know what the fuck to say to them. They obviously don’t know anything about domestic violence. I know they need to be educated, but how do you teach an alien language to someone?
I want to say, “I don’t know…
When he drugged me and raped me–
When he hit the baby on her head for crying—
When he disappeared—
When he told me loved me then called me fat and said he didn’t want to compliment me because it would make it seem like the way I was was okay–
When I so desperately wanted to leave and he held a gun to his head and said he couldn’t live without me—
When my four year old asked, “Daddy why do you always make mommy cry?”–
When he cheated on me, but wanted to kill me because I found someone who showered me with compliments and affection, and built up my broken spirit and heart–
When I wouldn’t fight with him in front of our kids and said we should go for a drive, and he went 90 miles per hour down that winding dirt road and told me he didn’t care if we both died if he couldn’t have me—
When I finally got the courage to leave and he made two huge cuts in the front of his body to remind him that I tore out his guts and broke his heart and my teenaged daughter started cutting herself—
When he told me, “If I hit you once, I might as well not stop for as much trouble as I’ll get into”–
When he called me in the middle of the night and said he had all of his guns and had taken my car keys and wanted me to beg him to come back and promise to do anything he wanted–
When he finally filed for divorce and i was yelling for someone to call the police and for him to leave me alone, trying to get away from him and throwing things behind me and he silently went into the house with never so much as an “ow,” and shortly after, when the police arrived and informed me that he had called and reported that i attacked him and his head was bleeding. When no one but him knows to this day what happened to his head, but considering that he has a history of cutting himself and he had no need for stitches or the hospital–
when i got out of jail the next morning and he had emptied our bank account, returned my (leased) car, and was using the No Contact order to keep me out of my home and away from my children—
when he tells my daughters that I abandoned them and they will lose the house because mommy wants all his money–
which ones are JUST emotional abuse?”
This is a poem I wrote and read at a local candlelight vigil against domestic violence.
The Greatest Gift
I spent twenty years with a man who abused me
Our three daughters are as beautiful as can be
Why did I stay? You may want to know
With three kids and no job, where would I go?
The girls seemed okay, it would mess up their lives
No. Women should stay home like good little wives
Besides, I did love him, he provided for us
I thought I could cover up the bad things he does
But one fateful night I went out of control
The years of abuse had taken their toll
I got up the next morning and it was all gone
All the things that had kept me there for so long
My home, all my money, along with my car
I even had to watch my girls from afar
The world around me was so bleak and dark
Til one day it hit me like a beautiful spark
The things he took can all be replaced
But my education, my memories, my love with my girls cannot be erased
If the things that bound me had never been taken
My Higher life would still be forsaken
So now I know it was the greatest gift that he gave me
By taking it all, he actually saved me.
Thank you for visiting Violence UnSilenced, a speak-out platform for survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. If you are a survivor and it is safe to do so, we encourage you to share your story here. If you are not a survivor but you want to support those who are, please click around this site and find out more about what you can do.
I have been witnessing your story play out for my entire life and I can't help but notice how you have left out every single detail of your own exceedingly poor behavior in your descriptions here. That doesn't mean you deserve to be abused. No one deserves that. Including your kids and your ex-husband who have also been abused by you.
Pervasive emotional abuse. That's the first time I have written those words. I have been married for 19 years. I have 3 kids. I am a professional at being emotionally abused. I am so scared to try to get out. He is an attorney and has that information parked in front of my mind like a yellow Ryder truck. He dares me. I am crazy.
Liz, if there is anything I want people to take from this, it is that there IS HOPE. Please do not give up that hope. Please, please, PLEASE seek out help from a domestic violence shelter. Even if you do not leave, you can get counselling that will help you through this.
You've written those words, and that is a first step toward your recovery. keep going. even if they are small steps, they are still steps.
I wish you love and light!
Wow. Just: wow@ i ris. "Just emotional abuse," WTF!!?, I agree, completely.. as my ex's lawyer argued just this week, "CPS found physical abuse determined as inconclusive , and emotional abuse substantiated... And it was 'only' emotional abuse... so my client really has no problem" and the judge let her know that emotional abuse is Even Worse as far as he's concerned. I was SO HAPPY to hear that. Finally the damn system is starting to work. I've been trying for years.
