Let’s talk about emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse is a BITCH. And unfortunately, it’s a sneaky ass bitch as well.
My first husband was the biggest asshole when we were together. 6’5 and hovering around 350 lbs, he used his size to intimidate everyone around him. He threatened and belittled me, he threatened and belittled his friends, he manipulated every damn situation to make himself come out on top.
The thing is, when you’re young, and in love, it can be so hard to recognize emotional abuse, especially if it’s your first time encountering it. That was my deal- although my parents divorced when I was young, and my mom struggled to pay the bills, there was never any love or guidance missing while I was growing up. And my mom is a very honest, and straightforward person- no games with her.
Of course, there was many warning signs as I started dating my first husband, back in high school. My mom and dad both hated him, my friends hated him. He stole my ATM card one night, and next day I noticed there was $300 missing out of my checking account.When I confronted him, he said he wanted to buy me an engagement ring.
Yup, this muthafucka was going to buy me an engagement ring from my own stolen funds. And my stupid teenage ass was so in love with him, that I forgave him, enamored with the idea of being engaged.
Well, that was the first story he told me. The truth that I eventually wrested out of him was he going to buy a car part he wanted. (He did give me the damn money back, you can be sure of that.)
He talked me out of a lot of money over the years. I was a young, sexy, vibrant stripper who was making so much money every night, and after every shift, you know what I did? I handed it all over to him. Yup. I would squirrel away a $20 every now and then for myself. It never failed, whenever I had a couple of hundred stashed away, he would suddenly pounce, and just know. I would end up handing over my stash. He had a deep distrust of bank accounts. He told me he was the bank.
When I think about the thousands and thousands of dollars that I should have been saving or investing, that I just handed over and let him burn through, my heart rate still picks up a bit. If I dwell on it, and really remember, I get pissed. Even ten years later. (But what’s the point, right?)
The thing with emotionally abusive, manipulative sociopath fuckers, is that they’re so fucking sneaky. They are masters at making the most ludicrous accusation seem perfectly logical. One thing to look out for is if you find yourself frequently confused as to why your partner is so upset about something.
If you’re walking around, always trying to “make it up” to your partner, take a second and really ask yourself if you should be feeling guilty for ___x_____. Are you able to make the same demands or complaints of your partner? Or are you afraid to? If you bring up an issue with your partner, does he/she quickly turn it around and suddenly you’re struggling to defend yourself? (<—that one, especially, is very common, and so very, very maddening.)
Another sign: if you’re excited about an event or a trip, does your partner find ways to sabotage it? They’ll throw a fit about whatever, or they’ll disappear on you when you need them; they will never fail to find some wrench to throw to dim your joy.
My ex-husband was a huge, domineering jerk who manipulated and threatened his way through life. When I finally left his ass, the next guy I dated was so gentle with me and recognized the PTSD I was having in certain situations. He helped me recognize all the ways my ex had manipulated me.
In a small way, I’m grateful for those experiences, as it helped me recognize the shapes emotional abuse can take, and learn exactly what I wasn’t going to put up with. I recognize manipulation in a flash now, and you can bet I shut that shit down quick as fuck. I am intolerable to it now.
If these situations mirror your own, please seek some help. I beg you to find your peace and happiness, and get out from underneath your partner’s thumb. Fuck that fake guilt trip, it’s for the birds.
I am always willing to listen and help, if I can.
And The National Domestic Abuse Hotline is always open: 1-800-799-7233, thehotline.org.