It was the same scenario every time: yelling, accusing me of things he didn’t even know and had to invent, grabbing my arm and giving me that I-can't-stand-you-anymore look. It was impossible to believe that was the same man who had begged for my love and affection years ago. He had promised me the world and to never make me cry. I had once been very happy with him. It hadn’t lasted long though.
He didn’t want to go out with me. Not this evening. Not ever. And now he was going to humiliate me. If I fought back, he would storm outside the house and come home really late, or even the next day.
I'll just shut up, I thought. As usual.
I looked at him, calmly, like he had never yelled. I was fed up, disgusted, and dead inside. He no longer intimidated me.
He hurried toward me and grabbed my right arm, squeezing it. I cried out in pain. "Leave me alone!" I shouted, struggling to free my helpless arm from his monstrous grip.
He gave me another threatening look and let me go. Then he slapped me.
The slap slashed my left cheek, and sent me flying across the floor. I screamed in terror, agony, and contempt. How could my husband have turned into a heartless monster who enjoyed nothing more in life than torturing me?
I had allowed him to long ago. I had given him excuses and decided to love him. And that was the bitter price I had to pay.
I looked up at him. I couldn’t see his eyes anymore. They were obscured by rage.
-- The Years of Silence
What are abusive relationships? What are the different types of abuse (many think it's mostly physical)? What defines them? Have you ever been abused? How did you deal with it? And why and how do people get involved with abusive men/women?
My debut novel The Years of Silence deals with an abusive relationship/marriage in the first chapters and through the heroine's flashbacks throughout the novel. That's why I thought we should discuss abuse and abusive relationships (without spoiling the novel for those who haven't read it - any spoilers will be deleted).
First, let me define abuse: Abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual. It involves humiliation, threats, intimidation...etc.
Signs of an abusive relationship include: physical harm (including slapping, grabbing, shaking, pushing, kicking, punching...etc.); aspects of your own life being controlled (examples include what or what not to do, who to stay in touch with...etc.); frequent humiliation; threats to harm you or themselves; twisting the truth so you are to blame for your partner's actions; constant anger and jealousy...
Emotional withholding, control games, lies, broken promises, and infidelity are also forms of abusive relationships.
Emotional abuse is as damaging as physical abuse because it causes long-term self-esteem issues and emotional disturbances.
Abusers are often survivors of abuse themselves. Abusers act out of deep seated shame and feelings of inadequacy. They seek to pull their partner down to make themselves feel better.
Also, abuse can be a family dysfunction that repeats through generations. The abused becomes the abuser and so continues the cycle.
What many don't know is that unwanted sexual advances that make you uncomfortable are a warning that there's little or no respect in this relationship. If someone tells you, "If you loved me, you would do this or that" that's a warning of possible ABUSE. This tells you how controlling that person is and how what matters is for them to get only what they want, not caring about what YOU want.
So, how do you know if you're in an abusive relationship (even though there are many signs like I've explained earlier to tell you)? Ask yourself: Are you afraid most of the time? If you are, then it's an abusive relationship.
Share your stories, comments and feedback!