Are you, or someone you know a victim of verbal and/or physical abuse from their partner or spouse? Studies from loveisrespect.org show that around 1.5 million High School students experience physical abuse from their partner, and about 43% of female College students report physical violence from their significant other. Not only are these numbers outrageously high, but they’re regarding young adults and teenagers. This topic is very personal to me as I have experienced an ex-boyfriend who would verbally and physically abuse me. I am here writing this article in hopes to help those going through the same experience, get out and live healthy lives.
First of all, what is emotional/verbal abuse?
Verbal abuse consists of a pattern of intimidation, manipulation, constant criticism, bullying/putting you down constantly, verbal offense, and threatening. Emotional abuse or psychological abuse is characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma. This includes depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The use for these tactics is to have domination over the partner. The abuser more often than not doesn’t see their acts of abuse, so it is tricky to handle.
Signs of emotional and verbal abuse
- Put you down, and/or humiliate you in front of people
- Punish or retaliate if you do not spend time with them
- Extremely jealous of your time and individual relationships/aspirations
- Blame you for their issues and unhappiness
- They don’t show empathy
- They use death threats to both/either you or themselves
- They view you as an extension of themselves rather an individual
- Subtle threats or negative remarks to gain dominance
- Use inappropriate names/labels for you
- Install fear into actions and speeches
- Control who you talk and spend time with, etc.
Here are some wise words:
After verbal or even physical abuse, the abuser will try and manipulate their partner by guilting them with lines such as, “If I didn’t love you I wouldn’t react this way”, or “I can’t control myself when I am angry, it’s like I blackout”. The abuser will beg for forgiveness and proclaim love or even blame the victim for the attack. If you have been in the relationship long enough, you may begin to notice the pattern.
Verbal and physical abuse often go hand-in-hand. The transition from emotional/verbal to physical abuse is pretty self-explanatory. The verbal abuser begins to get physical. Especially when the partner does not come off as submissive as the dominant would prefer. These are a few things from my own personal experience of my physical abuse;
- Getting bruises and/or pushed against a wall if another male contacted me that he did not know
- Slapped and pushed around
- Smashed my cell phone (a couple of times) out of anger
- Pull my wrist to get me to go where he wanted
- Threatened to kill himself and I if I ever left him
- Stalked me
- Broke glass and would pull it out in arguments
- Brought a knife out during an argument
- Crashed a car on purpose after I wanted to end things, I unbuckled my seat-belt and tried to jump out, but it was too late and I slammed into the dashboard. I now have permanent knee damage.
And so forth. There are ways to get out of this kind of relationship. While one can’t just say “it’s over” and expect the abuser to leave things calmly, there are other ways. Such as,
- (In a public place) Calmly, list the reasons of why you can’t be in this relationship anymore. Do not use the word “I think” as that leaves room open for discussion and manipulation. Let him/her know it is over and be near an exit area.
- Inform your family, coworkers, and professors or teachers that you have just gotten out of an abusive relationship and to please watch out for him/her and finally, let them know it is okay and preferred to call the police if that person is spotted. It is embarrassing, I know. But your abuser is most likely going to want to find you off guard and do what is in their mind as “necessary” to get you back. This can lead to violence.
- Do not believe the “I love you so much, I’ll die without you” etc. Love consists of two individuals sharing compassion. If your relationship is attached to threats and pain, that is not love. This is not to say your partner doesn’t care for you, but it is more of an obsession to control and have you, rather than love you as an individual.
- CHANGE YOUR NUMBER, EMAIL, PASSWORDS – EVERYTHING! Blocking does not do justice. He/she will find another source to contact you and this is unsafe.
- Drop contact. I know you love him/her. I know it’s hard, I was with my abuser for two years before I got the self-confidence to leave. I know it will be lonely for a while, but no company is better than toxic company.
- Ask for help from friends and family! Inform your loved ones of what is going on, emotional support is crucial for the healing process.
I am sure there are other methods that work perfectly, but this is what helped me and other women who have contacted me in the past.
I realize that you want to stay and help him/her change for the better. Stay through thick & thin, and that this relationship has gotten comfortable. You think it’s almost better than being alone. I did too, I even tried to find therapists for him, but the abuser does not see a wrong doing in their actions, and even in the midst of the fight where they scream, “I’ll work on myself for you, I promise. I want a life with you”, this all means nothing in two weeks when the loop starts over again. Many men and women disregard this and go through years of torture. Do not be that woman, do not be that man. The effects of being in an abusive relationship often last long term, with deep scars to the soul.