As a woman, these same feelings and experiences were once part of my life. And of course, to watch this unfold breaks my heart.Instinctively, I want to protect the abused from further harm and tell them to run.
Ten years after experiencing the hardest breakup up of her life, *Ani, a writer, speaker and domestic violence advocate, sat facing the man who used to build her up and destroy her all at the same time.
They reconnected four months prior when she had sent out a text via group messaging app Whatsapp wishing her friends with Oct. Though he had hurt her all those years ago, she included him in the group chat. A short time later, Ani changed her avatar and received a second text from him: "Nice pic." Soon, the two were texting back and forth when he asked her if it would be weird if he still sometimes thought about her. Their conversations continued on and off until months later, when Ani found herself willingly sitting at a table across from the man who hurt her all those years ago.
A way to put those years of therapy, which had taught her that the easiest way to heal was to forgive, to the test."Wow, thanks," responded the now-stranger."No problem," she replied. The man who, according to Ani, was a pathological liar and master manipulator; who left her depressed, anxious, and bedridden for months; and whose name she could barely speak since their breakup in 2004.
Isolation, intimidation and controlling behavior also falls under emotional abuse.
Abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence or other repercussions if you don't do what they want." It simply (or not so simply) "chips away" at how we think, value and esteem ourselves.
However, over time, the road narrows between an abuser's acts of kindness and emotional and verbal abuse. But let me make it clear: You have done nothing wrong. I can deeply empathize with a victim of abuse in many ways.For those who have been there, you understand, because moving from victim to survivor, you found yourself wondering "How did that happen? As a therapist, it's very painful to watch, to experience, to sit across from and to absorb.Emotional abuse: It's insidious how it creeps into your life.It's one of those things that, at first glance, feels innocuous.In the beginning, it is not uncommon for a victim to innocently ignore the infrequent snide comments and put-downs.This is because they occur sporadically and are often "peppered" with random acts of kindness — leaving the victim feeling confused and unsure. READ: 15 Signs You're Dealing With a Toxic Person According to Melinda Smith, M. D., in their article "Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming.