Abuse and Self Care, Encouragement, Health

Are You Being Emotionally Abused?

If someone you love–including yourself–is being emotionally abused, you’ll find it mirrored here:

Abuse comes in several forms: emotional, physical, sexual, verbal. Often emotional and verbal abuse get erroneously played down. People sometimes falsely assume that it can’t be “that bad” and isn’t dangerous, but that couldn’t be more wrong. Emotional abuse is dangerous and it’s just as damaging as physical abuse. When I was in an emotionally abusive marriage, the words hurt more than any punch I could have suffered. In fact,

 I remember saying at one point “I’d rather you’d just hit me. It’d hurt less.”

Constantly being berated, told you’re not enough, don’t know enough, don’t do enough, don’t look good enough wears away at your very existence. You struggle to keep your head and your self-esteem up.  But after years of hearing how very insufficient your every move and word are, you start to wonder if your abuser might be right. They undermine you at every possible turn to achieve just that very mindset. And once you believe you’re nearly useless and can’t possibly function well without your mate, then they’ve got you where they want you.

Emotionally abusing someone makes the abuser feel better about him or herself.  They are actually the person who feels less than, who believes they can’t function without you so they demean and belittle you to the point that you believe the same. It’s insurance. They want you under their power so you won’t leave, so you’re weak, so they can manipulate you at their whim.

The abuse can sometimes be subtle, laughable to the casual observer. The abuser may make a little joke about their mate’s cooking: “She burns water.” It’s a joke.  It’s funny. We all laugh. The person it’s directed at may even laugh. If they get mad instead they’ll seem overly sensitive, they reason. But in reality, they’re really laughing so they don’t cry because they’ve been the subject of this “joke” at least a dozen times in front of family and friends and it hurts more each time. I know this because I was the butt of this particular joke. Those little dings in one’s self-esteem add up and grow into massive dents in their armor, and their ability to hold up and stay strong starts to diminish.  It’s an incredibly lonely and isolating existence.

I was reading this piece on Live Bold & Bloom about this very subject of emotional abuse and it strikes a chord with me. I don’t want anyone–man, woman or child–to ever suffer any type of abuse and I’m making it my mission to get the word out, educate, help people detect those subtle remarks that may be harbingers to a future abusive relationship, and inform folks who may be concerned about a loved one dealing with this.  Because I’ve been at the receiving end of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse I can speak with some authority on what it feels like to be the survivor. I say survivor because that’s what I am. I am no longer victim and I don’t want you to be either.

Get help. Seek counseling as a healthy first step in acquiring the tools you need to cope, rebuild, and survive. And while destroying you to the point your abuser can keep you under his dominion forever after is his end game, surviving is yours. So do that.

No More


The National Domestic Violence Hotline

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  • Reply Amy L. Sullivan June 22, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Unfortunately, this is something in which many, many women can relate. I am excited about the encouragement you are providing to women all over the world.
    Amy L. Sullivan recently posted…Strong Girls Can: Talking to Tween Girls about DatingMy Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com June 22, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Amy, thank you! I hope I can be a voice they need to hear and provide information that will encourage and inspire hope.

  • Reply Mary Collins June 22, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Emotional abuse is a slippery thing for many of the reasons you listed above. Many people don’t recognize it for what it is. They can view it as someone being super sensitive which isn’t the case. Thanks for making others aware of this problem.
    Mary Collins recently posted…Marvelous Mondays for Free Books–June 22, 2015My Profile

  • Reply Chris Carter June 22, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Melanie, I am in awe of your strength and conviction to inspire courage and change for all victims of abuse! Thank you, for your mission- too many people suffer and it’s voices like yours that will help carry them to safety.
    Chris Carter recently posted…About Those Straight Lines- Predictable PathsMy Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com June 22, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Thank you so much, Chris. I want to be the person I needed then and write the book I needed to read then. Pray for me that I can be and do just that!

  • Reply Clare Speer June 22, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks for your wisdom and sharing this – this is a word which many, many women need!
    Clare Speer recently posted…LoyaltyMy Profile

  • Reply Dani June 22, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Such strength and grace here, Melanie.

    Thank you for raising your voice.

    May we all have ears to hear and hearts to provide a safe place to fall for those who suffer.

