Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Public Service Announcement from B & G

There's an issue lately that I'd like to spread some awareness about. While we're all aware of the travesty of battering, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that abuse isn't only physical. Emotional and verbal abuse is equally abhorrent.

Abuse in any form is uncalled for. Abusers come in all colors, ages, and economic backgrounds. Their constant need for control over any given situation is who they are and what they do. Most of the time, the behavior stems from a need to control. Emotional and verbal abuse weapons are silence, belittling, and blame.

The cycle of abuse is the same as one who beats another. Escalation, abuse, and then a honeymoon period of "I'm sorry. I had a bad day (or just have a lot of stress, etc.)." The duration of the honeymoon phase varies, but make no mistake about it. An abuser will ALWAYS come back to repeat the cycle.

No one is perfect. The victim of an abuser has flaws just by nature of being human. But no matter the flaws, that is NO EXCUSE to be put down, emotionally torn apart, or made to feel guilty. Often, an abuser will pinpoint these flaws and use them as weapons. Self-esteem suffers, and the victim is often left feeling helpless and worthless.

So what are the signs of emotional/verbal abuse? If you think you or someone you know is in an emotionally abusive relationship, here are some questions to ask.

Do you feel that you can't discuss with your partner what is bothering you?--Are you walking on eggshells for fear of triggering a tirade?

Does your partner frequently criticize you, humiliate you, or undermine your self-esteem?--Words like "stupid","disgusting", and "What's your problem?" are red flags.

Does your partner ridicule you for expressing yourself?--Are you made to feel like your opinion makes no sense or isn't right?

Does your partner isolate you from friends, family or groups?--This is how the abuser maintains control. The amount of isolation varies, but it's still isolation.

Does your partner limit your access to work, money or material resources?--"We need to watch spending" while spending money like a sailor on shore leave.

Has your partner ever stolen from you? Or run up debts for you to handle?

Does your relationship swing back and forth between a lot of emotional distance and being very close? -- Again, the roller coaster of the abusive cycle.

Have you ever felt obligated to have sex, just to avoid an argument about it?--"Don't you love me anymore?" "You must be having an affair." These are common. A lot of abusers will use these phrases to manipulate the victim into submission.

Do you sometimes feel trapped in the relationship?--This is especially true for victims with children. They need the most support and help.

Has your partner ever thrown away your belongings, destroyed objects or threatened pets?--Your old childhood teddy bear may mean a lot to you, but the abuser sees it as trivial and worthless and won't hesitate to throw it out if they see fit.

Are you afraid of your partner?--Do you fear another argument? Do they threaten you with "what if" situations of what they'd do if you ever left? Abuse.

I hope and pray that if one victim of abuse is saved by this, that they find the happiness they truly deserve. No one deserves to be left with emotional scars that can last a lifetime.

I'm B & G, and I'm a victim of emotional and verbal abuse. There. I've said it. Now I can figure out how to heal.


Amusing Bunni said...

B & G, This is an excellent account of how horrible abuse is, verbal and emotional esp....which often goes along w/ physical! We'll be here for you to help you heal. Also, you are too smart and pretty to put up w/ that treatment. These bullies do as much as they think they can get away with. If yelling back doesn't help I have a few other suggestions!

Think Positive thoughts and go towards the "light" of happiness, things will improve, I know it.

blackandgoldfan said...

*crying* Thanks, hon. My kids and me are my top priorities. They don't need to live in a household where this shit goes on. I don't want Noah to think it's okay to treat girls like that.

Andrew33 said...

I will repost this at Kooks and ask my friends who pass me all those neat virals to viral this. (Among those is Karin, who arranged the meeting between Michael Steele/RNC and Tea Party leadership.) Having such great sources to pass info are no good if you can't do good things for your friends. Do you want it to be anonymous or have your name as it will go to ALOT of people when I do this.

blackandgoldfan said...

Andrew: You can use B & G. That's anonymous enough for me, and I'm tired of living in the shadows. I know how badly I feel, and I'd really like to help someone else who may have been in denial for as long as I was.

