My Experience With Emotional Abuse

If the wounds in their hearts,
and the bruises on their souls,
and the burdens they all carry,
if they were all to show up as battle scars on their flesh,
you wouldn’t be able to recognize their mutilated faces.
You’d run and scream,

For those who aren’t familiar with emotional abuse, it is, well, abuse; extremely painful, harmful, and scarring abuse, but it doesn’t involve someone hitting you or touching you inappropriately. It can be so subtle you can barely notice it’s there, or it can be loud and screeching underneath your skin. It’s much deeper and more personal than a physical cut or bruise.

Emotional abuse, to sum it up in one sentence, is basically having to fight daily arguments, and wars in your head with people you no longer have contact with. It does not sound too bad to those who don’t understand and haven’t been in such an experience before, but I consider those people very lucky. I envy them at times, because the pain that emotional abuse brings may just be worse than a knife to the heart. I know for a fact it feels that way sometimes.

A year ago, when I was with my now ex-boyfriend, it started out like a fairy tale. Too good to be true; perfect. Like a king and his queen. I was immensely content; ecstatic. I felt safe in his presence and felt so lucky being with such an amazing person. I felt blessed, as any young, naive girl would be when a handsome young man comes to sweep her up off her feet. We shared similar interests and would talk with each other over the phone for hours. He drowned me in compliments, sugary gifts, fake roses that looked as though they were soaked in blood, and he would brag about me to his friends and siblings in a drunken manner. I was introduced to his family and felt so at home. I was welcomed with open arms. . .

It was a dream come true, until little things, little red flags began flashing here and there throughout the days when we were together… something really bad was on its way.

While we were indeed very similar in interests, hobbies, humor, etc. we were fundamentally opposite when it came to our morals, opinions, and our choices of religion. I considered myself spiritual more than anything, interested in the nature/element and magic-based Wiccan faiths, while he considered himself a strict Christian. I was aware of our differences from the start, and I had no problem with it whatsoever, I actually I loved the fact that he was passionate about something he considered bigger than himself, and I loved hearing what he had to say about it. I could tell he loved his faith and loved everything that had to do with his religion, and I respected that…I cannot say the same for me and my beliefs. He would ask me about them, but would then mumble under his breath about how he thinks I’m wrong and sinful whenever I would talk about how much I love the earth, the elements, giving beggars and homeless people money on the streets, natural positive magic, the universe, protection crystals, the metaphysical world, and he would scowl whenever I would fiddle with the silver pentacle I wore around my neck. He would disagree with me and my beliefs with venom lacing his words, as if he was talking with a demon. He would talk a lot about hell, fire, sin, and damnation, while I talked peace, love, healing, and acceptance, even bringing my love of Jesus into the matter. But it didn’t matter to him. I was confused for so long, and heavily conflicted, and I felt more and more criticized the more I spent time with him and the more I talked with him. Everything with him was a debate, and he always strove to be right, and tell me that I was wrong and how I should think, act, and do things differently. I felt bullied, but I reassured myself that everything was fine, and that he was the best I was going to get. So I ignored the red flags and many deal-breakers and carried on with the relationship. For some reason, under all of the reassurance I had given myself, I knew something was wrong underneath the facade of love, and knew that he hated my guts and my specific beliefs…. and that he so wanted to call me filthy witch that was going to burn in hell after I die.

Everything changed one night over the summer, when I was in tears, talking about a young girl I had heard about, who was bullied ruthlessly to the point she hurled herself off a water tower to be rid of the suffering. She had killed herself, and hearing her story tore apart my heart and soul. I talked about how she is free now, and that she is in a better place, but he, on the other hand, disagreed. He told me he felt bad that she is burning in hell for the selfish sin she has committed. . . I couldn’t believe it, the cruelty and coldness of this statement. The faucet in my eyes was fueled full-blast and I remember sobbing so much that my words were just about unintelligible. He didn’t understand my grief on the matter, and the conversation only went downward from there. Days on end after that phone call, I spent most of my time nested in tree branches, sitting on my roof to stargaze and co template what I should do. He was confident and fearless when defending his beliefs, but other than that, he was sensitive, and I didn’t want to be harsh when I was going to tell him I wanted to split up. Then again, a voice in my head kept telling me that I was wrong… that I was evil and selfish, that I should be thankful for the relationship I have, and that it was the best I was ever going to get because I was a sorry excuse for a human being. I spent days like this to the point my mom was getting worried, then annoyed with my seemingly perpetual sadness. I was constantly debating things over in my head, and doubting myself and my own morals and beliefs. . . After a while, I began believing I was truly evil and wrong about everything. My mother would scream for me to listen to her, and would repeatedly tell me I was a good person, I wasn’t evil or wrong and that I should leave him because of the toxic things he was putting in my head, but I didn’t listen, and kept listening to my criticizing boyfriend, like a mindless child. I didn’t listen to my friends or my family, the people who knew me, trusted me, and loved me the best, nor did I trust what my very own heart was telling me, which was the biggest mistake I ever made in my entire life. I was eventually talked into finally freeing myself, and my boyfriend was unusually apathetic on the phone when I gave him the news as gently as possible. That is when the worst of the clashing arrived. I’d stay up all night, red in the face with my head being crushed with migraines, whilst I asked myself over and over, “Was he right about me all along?! Am I really a bad person?!”, even though, deep down, I knew those were all lies. I knew who I was, and I knew I wasn’t a bad person. I was different from the crowd, and my boyfriend just didn’t know how to, or didn’t want to accept that fact, and through criticism and hating on my differences, that was his way of attempting to change me; trying make me more like him.

It has been many months since all of the chaos, and I am a lot better, but I still suffer from time to time. I have gotten to know others who too have been victims of emotional abuse. I am more aware of what this type of abuse is, and I know that it is often overlooked and ignored, even by adults who wave it off as just an annoying inconvenience, especially towards teenagers, but I intend to do my research to help others who suffer in the future. If you believe that you, or someone else, are victims of emotional abuse, here are a few common symptoms:

• Feelings of depression
• Withdrawal from social interactions
• Isolation from friends and family
• Lowered confidence and self-esteem
• Fearfulness Increased
• Anxiety
• Guilty feelings
• Feelings of shame
• Mood swings
• Nervous feeling
• Not trusting others or self
• Obsessive conflicting thoughts and feelings
• Self-blaming
• Doubtful of self
• Skittish behavior
• Emotional instability
• Suicidal thoughts

Others may judge you, others may try to grind you down because you are a little different and don’t fit into the cookie cutter, but do not listen to them. You are valuable, you are precious, you are loved, and you are needed. Set an example for others, be a good person, help others, be peaceful, and don’t go out of your way to crush someone, and do not let anyone crush you. You are strong. (I should write fortune cookies). Be careful of who you trust, and carry on with your life. Problems will arise throughout life; life is harsh and unfair, but keep your head high. I learned the hard way, but that is why I am here, to write this for you, so that maybe you don’t have to go through it the hard way. Peace be with you.