“You make me act this way towards you!” These are the words of an abuser to his lover of three years. As I unfortunately bear witness to this wild display of emotions, I think to myself of how to stop this abuse from continually happening to my friend and not become the target. As the survivor of an abusive domestic relationship, I could see all the signs, as well as hear them too. Many times people get involved in a relationship with a person and they see the signs all too well in the beginning but yet brush them off as they try to please this person, thinking that they will supply them with their wants and desires in return. However, that’s not the case.
Most abusers don’t even realize that they are abusers. The often abusers put their blames on others in the heat of an argument and once they are calm they begin to apologize and admit that they are wrong and need help but do little to receive that help. The victim will often say, “It didn’t use to be this way” after having an altercation or they may say “I know he can be better if he just had this or that”. The reality is that they are being abused mentally and emotionally, which is the worse kind of abuse, and now the victim is in denial about the entire situation.
Most times the victim goes through high periods of self esteem and low periods of self esteem. The low periods are usually recognized by them withdrawing themselves from others, sleeping at odd times of the day or walking around with puzzled looks as they look for simple things which they can’t seem to remember where they put them. Their periods of high self esteem can be filled with moments of extra activity within their environment and surroundings, over indulging of affection being shown towards the abuser, and extreme positive verbalizations as if trying to reassure themselves of what is to come. This is quite unhealthy and dysfunctional. One cannot fully achieve their goals being in an abusive relationship like this. They are always ruled by their emotions, which are controlled by the abuser at any given time.
Mental and emotional abuse can be hard to admit to when you’re the victim. It is very unhealthy to stay in a relationship of this sort because as long as the abuser does nothing to change his/her, they will continue down this path of abuse. In many situations, the verbal abuse turns the entire relationship into a “topsy turvy” environment. The victim is seemingly always on “eggshells” yet brushes off any indication of their lover when they show signs of a new abusive altercation approaching.
This is avoidance and is an indication that the victim is afraid to deal with the abuser. The victim does not realize that verbal abuse can cause personality disorders that can plague them for the rest of their life. I have seen television shows of where women have been in abusive relationships and develop Obsessive Compulsive Disorders because the effects of the abuse were so great. One woman could not sleep with out all the lights being on in the house because she was afraid to wake up in the dark being choked to death, although he had been incarcerated for quite some time. She suffers large electric bills monthly because of the extensive abuse she endured.
It is not normal to be in a relationship where you’re on an emotional rollercoaster with your loved one. It’s not an embarrassment to want to seek help, it’s a lifesaver. As I have been told by an 80 year old woman, “honey, when you get angry to the point of no return it’s time to go, because at that time you’re not yourself and if it’s someone else, they are not themselves. A split second could take you’re life away, that’s why having that much anger is not worth it”.