Valuable quotes

"No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow." ~~

"The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you've already lost." ~~

Cree Prophecy - "When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money." ~~

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The hidden Abuses

The Hidden Abuses - help for the emotionally beaten

We tune in to the news every day or leaf through magazines and find articles about men who’ve physically maimed their wives and children - broken their bones or left them bloody and covered with bruises or worse, stabbed, strangled, or shot them to death. Neighbors and co-workers say they're nice guys, really pleasant, friendly guys who are just a treat to work beside, guys who will go that extra mile to lend a hand, who always wave when leaving for work in the morning and talk over the fence about how much they love their families.

This is awful stuff and just all too common in today’s world. That’s physical abuse. You read books about it and you see it in movies. We even have laws now that try to protect victims from being victimized again - restraining orders and things of that nature. This is the abuse that you can actually see.

But what about the other abuses? How do we protect others and ourselves against these? These abuses that kill the spirit and rob the body so that there's nothing left but an empty shell? I’m referring of course to verbal, emotional, and mental abuse. In some respects it can be worse than physical abuse. These are the abuses you can’t get a doctor to bandage and make heal. Unlike a bone, it won’t knit and get better. You can’t get it stitched and wait for it to heal.

Because verbal, emotional, and mental abuse is invisible, they don’t get swathed with bandages and treated with ointments. These abuses chip away at the very essence of a person and there are no laws to protect against it. Sometimes, too many times, even family members aren’t aware it’s happening because the abuser is a very gifted liar as well.

The person who is suffering from verbal abuse is not so easily recognized. She is the one who doesn’t want to say anything for fear of rocking the boat. She’s already learned from experience that to be forthcoming in any way will result in a verbal tirade she can’t emotionally handle.

She will make phone calls to explain why they haven’t gone to a party or why they are begging off a dinner engagement. She makes excuses to others for the embarrassing moments, telling friends that he’s just tired and not normally like that.

The friends readily accept this because they’ve seen what a swell guy he is.
That’s because verbal abuse is for all intents invisible. It goes on in private – behind closed doors. Out in the open, he’s Mr. Congeniality -- friendly and supportive to everyone -- but get him home alone with his wife and he is Mr. Hyde. He’s critical even of things that don’t exist; in fact, many times he creates things to be critical of. She forgot something he’d told her (he hadn’t). She’d put something of his away where he couldn’t find it and then forgotten where it was, (he himself put the item away). All these things were expertly invented to whittle away at the woman’s self-confidence. Then once it reaches a breaking point, he tells her he was joking and accuses her of being overly sensitive.

Slowly, these things sink in and she begins to question herself and worries that maybe that’s the case. Not being able to talk with anyone about it, she has no way of knowing if he’s right. He has her exactly where he wants her! Now he can manipulate and control. Whether she doesn’t work outside of the home and has some freedom, or a wage of her own, she is doomed! He is in full control of her entire existence.

It is at this time when he will start phase two: she is not going to get anyone to believe her because he’s already paved the way for family and friends to side with him. She is unreasonable. She is impossible to live with and he is the poor victim of all this. He is in full Mr. Wonderful mode - that poor guy with the difficult wife. From that point, she’s not in much of a position to even hope for help. When she weakly tries fighting back she’s a mean b!tch! Everyone sees her as unappreciative of his efforts to give her a good life. Everybody knows how much he does for her and how she’s not in the least grateful. Everyone knows this because that’s another road he’s paved. They readily take everything at face value and this is what has to change.

There is help. There are people who have been through this and they know the steps. Once a victim can even question for a moment what she's been led to believe about herself, this is a monstrous step to recovery. This takes some intervention from family and friends. Yes, there is great irony in that, because those that seem to have abandoned them really haven't. Like the victim, they've only been misdirected from the truth. That needs to be turned around. They can be brought to see what is taking place. It takes some close observation on the part of extended family and friends and some help learning not to take everything at face value.

There are some books which help step the abused through the first stages of getting help. Two I might suggest are Verbal Abuse: Survivors Speak Out by Patricia Evans.
Also by Ms. Evans, The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How To Respond

Both of these books are only a start in the right direction. But "The longest journey begins with but a single step".

Another excellent source of help are the online sites. Finding message boards and kindred spirits goes far in giving the abused person what she needs to fight back. Verbal Abuse is one site with numerous links for those seeking help.
Also, another excellent site in which to find support and advice.

Maybe, just maybe the day will come when these crippling abuses will garner as much attention as the other more obvious ones, then friends and family won't have to be taught how to look for it.

Without venturing to take that step, we are sentenced to forever remaining in bad places.

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