If you or someone you know is in an emotionally or physically abusive situation, help is available. Local resources include One Safe Place, SafeHaven, The Women’s Center, and Catholic Charities Fort Worth.
You attend a wonderful event. You’re told repeatedly how lucky you are to have the partner you do. You’ve got the prize. You’ve got it made.
When you leave, you ride in separate cars. On the way home, you build up your armor to handle the insults and mean language to be told yet again: You are not good enough.
The garage door opens. Your shoulders tense. You clench your jaw in an effort to try to smile. Then it begins: You are a screw up, you did this one thing wrong. Nothing you can do is good enough.
You cannot see it, you cannot touch it, and often you cannot explain it. It is so insidious that days, months, and years go by before you are able to put your finger on it. According to Psychology Today, emotional abuse “is a pattern of behavior in which the perpetrator insults, humiliates and generally instills fear in an individual in order to control them.”
Reading this definition should make your skin crawl. As a survivor — not a victim — of emotional abuse, it sent chills down my spine.
I share this with our community of parents, moms, spouses, and partners to let you know you are not alone. This is one of the most isolating experiences one can go through because it is hard to talk about. You can’t explain it because often we do not understand it ourselves.
So what, on earth do you do? I do not have all of the answers. But I do know is there are several things that help me get through the days and sometimes hours.
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Find a Therapist
This is critical. Though sessions are confidential, you need to find a therapist who you feel you can be absolutely transparent with. There is so much trauma living in an emotionally abusive relationship and you will need help working through it.
My therapist helped me work through the why behind my reactions, which helps me understand myself better. My biggest value from this was learning and truly believing that I am good enough. She helped me see the good in the overwhelming sea of negative feedback.
Spend Time with Your Friends
Your community and friends will help hold you up when you have the darkest days. It is important to have that friend you can share everything with.
You also need your community that you can have healthy experiences with. Happy hours, brunches, movies — whatever or wherever it is — find a space with your friends where you can just be you! It gives you a break and allows you some freedom to laugh, smile, and live in the present.
Let It Out
This can be the hardest because sometimes we do not see the pain, the invisible wounds. But you have to let it out, and get that energy out of your body. This can be done through crying, journaling, some physical exercise — whatever it is — let it out. When we hold onto our stress and our pains, the invisible wounds can’t heal.
I do not have all of the answers because honestly, it is something that I am still healing from.
I wish I cried more, I wish I spent more time in situations where I felt free, and I wish I talked to someone.
The biggest thing for me is, I needed (and still need) to know I am not alone. So for whoever is reading this, know you are not alone and there are many people who are going through it and who survived it and are thriving. You’ve got this, hang in there and remember, you are more than enough.