I was once young and strong, but now I am old, and stronger. The years in between were the problem. The child bearing years, the mommy years, those are the years when a young, strong woman can fall victim to the insidious destruction of verbal abuse and completely lose herself and her self-respect.
Anyone who has ever heard it, seen it, or watched it ruin a relationship does not need lessons from me. It’s the young woman who doesn’t recognize what she is up against may need a heads-up. It doesn’t necessarily involve yelling, or any form of battery, it is about cutting you to the bone when you least expect it.
So, why is verbal abuse important to identify? It is a process, the dawning of physical abuse. The doorway to your inner person, where your soul may crack and your spirit can be broken. It is the breaking down of your personal identity into an empty shell that can be controlled by another. In the end, it is all about control. Power. Not love. Certainly not love
If you believe you are trapped in an abusive relationship you may believe there is no way out. The first step is to find even the smallest shred of self-respect to build on, until you believe that you can, or deserve to, break free. Finding ways to love yourself, or things to love about yourself, in order to believe you deserve a better life. After all, at this point you hardly recognize yourself, much less remember the person you were before.
In my case that break-through moment was my little girls saying to me “mommy, we have to leave before he kills you.” It was the cold, hard moment in which I realized I was responsible for them and that their lives were being ruined just as mine was. I had believed that I was alone in my sorrow. I had failed to realized the danger my children were in, failed to protect them from the horrors of domestic violence.