Andrew33 said...

Real friends are the ones who are the unconditionally. That means good times and bad. I will send this to everyone I can. I hope that doing so will help alleviate just a little bit of your grief.

blackandgoldfan said...

Thanks, Andrew. All I want to do is give hope to someone who may need it.

The Right Guy said...

I hope I don't open a can of worms.

1. I would never excuse what an abuser does. It's reprehensible.

From my experience in social work and life in general, it usually takes two. Again, no excuses for what an abuser does at all, but many times the relationship is self-supportive or self-reinforced. No one should have to put up with it, but they need to understand why they would pick someone like that (and also why at times they instigate it), and that's a tall order. Most things in life don't happen in a vacuum.

What is important is that if you are a friend or family member of someone that is being abused, to offer support, but realize that you also may be stepping into it. I have also seen many times where an abused person will defend an abuser and even attack a cop when they come to a domestic disturbance call. Given the choice, if you know someone is being physically abused, report it at the very least.

The emotional stuff is a lot more subtle and in some ways even crazier and more twisted. It's easier to get either party to see that physical abuse is nuts and stop, get help, but an emotional abuser is another breed. Look up gas lighting. In that case it's a tougher row in some ways as the receiver of abuse may never realise that things are askew. It's like stockholm syndrome.

Anyway, my 1 cent.

Ran said...

Well Denise, been there myself.

Three parts to growth: 1) Stress - even abuse - is a stimulus.
2) Release / Recovery - such as a break from the action, time off to rest, time to reflect and
3) Nourishment - such as prayer, support from friends, research...

Many people choose to go defensive and become semi-professional victims. A few extraordinary souls choose instead to grow and gain wisdom.

I'd add step 4) Generosity to others. Odd, but helping those who can't cope anchor's one's strength.

Courage, and may God bless.

blackandgoldfan said...

RG: I'm not saying I'm perfect. Far from it. But there have been numerous times that I've been shredded for no reason. I don't know why I picked a person like this. Maybe I was just too trusting.

Let me give you an example of something that happened about a month ago.

We had gotten an ice storm, and the school district did not delay or cancel school. I looked out and saw there was still snow, so I figured that I could drive in that for traction to get Noah to the bus at 6:30 a.m. I was mistaken. The snow was frozen solid.

I was able to get him on the bus, but couldn't get my car back up the driveway. Hubby was still in bed, so I literally crawled up the driveway on my elbows and knees in subzero winds. I didn't have my cell on me or I would've called the house and stayed in the car.

I get to the top of the driveway where it was level. I carefully stood up only to hit my head and slide back down to the bottom after my feet slipped out from underneath me.

Lying in a ditch (literally) crying and screaming for help, I see the bedroom light come on. Hubby gets dressed and gets the tractor with the asher out.

After throwing down some shale, he heads to me.

"What the fuck is wrong with you? How fucking stupid can you be? Are you that dumb?" were the first words he spoke to me. Not "Are you alright?". Then, he proceeded to go on an hour-long bitchfest because he had to get up to help me. Nice guy, eh?

I'm not trivializing your advice or your story. I appreciate some input. Incidents like the one above have become almost the norm around here. I've lived it for 20 years, and I just can't take anymore. My kids and I deserve better.

Thanks for taking the time to read, big guy. I appreciate your candor.

blackandgoldfan said...

Ran: Thanks. That was the only reason I wrote the post: to help one other person. I'm breaking the bonds of victimhood and refuse to let my kids be victims.

I like your 4 points. Hopefully, I can grow wiser and find peace and happiness.

My courage is a little shaken right now...

The Right Guy said...

Sounds like you guys need some professional help, an ear, a referee, and someone who will be a mirror. I don't want to get into TMI, but I hope at least you get to talk to someone even if he won't go. People only do these things because we give them permission. When you take control and responsibility of your emotions, choices, and actions, you'll feel a lot better and make better decisions. The first step is get professional help. That's the best I can tell you.

blackandgoldfan said...