I am SO happy to hear that you have a Judge who seems to know about these issues! I think my judge did too, however our "friend" of the court referee did not.
I hope your court battles are over, and your children came out with the best possible outcome! <3
Thank you all for your warm and heart-felt support. I am somewhat easily overwhelmed, especially by this sort of thing. I am encouraged by all survivors and sur-thrivors who tell their story. and if I am able to help even one person improve her circumstance, it will all be worth it. Love and blessings to you all.
"I-Rise" (thank you for that one Marie, I will be sharing it!)
I-ris, your poem, and your story, and you...all amazing. I'm lighting a candle tonight and reading your poem again. Thank you for sharing it.
Thank you for sharing your story I-Rise, a difficult and tough one but your voice is there. I appreciate your courage as I can only imagine how hard it is to remember these dark times and everything you loose. But you found the energy to stand up again, you are a survivor that makes a difference, a voice there to help the ones who suffer again and again.
Have a blessed future you deserve.
Hello, I just found this website and I think it is wonderful to finally find a "place" on wich "Emotional Abuse" is included...I finished an abusive marriage in January of 2006, not only was fisical violence going on, but since I gathered my strenght and called the police one day he was fisically hurting me, and after he was released from jail, the emotional abuse became the staple... I also was accused of battering my ex-husband and spent one night in jail, in my case the officers did not find any lacerations on him it was my word against his, but since he was the one who called the police, they took me anyways. I called the domestic violence hotlines (back then) asking for support on the emotional abuse I was going through and the only thing the person could tell me was that if there were no marks on my body they could not do anything...that asfixiating sense of being powerless, unable to do something to stop that...After all those years I still am recovering from that...Thats my shortened story, to let you know that I relate, that I still sometimes feel powerless and angry when I hear or read stories like yours, To let all know that I, too want to be a part of the solution. I confess that some times I do not know where to start or go, but right now, with all my heart, I want to show my support ...It takes a very strong woman or man to live through an abusive relationship, It takes a very strong being to put an end on it, to push away the "shoe" that was stepping on us, and an even stronger being to deal with the post trauma that surfaces afterwards as the years go by. We are Strong and rise proud because we are not victims we are responding,solving and owning who we are NOW not been silent or ashamed of what we have lived.
I leave this message with all my heart, with Love and feeling greatful and understand.
Thank you for sharing your story and I hope that others who may be in the same situation realizes that abuse is abuse. I wish you well.
I-ris, I'm glad that you've spoken out (here and in the public forum and at the school and everywhere that you present yourself as a survivor), claiming victory and demonstrating your ability to overcome. Your spirit is strong. You are a great role model as you continue to search for the positive in the past and strive ever upward for your future. You are an encouragement for others.
Thank you Sarah, Jennifer, and especially Frelle.
This was actually written two years ago, after a school administrator and school counselor met with me regarding my speaking out for the first time and reading that poem publicly.
My daughters school principal was concerned because after this news hit the local paper, (who published my full name and shouldnt have) my childrens father and his then girlfriend went to the school and tried to "set things straight."
The principal actually was the person that asked me "was it JUST emotional abuse?" I don't think there are words to describe how dumbfounded I was to be sitting there with those "professionals" and hear that. At that point the meeting was over.
Frelle, I wish you Godspeed on your journey. It's not an easy one. It's been four years since I left, and I am still recovering. Mostly from the injustice of the court system that I thought would protect my daughters and me. Please please PLEASE get counseling. and find something you can do just for you. My soul needed nurturing more than I could have possibly known and it needed it from me, not an outside source.
It's almost impossible for someone who has not been through it to know how terrible 'just emotional abuse' can be. It's a terrifying, debilitating nightmare. It’s living hell, truly. I’m so sorry he took everything away from you, but know you did the right thing in leaving. People in abusive relationships do read these stories, and your story of courage in leaving a horrible situation will give strength to others. Thanks for sharing and stay strong.
Thank you for speaking out and sharing your story. I've been emotionally, verbally, and psychologically abused.. and I understand your quandary about how to answer someone who questions the validity of the abuse you underwent bc there were no bruises or cuts visible. You just dont even know what to say to them, I understand. Im so glad you got out and are recovering. I am almost out and recovering too.