    With blessings,
    Dani recently posted…To Grieving Fathers on Father’s DayMy Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com June 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Dani, I’ve gotten my voice back. It was silenced for many years. I want to use it loud and long to help others. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. <3

  • Reply Shann Eva June 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you for being so brave and honest with your post. I know many women need to read it, and it will help countless others.
    Shann Eva recently posted…Micro Preemie Monday and AveryMy Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com June 23, 2015 at 2:19 pm

      Shanna, that’s my hope and prayer…that my words and my experience can help and encourage others and bring awareness. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  • Reply katie June 22, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    This is such a great topic to bring awareness to – especially since not all scars are visible, and it’s really important to remember that!

    xo katie // a touch of teal
    katie recently posted…Favorite Floral NumberMy Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com June 23, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Katie, that’s so very true. Many scars are on the inside, well-hidden, but still so painful.

  • Reply Irene June 23, 2015 at 11:19 am

    We are so proud of what you have come through. You have overcome so much and are helping so many. Stay strong.

  • Reply Rebecca from Hip Homeschooling June 25, 2015 at 1:08 am

    It is not always easy to speak out, but I know you will be touching and speaking to others. Even if it is just that ONE person… it is so worth it. Thank you for speaking out and sharing your story and linking up at Favorite things Friday this week! Hope to see you again!
    Rebecca from Hip Homeschooling recently posted…Make a Fishing Game and Learn About MagnetsMy Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com June 25, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Rebecca, that’s my ministry: even if I help one woman, one man, one teenager, that’s worth it. I hope I can offer hope, resources, and support too. 🙂 I’ll definitely be back!

  • Reply Lolette Stephenson July 5, 2015 at 7:30 am

    I could write a book on the subject of your post !! I can see my former self in your words. That husband passed away and God has blessed me tremendously with a loving, caring husband. That previous life seems like just a bad dream.

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com July 5, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      I’m sorry, Lolette, you had a painful past. I’m so thankful God has blessed you with a new husband!

  • Reply Lolette Stephenson July 5, 2015 at 7:58 am

    You summed up my previous marriage in your post. That husband passed away and God blessed me tremendously with a loving, caring husband. The previous marriage seems like a bad dream, and then I woke up.
    Lolette Stephenson recently posted…NaBloPoMo July 2, 2015My Profile

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com July 5, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Thank you for connecting, Lolette. I’m happy for you that the painful parts are a distant dream. It’s good to be awake and happy!

  • Reply Charlotte February 18, 2016 at 8:58 am

    This is truly eye opening! Thank you for you honest words. Sending you love x

  • Reply hasty February 18, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Seems I have lived a life time of this and never understood it until I realized I deserved better. Thank you for writing this.

  • Reply Denise February 18, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    My sister’s first husband was mentally and emotionally abusive. I remember her saying that she kept waiting for him to hit her so she had a “real” reason to leave. Luckily, she never lost the ties to her family (no matter how hard he tried to sever them) and left him. Thank you for writing this for all the other women who need to know what they are experiencing is not normal and so they know they aren’t alone. And, thanks for linking up with #Throwback Thursday! 🙂

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com February 22, 2016 at 8:57 am

      I’m so glad your sister is safe, Denise. Often the emotional and verbal abuse escalate to the physical. I was the same as she was, thinking it wasn’t legitimate abuse. God rescued me out of that and I am thankful.

  • Reply Corina February 18, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    This sounds very familiar to me. For years I didn’t choose to face it but in the last three or four years that I was married, it became more and more hurtful; more and more often; meaner and meaner. That was enough.

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com February 22, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Corina, I’m thankful you were able to see that and get out before it got very dangerous. <3

  • Reply MommyMuddling February 19, 2016 at 10:09 am

    “They want you under their power so you won’t leave, so you’re weak, so they can manipulate you at their whim.” These words say it all. Been there, under their power, and it was the worst place I’ve ever been. So grateful to not be there anymore. Thank you for speaking out and loud about something that is so important and so often brushed over!

    • Reply melaniespickett@gmail.com February 22, 2016 at 8:55 am

      I’m so grateful you’re not there any more either! It’s my mission to continue to speak out so people are aware and so those “in it” will feel they can get help.

  • Reply alison February 21, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Thank you for writing on this important topic. Pinned!

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