As I continue to become more aware of exactly the situation I was in, I ask myself – how come I couldn’t see all of the signs before? I knew that things weren’t great, but I had convinced myself that I was over-reacting or that I was just sensitive – which he often told me…
I am in several closed groups on Facebook that deal with emotional and mental abuse… They post helpful articles quite often. Several of them tell you about signs of emotional abuse…. I never wanted to admit that I was being emotionally abused.
I had also convinced myself that the things he was saying to me were normal. I thought that in all marriages, nobody was really happy and that out in public – everyone was just acting. Everything that was happening to me – I figured it was because I had made my spouse mad and that I was over-reacting as usual…
There were so many signs that I should have saw – These are just a few of the signs that I experienced…
- Puts you down, embarrasses, humiliates or shames you. (he often put me down and called me names and then would say he was joking).
- Throws tantrums. He would yell and scream quite often or get up in my face when he was upset or something didn’t go his way.
- Demeans or disregards your opinions, ideas, suggestions or needs. (If I had a political opinion – I was always wrong or called a liberal. He would often try to override me with his opinions and why they were the right ones.)
- Has difficulty apologizing. (he rarely said he was sorry… and if he did, minutes later, he would then say, “No – you know what ? I’m not sorry!”)
- Intentionally puts you in scary or harmful situations. (When he would get mad in the car, he would intentionally speed up and say he was going to crash the car to kill us all. Or he would slam on his brakes…. He also would pull up very close to the train tracks to scare me. And he knew that bothered me. I was also cornered into walls)
- Exhibits extreme moodiness. (I was on eggshells constantly. I never knew when he was going to blow up at me. )
- Withdraws from affection or sex. (He was affectionate at one time. As the years went by, he grew less affectionate. I would ask to cuddle on the couch and he would be like , “cuddle?” .. I don’t want to F-ing cuddle. I rarely got any hugs. And when I tried to be affectionate, he would tell me to get away because he was tired or needed space.)
- Puts you on guilt trips. (one year for my birthday, I bought myself a bicycle that I had saved up for. He made me feel awful for buying it – saying he could have used that money for new tires… He made much more than I did. I had done extra jobs on the side and saved my money. If I went out with my friends, he would make me feel guilty for leaving my daughter at home. I can’t even count the number of times he was gone every Saturday…. I was lucky to get out once a month.)
- Accuses you of being too sensitive. (This one happened all the time. When he was being mean to me by calling me a name – he said I was too sensitive. Then he would try to turn it around and say he was joking).
- Controls finances and how you spend money. (He took most of my money that I made away from me every month. He said he needed money for groceries and gas. He refused to put our money together in the bank. When I starting to make my own money on the side online and found out I had extra money, he yelled at me asking where I got it. Then he would question me what I was going to do with it.)
- Threatens to commit suicide if you leave. (The night that I finally left, he held a knife to his neck and told me he would kill himself if I left. A year or two before that, he threatened to kill my cat if I didn’t come home. )
- Calls you derogatory names. (I was called a bitch, jerk, dumb-ass, stupid, idiot and many others. This happened on a daily basis.)
- Attempts to control what you wear.(If I wanted to get dressed up or looked nice, he asked who I was getting all dressed up for and why).
- Tells you that you will never find anyone better. (I was told if I ever left him, that nobody else would put up with my ass. He also told me nobody would treat me better than he did. He said I was lucky that he didn’t hit or abuse me.).
- Accuses you of cheating or is possessively jealous. (This happened all the time. If I talked to any guy friends from my past, he would ask if I wanted to have sex with them or accuse me of cheating on him…..)
- Belittles or trivializes your accomplishments, aspirations or plans. (He told me I would get nowhere with my poetry and that nobody wanted to read poetry. If I had dreams, he told me that I was selfish and that I needed to think of my daughter. I never once did not put her first… He also told me I would never make it as a writer… When I graduated from a junior college, he told me that I was stupid for attending my own graduation. He said I only did a certificate program and didn’t deserve to be part of the service. He said it was stupid to go to my own graduation. – by the way – I still went…. )
- Tells you that you’re crazy. (I can’t count the number of times he told me this).
- Threatens to hurt you, your children, your family or your pets. (he threatened to beat me with a baseball bat and kill my cat. He also used to joke about raping me).
Those are just a handful of signs of emotional abuse that I experienced. I can see these signs now, but back then, I thought everything I experienced was normal. I got used to being treated so badly, I find it weird that someone treats me well and I keep waiting for them to yell at me or do something to hurt me…..
I often wonder if I would have noticed these signs earlier, if things would have been different. But also, I do remember experiencing fear – so even if I did notice, I would have been too scared to leave back then…
If any of these ring true to you and you are in a relationship – please find help and don’t end up with pain that continues to haunt you even after you leave…