In my tete a tete section I have interviewed Archana, a strong woman who went through hell in an abusive marriage. Speaking to her about her ordeal I could see the evidence of psychological and emotional trauma she the went through even after so many years. Every day in her line of work she comes across many women suffering the same kind of abuse. She introduced me to few of her clients when I went to interview her. We sat down and had an in depth discussion about the abuse they went through. What I could gather from my conversation with them is that emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. They emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are very severe and I could see the pain and deep anguish they had suffered. No one should have to endure this kind of pain, yet this a very real problem faced by many women all over the globe.Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It occurs within all age range, backgrounds, and all levels of the society.
I am writing this article because I feel this issue needs to be addressed. Abuse in any form should be nipped in the bud. No one should have to live with the fear of someone they love.
Contrary to the misconception, a spouse does not have to hit you physically for it to be abuse. Physical violence can be seen, but not all abusive relationships involve violence. Just because you’re not battered and bruised doesn’t mean you’re not being abused. Many women and sometimes men too suffer from emotional abuse, verbal abuse which is no less destructive. Unfortunately, emotional and verbal abuse is often minimised or overlooked—even by the person being abused. Verbal abuse sneaks into countless relationships. It is something that millions of women and men endure on a daily basis.Verbal abuse is as damaging as physical abuse. Because verbal abuse sufferers don’t carry the outside scars and bruises, it can sometimes be hard to see a person is suffering. Or perhaps you are the victim and because the damage isn’t physical, you may wonder if what you are experiencing is indeed abuse.
The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence. If you’re the victim of emotional abuse, you may feel that there is no way out of the relationship because you are so weak and have no self confidence. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behaviour. You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, and they run deep. In fact, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse—sometimes even more so.
The first step to overcome this situation is to accept that you are being abused. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it. It might not be easy to identify the violence at first. While some relationships are clearly abusive from the outset, abuse often starts subtly and gets worse over time. Signs that you are in an abusive relationship are :
- your spouse/partner humiliates or yells at you more often than not.
- criticizes you and puts you down constantly.
- treat you so badly in front of your your friends and family
- ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments
- blame you for their own abusive behaviour saying you make them act like that.
- you feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells
- you dont speak your mind because you are scared to anger him
- tries to isolate you
- distrusts you, is jealous of you and keeps suggesting you are cheating on him.
These are just a few basic signs. Very often these things escalate further into pushing, shoving, breaking things and finally physical violence as well. The abuse may not be limited to this. The abusers also may abuse financially by withholding finances, taking away credit cards, not providing money for day to day expenses etc.
Very often women stay on in the relationship without realising the damage it is doing to them. The changes happen slowly and over time and very often people dont even realise that they have become a shadow of who they were once. People who have been abused are often depressed, scared, ashamed, and confused. They’ve often been isolated from their family and friends, so they have no one to turn to and this makes matters worse. Accept the fact that things are wrong and you need to make changes in your life. Do it today, don’t wait for a tomorrow that will never come. If walking away from the situation is not possible find ways to rectify the situation. Don’t hide your problems yourself from your friends and family. Speak to them, they will be your support and strength. Make little and subtle changes. None of this is your fault. Make yourself mentally strong. Do things that make you happy. Put on some loud music and dance, go for a long walk by the sea, do yoga. Make your well being and happiness your priority. Detach your self. If you react to the abuser, you are rewarding them by letting them know they have power over your emotions. Don’t allow them to have control over how you feel. Try to go in for counselling or therapy. Try to ignore the screaming and shouting as being mere rantings of a mad person. Don’t take it personally. What every you do, don’t allow the situation to go so badly out of control that you loose your sanity. No situation or person is bigger than your life and your well being.
Please do not wait for something or someone to change or live in the hope things will get better “one day”. Be the change, initiate the change you want. I know it is easier said than done and there be many reasons why you are trapped in this relationship. Remind yourself you are a wonderful person. The abusers perception of you is not who you are. You are a lovely person and your life is very valuable. So fight for yourself and your right to live a life of dignity and happiness. Reach deep within for courage you will be surprised how strong you are.