Abuse can be obvious it can leave bruises. Abuse can also be less obvious and leave only internal pain and suffering whether physical or psychological abuse is a form of bullying that undermines a person’s self-esteem tears families apart and takes lives.
You’re so stupid, you’re lucky you have me. You are useless, you don’t deserve me, and nobody else would ever want you. Oh shut up, don’t give me that look. You don’t know how good you have it. You suck at that. You’re never going to amount to anything. Don’t you know how much I love you?
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the US every day in this country alone more than 3 women are murdered by their partners or loved ones. Almost half of all men and women in the US had experienced psychological abuse by an intimate partner many experienced it on a daily basis. When people think of domestic violence or relationship abuse they often think of the stereotypes that go along with it the truth is no one is immune to domestic violence it can affect anyone no matter what race gender socioeconomic background level of education religion or sexual orientation it is.
Also important to remember that domestic violence is not just physical abuse. In fact today I’m going to focus on the types of abuse that occur the most yet are the least talked about psychological and verbal abuse one of my friend grew up in a house with her mother, father and three siblings.
She grew up in an unsafe house in a house filled with yelling cursing and pain it is really difficult to describe the way her father hurt her family. He had a way to make them feel worthless. He knew each of their weaknesses and imperfections and always found a time to point them out. Although her father was not physically abusive they feared him whenever she stood up for herself or her family he would corner her in her room and spew such anger and hatred that she feared for her life.
One of the most difficult parts of living with an abuser is the unpredictability. Some days they would be like a normal family. Sometimes he would go for weeks without lashing out at them. It gave them all such false hope but of course someone would say something that he didn’t like or do something that he perceived as wrong or listen to music when he didn’t want to listen to it or even laugh too much and he would go off again it was like this ticking time bomb ready to explode at any moment.
He would make the family feel guilty as if they had really done something so awful to upset him like that as if they deserved the things he said and the names he called them as if they deserved the humiliation and the shame he would control them and their thoughts and after growing up with his voice inside my friend’s head at all times.
She started to believe that the things he said were true she started to believe that she was ugly fat stupid worthless and never going to amount to anything. It’s been two years since her mom gained the courage to leave him.
She finally have a safe positive loving house to come home to with no one telling them their feelings are invalid, no one telling them to turn down their music when they are singing and dancing in the kitchen and no one to tell them to stop laughing when her father left It was as if they could all finally breathe again.
In fact, a few days after her father finally moved out of the house her younger brother smiled up at her and told her that he no longer had to sleep facing his door at night as if her father was some kind of monster that might be lurking outside his room. Nobody deserves to live this way and yet many of you might be in a situation similar to the one my friend was in.
When she was younger she thought that she was the only one who had experienced this, she thought she was all alone she had heard of domestic violence before but never realized that psychological abuse was just as real as physical abuse.
Our society defines domestic violence in terms of bruises it is time to acknowledge the internal scars of psychological and verbal abuse it is so easy to get trapped in an abusive relationship and yet it is so difficult to escape whether you are a teenager or an adult you can get caught in an unhealthy relationship. To help you recognize one I’d like to share five common signs of abuse now although these are usually prominent elements of abuse every situation is unique.
- You’ll be swept off your feet in the beginning of the relationship it will be everything you ever wanted the fairy tale every kid grows up hearing about. You’ll be told that you’re beautiful and you’ll be showered with compliments and you may even fall in love but before you know it you will be blamed and humiliated, you will be told that you are not enough and you may even start to feel as though you are not enough.
- Your partner will force you to get rid of the things that make you happy. By doing this your partner will brainwash you and make you leave behind your old identity.
- To gain control your partner will isolate you from your friends and loved ones and make you dependent on them.
- The abuser will scream yell and curse at you and always find a time to point out your imperfections and mistakes.
- Your partner will deny they ever did something wrong and blame you for their actions.
People shy away from conversations about domestic violence because it’s easier to try to sweep it under the rug and ignore it than it is to face the difficulties and complexities of abuse but this is the reason why we need to talk about it.
Verbal abuses can lead to low confidence, guilt, sadness and depression. These are far more harmful than a physical abuses and this is why we need to be aware of both types of violence and avoid them in our lives.
I speak to you today to educate to raise awareness and to inspire change. I speak to all of those kids that are in my shoes you are not alone I speak for the millions of others around the world who have stories similar to my friend’s story but who do not have a voice to share them.