RG: Thanks, sweetie. I've already considered doing that for me and the kids. He doesn't think anything he's done is wrong, and if he does, he tries to justify it. I highly doubt he'd go because I've suggested going to counseling before and I'm met with resistance. He doesn't believe "that our problems are anyone else's business".

The Conservative Lady said...

Take care of yourself and your kids.
You're in my prayers.

William said...

Hang in there, Denise. Having been raised by an abusive mom, and married to a maniac feminazi who specialized in loud (the whole neighborhood could hear her) rants, and throwing knives and scissors, I can totally feel your pain... I really do. But there is some truth to the idea that we often marry someone who is very much like our parent who abused us. NEVER AGAIN! Never again, because I have the tools to look out for signs, subtle as they may be. You just get to the point where you realize the abuse has nothing to do with you, and your radar is calibrated to a high,sensitive degree to be able to sense any red flags.

Get some sort of help and stay well, dear. Keep us informed of your progress.

Best regards,

blackandgoldfan said...

Thanks, TCL. I'm scared witless as to how this is all going to pan out, but I gotta keep faith.

blackandgoldfan said...

Will: I plan on getting some sort of help, but I'm scared to death how he's going to react. I truly am. I know I have to do what's best. I'm just praying for strength to do it. Thanks, hon.

Soloman said...

I've wondered in reading some of your past comments as we've had discussions exactly where things were for you.

Now I know there's truth behind what I suspected.

Hang in there, my friend... write if you need a sounding board.

BTW - didn't you mention family in Arizona? Maybe you need a vacation... heh.

blackandgoldfan said...

Thanks, Sol. Maybe an Arizona vacation would be just the ticket.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

We're all pulling for you. You've taken that first step. Let us know if we can help with next.

blackandgoldfan said...

Thanks, Odie. Yinz are my angels, and I thank God for all of you.

Chris said...

When I was younger and a manager of a business there was a women that was both physical and mentally abused. She would come in and we would pick her up and she would go back to the abuser. Finaly I told her that if she doesn't care enough about herself then neither should I. I told her to get to work and I didn't want to hear about it. She came into work again with a beat up face. I said nothing to her and told her to get to work. Not one drop of simpathy came out of my mouth or my eyes. But in my heart it hurt me to see a person being abused. But until she cared about herself and her well bein I was just inabling her to keep getting abused. The story did end happy so you have taken steps to change your behavior. That is the only behavior you can change.

blackandgoldfan said...

Chris: It's tough to deal with someone who's being abused. The frustration that they're going back to their abuser can be overwhelming. I'm just glad that she was able to make her stand and put an end to it. The steps I've taken so far are baby steps, but they're steps nonetheless.

One Ticked Chick said...

B&G, I’ve never read your blog before, but Sol’s post directed me here. I’ve been in a situation such as yours, and experience has taught me that abusive people rarely change. My heart goes out to you and I’ll keep you in my prayers that you find the strength to make the best decision for yourself and your child.

Just a conservative girl said...

I was in similiar situation when I was younger. I have this whole pathology thing that I fall into on paper; and I did exactly that. He was my first boyfriend, we met my first day of high school. I stayed with him until my mid twenties. I didn't think that I deserved better. It took me a long time to realize that I didn't need to be mistreated and was better off alone. I had a long history of choosing the wrong man. Luckily for me that has all been left behind. I am sure that it will for you as well in time.
Good luck with the process and don't be too hard on yourself. It will take some time to heal.

blackandgoldfan said...

OTC: I deeply appreciate the prayers. I know that that is the one thing that's going to get me through this and into a better life.

blackandgoldfan said...

Con girl: I'm so glad you realized that you deserve better because YOU DO! My regret is that it has taken me so long to realize the truth. I feel like I've wasted 20 years that I'll never get back, and that saddens me. I figure that I'm 43 years old, so I hopefully have some time to heal and find happiness.

tammy said...

Came here thru Soloman. I'm sorry you've had to deal with this. I only dealt with a little bit of this in the past, so I can only relate a little, but I've seen others go through it. I hope you get the help and support that you need for yourself and your kids. Prayers are yours.