In the past, I've written about abuse. In this day and age, it is prevalent. On the site called, "The Safe Place," I found a list describing behavior associated with verbal and emotional abuse. Though the site is geared toward helping youth, wrong and hurtful behavior is no different for adults. If you or anyone you know is experiencing this behavior in a relationship, it is not OK. Nobody needs to remain in a relationship where they are the recipient of this kind of violence.
Following the list, I've written a letter to "my abuser." Abusers just don't "go away." They are tenacious because they are certain they are right. Sadly, the more right they think they are, the more mistaken, foolish and dangerous they become.
For more information about abuse, you can visit "The Safe Place" at http://www.thesafespace.org/
Verbal/Emotional Abuse is anything that the abuser says or does that causes you to be afraid, lowers your self-esteem, or manipulates or controls your feelings or behavior. It includes:
- Name-calling and put-downs
- Yelling and screaming
- Intentionally embarrassing you in front of other people
- Keeping you from seeing or talking with friends and family
- Telling you what to do
- Using online communities or cell phones to control, intimidate, or humiliate you
- Making you feel responsible for the abuse
- Threatening to commit suicide in order to manipulate you
- Threats of violence and harm to you or people you care about
- Threats to expose your secrets (such as sexual orientation or immigration status), start rumors, or to take away your children
To my abuser,
I am at a time in my life when I have had to reconsider just about everything and everyone that I allow to touch my life. I have made mistakes in relationships over the years for which I take responsibility. I have given more of myself, at times in the past, than I should have.
Because I haven't always known how to handle abuse, I've enabled it. I've given, forgiven, and hoped beyond the point of what is reasonable, only to be disappointed, over and over again. Humanly speaking, I feel empty of anything more to give to anyone - especially in a one-sided relationship that only wants to hurt and take. I've felt empty for a very long time.
The trust I thought I could place in you has been hammered to nothing by your self-centeredness, your vain assumptions, your lectures, your verbal lashings, your empty promises and your immaturity. Abuse is more than broken bones or bleeding, and anyone who has any self respect will get themselves out of abusive relationships and on to healthier ones in the future. This is the course I am on.
You wonder how you've abused me? I ask, "Where were you when I needed a friend? Where was the help, the consideration, the understanding, I expected and needed? Why did you treat me carelessly and viciously, and then, accuse me of wronging you? Why do you promise me your "love" forever, and then hurt me, harass me, stalk me, try to beat me down, and lie to me? Why do you make promises to repay money and then never do it? Why do you thank me for all I did for you, and then spin around in the next moment and accuse me of making your life a mess?"
You live in your pious airs with no knowledge of what life is really like for me. In your judgment you curse my present, my future, my family and my friends. In your bitterness you hurl Bible verses at me, and you come to conclusions, which are so far from reality. You assume to know what I think or what I will choose and why. You question everything I do with suspicion. You conjure up foul scenarios because of your jealousy and repeat them over and over again.
When I seem to be doing "well," you take the credit for having prayed for me. When I don't live as you think I should, you condemn me and make accusations that have little or no legitimate basis. That's the way it's always been.
You built an image of me in your own mind of who you wanted me to be. You've also destroyed that image and blamed that destruction on me. Your manipulation and control would keep me in a box of your own making. In your eyes I am only free when I do what you think is right. There is no room for me to change and try new things in life like everybody else. There is no place in this relationship for me to be me.
You wonder why I can't forgive you and then things be as you want them to be. I have forgiven you, but there comes a time, when the bruises and lacerations - especially the mental and emotional ones - don't heal because of the constant battering. I have removed myself from the place of abuse and I'm not going back.
My hope is in God, my Savior, who alone is the Friend of Sinners. You are not my judge in this world or the next. If I am as bad as you make me out to be, then leave me alone. If you have any self respect, get some help for the abusive behavior you demonstrate and stop making promises to me that are filled with hidden daggers. They have no value to me. Nothing you communicate to me entices or persuades me.