‘I’m leaving for the wedding ceremony by 10:30 whether you are ready or not!’ I entered the kitchen and announced.
”Olami, try, ‘Baby, I want us to leave the house by 10:30, so we are not late.’ How about that?”
She noticed I didn’t say anything. She smiled and continued.
‘It doesn’t have to be coded in threat or anger for me to be ready. It can be said nicely and it will still have effect.’
‘Please I want us to be ready by 10:30 and we are running late already.’
‘Better. That’s why I love you.’
Emotional abuse can creep on you slowly without you noticing. It is so subtle you could mistake it as a sign that your partner loves you. Because they package the abuse in coats of love and care you are so blinded you cannot figure. It’s so not easily noticeable when it starts. And if not nipped in the bud, you could become a game for another’s controlling habits.
You can be emotionally abused for a decade and not utter a word about it to a soul. You can be in an abusive relationship for years and everyone around you will believe you are fine.
Emotional abuse is cancerous. It is invasive. Once it starts, it never stops. Once condoned, it only grows.There’s a thin line between supporting your partner and encouraging abusive behaviour from your partner.
Emotional abuse can be more devastating than physical abuse. When you are physically abused, people around can see you, friends can rally round to help you even if you don’t want to help yourself. But in emotional abuse, hardly would anyone know what you’re going through, hardly would anyone notice how you are dying inside and hardly would anyone rally round to help you. The abuser displays a calm demeanour and most of the times they come across as the nicest people ever. People would almost envy you for the spouse you have and wish their partners are like yours. But only you know different.
And it gets worse.
Emotional abuse can get you to a point where you begin to justify the abuser’s actions by making excuses for them. They worked you up to a point where you conclude you are the problem. You believe you are the reason they shout at you. You believe you are the reason they snap at you. You believe you are the reason they misbehave. You are the problem in the relationship. Your self-esteem drops and your belief in yourself drops to an all-time low.
“Kenyan women who suffer abuse from their male partners often end up staying in the marriage because of community pressures to maintain the family and marital unit…” — Jessica Penwell Barnett and Eleanor Maticka-Tyndale.
There are signs of emotional abuse. You are being abused by your partner;
- If you feel afraid and threatened.
- If you are called names like fool, stupid, etc
- If you suffer public embarrassment.
- If you are yelled at and insulted.
- If you are mocked and ignored.
- If you are stripped of friends and friendships that are dear to you.
- If you’re constantly blamed for their untoward behavior.
- If you are repeatedly threatened that they will leave or abandon you.
- If use of money is completely taken away from you so you are completely dependent on them.
- If you are constantly being told you worth nothing without them.
- If your opinions or suggestions in the relationship are always disregarded and ridiculed.
- If you are constantly frightened, always afraid, when they are around you.
- If you are humiliated, put down in public.
- If you are always made to feel bad about yourself through sarcasm or disdain.
- If they push your past in your face regularly to prove you are the problem.
- If they starve you of attention and deliberately give it to others to spite you.
- If they belittle your successes and make light of the progress you have made.
- If they use the Bible to always criticize you and manipulate you.
- If they intentionally do things they know you don’t like and ignore your needs.
- If they are quick to spot your failings and draw attention to your weaknesses.
- If they use their mood swings to exploit you.
- If they are always saying, ‘If you don’t……I will….’
- If they repeatedly tell you they are being harsh on you so you can be better.
Abusive partners feel they are superior to you, they are more important than you and they matter in the scheme of things than you. It is the reason they treat you like a child and boss you around.
If you are in a relationship described above, you need to get professional help as soon as possible. Talk to someone. Of course, your abuser would have isolated you from people who could help, but you NEED to get help and counselling as soon as possible. If you are hoping the abuser would change, they only get worse and become set in their ways. Get help now!
Yes, we left home at 10:25am for the wedding ceremony