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Sometimes the abuser uses intimidating verbal abuse and language, to strike fear into the heart of his victim, in the same way that a lion roars before it attacks its prey. The prey is so afraid that it loses all power of reason. It becomes paralyzed and literally defeated in the presence of its great enemy, before the lion even pounces.
This takes place when you are being controlled in the relationship by being emotionally blackmailed. When you are made to feel as if you have no choice in anything, especially if you are to be allowed to remain in a relationship with your partner. When he makes you feel as if it’s your job to make and keep him happy, even if that involves detriment to your own soul and happiness.
When your ‘no’ is not, good enough, respected or even heard, this is emotional abuse. Every human being has the right to have an opinion, and a viewpoint. Everyone is therefore entitled to express themselves, without having the fear of repercussion. Alarm bells therefore should always start to go off, if you are being restrained and greatly restricted in any way.
When other people impose their will over yours, when they feel their rights are more important than yours, you need to know that this is not healthy, and something is definitely not right! This is not a good setup! The truth is that you don’t have to accept this as your lot in life. You don’t have to roll over and be a door mat, accepting it as the only reality possible.
When you are told……
“I will love you if ……”
“I will stop loving you if……”
“If you really loved me you would do X….Y….Z”
When you are made to feel as if love will be withdrawn, because the abuser’s conditions are not being met, then you should know that this can never be real love, and it is at this point that you need to realize that your well – being is at stake big time!
When he threatens to hurt or kill himself if you don’t do what he says or wants, he is manipulating and emotionally abusing you. This is usually a sure sign of things to come, and an indication that things will inevitably escalate, into abuse including physical aggression and violence at some point.
I remember being on duty one evening and a lady that had recently moved into the refuge came into the office to see me. I handed her a letter that had arrived for her in the post. She looked at it, then at me, then she burst into tears! When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “I am crying because this is the first time, I have ever been allowed to open my own post! It is very emotional for me because I have never had the experience before!” I must admit I was absolutely stunned by her admission, and by the reality of how domestic violence violates people’s rights, on the most basic of levels!
Truthfully if you know what to look for, there are usually tell-tale signs. So domestic violence does not need to be something that creeps up on you! If you are not however adequately informed and aware, it is possible to miss all the clues until it is too late. Before long, the first punch, kick, or slap is thrown, before you even get a chance to take it all in!
Love is something that was meant to be given freely. When you receive and give it, this process is supposed to be one that sets you heart free to soar like an eagle! True love is not supposed to put you in chains and make you feel as if there is some kind of a noose or yoke around your neck! (Metaphorically speaking). This completely defeats the object!
A good and healthy relationship therefore should empower you, instead of leaving you feeling helpless, hopeless, depressed and trapped! A good and healthy relationship is not characterized by someone always playing ‘mind games,’ to the point that you never know whether you are coming or going.
When your partner calls you degrading names, humiliates you, puts you down all the time, making you feel as small as possible at every opportunity, this is emotional abuse. When they get a kick out of degrading you and stripping you of all dignity, when they make you feel as if you are subhuman or less, in public and private, emotional abuse is at its best!
You are being emotionally abused when you are blamed for everything that goes wrong. When you are intimidated into doing things that you would not ordinarily do if you had the choice. When you are made to feel as if you are worth nothing, as if you are totally inadequate in every area, and not even worth loving…this is emotional abuse!
When you are isolated from family and friends, made to feel completely alone, and as if the threat of harm looms over you, you are obviously less likely to fight for your rights. Your abuser takes full advantage of his position of power, knowing that he has you right where he wants you.
The truth is that you are not responsible for someone else’s behaviour. What you choose to do about it, however, will determine what happens at the end of your story. You can certainly decide how to react to the way you are being treated and put a stop to such abuse once and for all! It does not actually matter how powerless you may have been made to feel, the reality is that you are the one who does have the power to change things. It will not be easy, but it is possible, with the right help and support.
If and when he does these things, he is taking away your power of choice. On the one hand it humiliates you, and at the same time it makes him feel even more powerful. As far as he is concerned, he is a legend in his own mind, so this sort of behaviour reinforces his fantasy, ‘that he is king of the world!’
Whenever you find the one who is supposed to protect, love and care for you the most, is actually the same person who is attacking, threatening and frightening you, this can be incredibly confusing and particularly painful. It is disheartening and soul destroying to say the least, and difficult to see any reason to pick yourself up and be encouraged. With all the available help out there however, that is exactly what you must do!
Amira had been married to her ex-husband Imran for sixteen years. Apparently, Imran drank a lot. He had promised to stop drinking the year before, but this never materialized. Whenever he was drunk, things escalated, and he was even more nasty than usual. On top of that, he taught the kids to lie by his example.
Tensions had been rising steadily over the years, so one night she had an argument with him over a remote control. He spat at her with contempt as he verbally abused her. He pushed her and threatened that he would not allow her to run away, but that she was going to die by his hands. At the end of the evening, he changed his mind and told her to leave, even though she had nowhere to go!
The following morning, Amira asked (Imran who drives) to take their son to schools. Their son went to a different school from their daughters, and Amira obviously couldn’t take all the children to where they needed to be, by herself. Imran refused to help at all. Amira took her son to school by train, but inevitably he got there very late unfortunately.
A little later on that day, Amira received a call from her son’s school. She couldn’t talk then because her husband was in the room. When she went to collect him at home time, she was called into the office. She was informed that her son had been very upset at school. She was told that he had disclosed that his dad had pushed him down the stairs and hit him in the head. At this point, Amira was then given two options. She was told that if she went home, all of her children would be taken into foster care. (They had already been down this road before and had been very unhappy). She was also told that the other option was for her and the children to go into a place of safety. She chose the latter, and she and the children were then accompanied to a refuge. Social services also got involved to offer the family support.