Every three or four weeks, he threatened her security by just walking out. They’d been together for almost 4 years, and she continually tried to create a peaceful happy environment. She tried so hard to become what she thought he wanted and accommodating him.
He was quick to become defensive, berating her for “making him feel inferior”. He would use gross generalizations that gave broad brushstrokes to her “sins” and character flaws, yet offer nothing in the way of productive criticism. (something she could actually work on to become a better person). “You treat everyone awful” was his favorite one. And, “I cannot believe how horrible you treat ME”. This translated to, “YOU are a horrible individual”. He would not tolerate anything from her that appeared in his mind to be “disrespecting” him, yet he offered her nothing in the way of respect to HER. Compliments were never given to her, yet he expected those from her, reinforcing to him what a great person he was. It felt like acid in her mouth when she would tell him what a wonderful job he did on something (even though she wanted to hire a professional to perform it).
Of course, all his misery was her fault. Day in and day out, he would sleep until noon then lay around watching television. She was expected to prepare him lunch, and dinner, do his laundry, get the shopping done, clean the house, and all of this while not disturbing his television shows. She managed this with a smile because it was a real joy to finally have a man in her life that cared about her.
She filled her space and time with creative projects, her in-home business, and a wonderful client base that kept her occupied and happy. The happier she was, the more miserable he became. If she dared to indicate something in HIM that was bothering HER, he would storm out in a rage. How dare she notice a flaw in him. Then, he’d bait her into a false comfort zone, twisting and manipulating the situation so that it was HER that was continually apologizing to HIM.
One day, after he’d once again stormed out in one of his fitful rages, she thought about what it was that she was going to miss. In the examination of it, she realized she missed HERSELF. Somehow, along the course of the relationship, she had been trying so hard to accommodate HIM, that she was nothing but a shadow of who she used to be. His constant criticism of her left her believing that she was an unworthy person.
On that note, she took all of his belongings and put them neatly in boxes and set them outside. Although tempting, she did not light them on fire. She simply wrote: “These are yours”. She locked up the house and left for a while.
It came as a surprise to her the liberation that she felt. A heavy burden was lifted off her shoulders. She no longer had to tiptoe on eggshells, mindful of everything that she said. There was no more fear that the WAY she said things wouldn’t set off an explosion.
She was an emotionally abused woman. He was the abuser. His need to control his world and everything in it reduced her to nothing. He didn’t respect her, she didn’t respect herself. He played ping pong with her bran, and left her confused and hurt. When he’d lead her to believe that “all was great” suddenly, the rug got ripped out and he’d storm off yet again over something so minor, MOST people would laugh it off.
If you know someone in this trap, HELP them to understand that they DO NOT HAVE to live this way. The most common tool that an abuser holds over his/her victim is FEAR. To live a life in fear is a prison in itself. Don’t get frustrated with someone if they don’t take the necessary steps to leave the situation immediately. You need to understand that it’s a conditioning that she/he has become accustomed to. Keep pointing out that there IS help. When enough is enough, she/he will face the fear of the unknown, and boldly move forward.
There are many websites and organizations dedicated to assistance of emotionally abused individuals. I encourage you to print out, or email links so that your friend in an abusive situation can see that he/she is not alone. There is strength in numbers.
Angels fly because they take themselves lightly