In a society, where marriage is seen as a sacred institution, there are hardly any voices to talk about emotionally abusive marriages. In order to honor such voices, our community member shares her experience with an emotionally abusive marriage, and why our society should stop telling women to tolerate emotional abuse for the sake of harmony and peace in the house.
While many Indian women suffer in silence in an abusive marriage, it takes only a physical scar or wound to believe them and their abusive stories. You don’t believe a person is abused if they have no physical wound to show. Sadly, as per various research studies, emotional abuse is 2x more painful than physical abuse. But rather than supporting these emotional abuse victims, you tell them to stay quiet and suffer in silence.
Because for you, he didn’t hit her. For you, emotional abuse isn’t an abuse.
He doesn’t hit her, but he makes her apologize for getting upset after he did something to hurt her.
He doesn’t hit her, but she is scared every day to ensure he is satisfied enough to remain calm and happy.
He doesn’t hit her, but he steals her sense of comfort and security leaving her paranoid and “crazy”.
He doesn’t hit her, but he makes sure to make her believe that she is not good enough – not good enough for anything and anyone!
He doesn’t hit her, she doesn’t have any physical scars to show but she has emotional scars – but, whom I am kidding – you don’t care!
Every time she tried to raise her voice against the emotional abuse, you tell her –
“Did he hit you?”
“Shh…Don’t provoke him! Why you do things to get him in a bad mood?”
“Why can’t you just be silent when he is in a bad mood?”
“Don’t say anything.. please don’t ruin the peace of your house!”
As you told her, she stayed silent every time she faced emotional abuse – because ‘Ghar ki shanti banake rakhni hai’. But with every passing day, the accusations, the verbal-abuse, the name-calling, the never-ending criticisms about her, her work, her duties and responsibilities, her sense of self eroded.
From being a confident young woman, she slipped into a self-hating victim who had no one to listen to her.
So with no physical abuse or injuries to exhibit, you were not bothered about how he made her feel. You made sure she suffers in silence to maintain the peace of the house! But, here’s what you didn’t know what emotional abuse did to her!
With continuous emotional abuse, she lost her entire sense of self, most of the time, without a single mark or bruise. Her invisible wounds hidden in the self-doubt, worthlessness, and self-loathing that she feels every day.
Without knowing that the consequences of emotional abuse are just as severe as those from physical abuse, she stayed silent.
So next time when he puts her down, she believes him; when he says it was her fault, with fully aware of his own shameful actions, she believes him.
Consequently, she started to agree with him and became internally critical. And, then she became trapped in the abusive relationship believing that she will never be good enough for anyone else.
You Refused To See The Signs
# While you see the flowers that he brought her, you didn’t see how he made her feel emotionally weak!
# While you see the vacation that he took her on, you refused to see how he insulted her and crushed her confidence!
# While you see the financial stability that his job brought into her life, you refused to see how she was made to live under constant fear, anxiety, and vulnerability that abusers created.
# While you see how lovely messages he posted on FB wall, you refused to see how he puts the blame of everything that goes wrong in his life on her.
# While you see how much he made her smile, you refused to see how she made to feel weak and helpless under that smile.
And, I am one of those women.
I was told to believe you. I was told to believe that it wasn’t an emotional abuse. I was told to believe that I wasn’t good enough for him. I was told there is no such thing as emotional abuse. Because arguments and fights happen in all the marriages. I was told his bullying behaviors were the result of my own mistakes – I provoke him.
I was made to believe that I wasn’t the victim but the problem. And sadly, I believed you for a while.
But for other women, who feel the pain of emotional abuse, I have a message for you:
Don’t let society tell you any lie. Don’t listen to them!
Insulted and wounded. Feeling not good enough. Scared and Anxious. Weak and helpless – If these statements describe your relationship, it is likely you are being emotionally abused.
In general, a relationship is emotionally abusive when there is a consistent pattern of abusive words and bullying behaviors that damages a person’s self-esteem and mental health. Though mental or emotional abuse is most common in dating and married relationships, it can occur in any relationship including among friends, family members, and coworkers.
As emotional abuse is subtle and manipulative, it is one of the hardest forms of abuse to recognize.
So don’t blame yourself. You may have done everything right but still, the abuser made you feel that you are at fault. Don’t tell yourself it’s okay. Do not apologize for their mistakes. Do not let them tear you apart to build themselves higher. You are worthy of love and happiness and respect.
Please don’t wait for them to change as they carelessly rip apart your soul & self-confidence. Please don’t tell yourself it’s okay or ever let yourself get used to it.
Remember, your abusers are broken. Do not let them break you.
A humble request to our readers:
IFORHER’s Open letters series capture articles contributed by our community members’ with the objective to share their deepest feelings with the community. If you can relate to them, please don’t forget to drop a message for the writer.
And if you don’t please don’t judge them. We all go through different struggles in life. Just because we don’t have that struggle doesn’t mean their struggle isn’t real.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of I for Her. Authors are responsible for any omissions or errors. And, IforHer does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.