I thought I was smarter.
I thought I knew all the signs of a violent partner.
I had a health class in highschool that taught on this subject several times in a semester.
So…I thought it would never be me. I would never be hit.
Truthfully, I was never hit. But I was abused silently. It left scars that on my mind that I am still trying to heal from 10 years later.
Domestic violence does not always look like a battered woman. It doesn’t look like caskets and family grieving over their lost loved ones. It doesn’t always look like burned bodies and paralyzed injures. It can also look like the woman next door that disguises her insecurities with smiles, even though she looks rather normal. It can be someone like me.
The kind of abuse I experienced in my former marriage was not covered in class. I knew deep down something was wrong but I ignored the little subtle hints I received before I married this person.
I want to share with you some ways that many women are putting up with abuse in relationships just because they are not being physically hit. Physical violence often proceeds after these signs I am going to share with you.
And yes….no woman should ever have to put up with this kind of violence.
This type of behavior was done to me in the extreme. If I brought up any concerns in my former marriage there was an argument against my character or behavior. I was always blamed for the cause of any concerns.
There was never any real dialogue just constant criticizing and confusion.
But that is not all…
I don’t know if any woman has ever experienced this! I would come home to the furniture moved, the cabinets rearranged, and things gone in an effort to make it seem like I was going crazy. I would ask if anything was moved.
The answer was always no.
This kind of manipulation and mind games left me scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Deep down I knew something bad would happen if I didn’t get out.
Spiritual abuse in a relationship is basically being beaten over the head with your own beliefs or the beliefs you share with your mate. For an example, I would hear, “you have to this because I am the head of the household. The Bible says so.”
I would hear, “God hates divorce and if you divorce me then you’re a sinner.”
I was also criticized if I exhibited any angry outbursts saying that I needed to be a better Christian.
This wasn’t just said once or twice. It was said any time I refused to obey his demands and got mad about it.
I had access to the money, but it was very limited. My ex-husband kept a tight watch on the account to see if I bought anything extra–a lunch at work, some clothes, etc. Yes, we were budgeting, but this was beyond keeping a tight watch over the money. This was control of the money.
Here is an example. There was a time when I needed socks because I had a few holes in mine. I had to go to him in order to purchase the socks. He told me no. The next day he purchased new socks for himself and gave me his old ones. How cruel is that!
4. Acting Out/ Yelling and Throwing Things
This is the one behavior that exhibits an inner rage that will be used on you one day if you don’t leave. I saw this in my marriage twice, right before I decided to leave.
5. Threatening to Beat You
I was watching t.v. one day and out of the blue my ex-husband decided to look at me with a blank stare to tell me “I can beat you.” His fist was balled up. I punched him in the chest and said, “no you can’t.” I don’t think he was expecting that. No loving partner will ever rise up in your face to make threats.
6. Consistently Cheating
Infidelity is an abuse of someone’s trust. It should never be done period. However, when one person consistently goes outside of the relationship then there is a problem that may not be fixed. It’s just best to leave it alone. Yes, I have experienced this in my former marriage.
7. Calling You Names
Name calling is just part of the tactic that abusers use to deplete your self-esteem in order for you to depend on them. A lack of self-esteem just makes it easier for you to think that they are the only person that wants you.
8. Trying to Transform You Into Someone Else
We all want our spouses to change an annoying behavior. However, when someone tries to change the very essence of who you are in order to fit their vision of what you should look like or be, that is abuse. For example, my ex-husband made me wear wigs and a lot of makeup. I believe he tried to change me into a looking like a prostitute. He even wanted me to wear really short clothes in public. I don’t dress like that ever. I eventually got him to stop because I didn’t want to change anymore. Sadly I tried it, but I was like…this is not me.
9. Hitting You When You’re Both Drunk
I know I said I will be showing examples of how you can be abused without being hit. However, I wanted to share this because I know of women who believe they are not being abused because they were both drunk when it happened.
Listen to me sisters, this is nonsense. People tend to express their truest feelings in their drunk moments so if you’re being hit when your spouse or boyfriend is drunk, then you are being abused.
If you can see yourself in these 9 examples I want to encourage you to seek help before things escalate. It always happens when you least expect it. Please share with a loved one in this situation and encourage them to find the strength to remove themselves from unhealthy relationships.