First, let me begin by saying that I am not discounting physical abuse at all. If someone is physically abusive it highly unlikely they are not emotionally & verbally abusive too. If someone feels it is their right to physically abuse their partner or child they must be manipulative, controlling and use some methods of justification for their ‘reasons’ for physical abuse.
“If he ever hits me, I will be out the door.” I said to myself, but with my own believe of what ‘abuse’ was I was giving him permission to do anything else, including; verbal abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and financial abuse.
Society really paints a picture of abuse as being physical in nature. Abuse is Verbal, Mental, Sexual, Economical, Emotional as well as Physical. I also read from a source that abuse can also be Digital and I agree with that too.
- I cannot recall anyone ever telling me if someone makes you feel like less of a person you know yourself to be, that is abuse!
- If someone uses words as their weapons to hurt you, that is abuse.
- If someone uses finances as a way to control you, that is abuse.
- If your husband is determined to have sex with you even after you say ‘No’, that is rape.
- If your husband uses your children against you as a weapon, that is abuse!
The problem I have found with verbal abuse was that I did not recognize it was happening. The damage was internal, causing bruises nobody could see and causing other forms of external physical illness as my only signs of abuse. All of the symptoms I had could be explained away by doctors as stress, IBS or depression. I had no idea my physical illnesses were being caused by my relationship with my husband and my toxic home environment.
When my daughter was about 6 months old I took a vacation and my husband decided not to go with me. I was on vacation for an entire week. I felt much better during that week than I had in a long time. When I returned home I began feeling bad again. So I started thinking I was allergic to something in the house, perhaps it was mold, pollen or dust. I really did not get it that my husband had created such anxiety in me that his physical presence actually caused reactions in my body.
Three years later I left him and filed for divorce. I drove to my parents house and the further away I got from him the better I felt. When my cell phone would ring and I saw that it was him calling my head would start hurting, my chest would tighten up, and my stomach would start to hurt. At one point I remember my chest releasing for the first time in years and I could finally breathe a true deep breath. I had no idea how tight my chest had been for so long. I use to have difficulty breathing and I felt like someone was sitting my chest and this was anxiety.
I remember my chest releasing for the first time in years and I could finally breathe a true deep breath. I had been dealing with chronic anxiety and did not know it.
After a couple months separation I decided to give him one last chance. Thankfully I am still here to this day because when you are dealing with abusers I truly believe it is not a matter if they will hit you, but when they will hit you. In fact, studies say that women often make decisions to go back to their abuser based on what has not happened. There are awful stories about women returning to their abusers for the last time and they are murdered. They say it takes women an average of 7 times to leave your abuser, before they finally leave for good. I think that is about the number of times I left my ex-husband while we were dating and married.
While I was married to my abuser I could not understand why other women stayed. I really wanted our marriage to work, I did not want to get divorced, I was worried if I could financially support my child and I was afraid to leave my ex-husband. The truth is my abusive ex-husband is far worse in his behavior to me now than he was when we were married. The good thing is I do not have to live with him every day and I feel safe in my home.
My ex-husband is not allowed to come into my house ever. That is the rule because I have a right to feel safe in my own home. The first year I left him I was afraid. I remember keeping the doors locked, blinds closed, garage closed and I was so afraid of him. Then I began to find myself again and my personal strength. I could not control if he wanted to kill me when I walked outside my house. I had to start living my life.
I believe part of the reason he continues to abuse me (often through our child) is because he wants to see me suffer. My best guess is he can’t stand that I am doing okay without him, that I am happier without him and that I don’t want to have any sort of relationship with him. He is no longer in control of me or my life and I know that is killing him. He is remarried and should be focusing on his wife and yet he continues to commit ‘Separation Abuse’ by obsessing about me and constantly pumping our child for the information.