Most people know that physical abuse is a problem in relationships, but the question is do they know that mental abuse is too? Many women are mentally abused, but ignore the fact with the attitude of “at least he doesn’t hit me.” Mental abuse can take its toll on someone just as much as physical, though. I have experienced both in my lifetime.
When I was younger I stayed with a man that would hit me just because I thought it was best for my children to have both mom and dad in their life. Many times I would be covered in bruises and cover it up as me being “a clutz.” Eventually I realized that the escalation of the abuse could one day land me in the hospital and that he could also end up turning that violence toward my children one day. I escaped this life and pushed myself to survive without him. I moved on and found a man that I thought was amazing. He seemed so caring and even seemed to love my kids.
As time went on, he started changing. It would be little insults here and there. Telling me no one will ever put up with me like he did. He isolated me. I wasn’t allowed to have friends. If I went to visit family, it was only allowed if he was with me. I kept telling myself, “At least he doesn’t hit me.”
Eventually it got to the point that no matter what I did, I got yelled at that it was wrong. If he had a bad day, I would somehow catch the blame. Even though the only time I left home was to go to work, school, church, and taking my kids to their different activities, I started continuously being accused of cheating. When I would beg for him to spend time together, he would flat out tell me how he can’t stand to be around me. I still tried telling myself, “At least he doesn’t hit me.”
I always blamed myself. I was constantly trying to change to meet his expectations, but no matter what I did, it was never good enough. There were days I didn’t even want to get out of bed, but had to make myself so my children had their mother around. I knew they needed me. It took me falling into a depression to the point I thought it would all be better if I died, to finally realize that I needed to get out.
No one should ever make a person feel like they are not enough. I honestly felt completely broken. I got to the point that smiling was almost impossible, and that is the one characteristic everyone always knew me for. I just wasn’t myself anymore.
If you are being abused or know someone that is being abused, whether it is mentally or physically, Lewis and Clark Community College Counselor Renee Bauer is here to help. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (618) 468-7184.