I used to think that things weren’t as bad off in my first marriage as so many other scary marriages. I only suffered emotional abuse. Only. Until I realized that living with emotional abuse is not an Only.

Maybe it was my way of coping or staying there by dumbing it down and trivializing it. But living inside the ugly bubble of anger and despair, bullying and cruelty was the darkest place I’ve ever lived. And those bruises on my soul? They were black and self-induced. Because I chose it.

It was not Ok then and although I’m OK now, it’s still not OK. Does it have to be OK? I guess if I didn’t want to be embarrassed for being abused then I should keep it quiet. Because I did choose it after all. It was the bed I made to sleep in. Wait, when are the victims to blame? Never.

It Was (Only) Emotional Abuse on Shalavee.com

When we feel empowered to make a choice based on knowing our own worth then we are acting on our own behalf. I can tell you I still battle with self-worth and choice. But I’m doing so very much better. My life now is very very different from then. It is gentle and hopeful. It feels safe and sane.

One last note, with the emotionally abused, there’s never a reprieve. Whereas in physically abusive situations, there’s often a honeymoon period when the abuser is remorseful and there’s a lull before it starts again, with emotional abuse, it’s 24/7 and 365 days a year. It can wear you down to a thin person on the inside.

By telling my story, I hope to convey that feeling bad about yourself and making bad choices doesn’t make you a lesser human being or any less worthy of compassion. Feeling bad about yourself just means that you need to figure out your own way to feeling better. Your potential and your value and your worthiness of happiness are equal to every other person’s on the planet.

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  1. Emotional abuse takes many forms. My first husband called it “teasing” but comments about my weight, my intelligence, my capabilities, my mothering did wittle me down to a “thin person on the inside.” It took a long time for those wounds to heal. Thank you for writing about this.

    1. Thank you too Mala for speaking up too. I am amazed at how long I held onto the shame. And I realized I just needed to give it a send off.

  2. I used to do the same thing, thinking that by not hitting me it was not as bad, but those words are still with me even though I understand none of it was my fault, and like you, I’ve found a much better life. Cheers to continuing to heal ourselves and sharing that journey for those who need to read our words.

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