I was a victim of domestic abuse ‘but he never hit me’. I ran across this statement today and it impossible for me to count how many times I have said that very statement.
When I was married I really was not aware my marriage was one of control, manipulation, power and domination. The household rules were not equal or fair.
“I was in a domestic abuse relationship, but he never hit me.” I have said this statement more times then I care to count. However, to this day I still have the internal scars.
What bothers me so much about that statement is I am basically minimizing everything else that happened by saying ‘but he never hit me’.
It was ‘our house’ if he was happy with me, otherwise it was ‘his house’ that I was living in. It was ‘my car’ when he was not angry and ‘the car he bought for me’ when he was mad. If I complained about his coming home late, he would say I was ‘ungrateful’ or ‘unappreciative’.
The ‘unspoken rules’ were some of the worst. The rules that were never directly stated but you knew they were there based on previous arguments or fights on that topic. For example, I was not allowed to change the sprinkler system settings and he would get so mad at me every-time I did. He also use to say I could plant whatever I wanted in the back-yard but not in the front-yard. Well, I had a problem with that rule because it was my house too. One of my healthy outlets became gardening and sometimes I would have to adjust the sprinkler to catch the new areas. He always blew up.
I will admit that there were times that I wished he would go ahead and hit me. For some reason I had given myself permission to leave him if he ever hit me. This meant I was giving him permission to do anything but physically hit me. Maybe it is because society paints a picture of domestic abuse as physical. I tell you, the verbal abuse has left deep emotional scars that I am having a harder time getting over. Plus, there was no legal recourse for verbal/emotional abuse.
Maybe it is because they can’t prove emotional abuse without the bruise or broken arm. The verbal abuse made me physically sick with other symptoms, such as; stomach aches, digestive problems, anxiety, migraines and depression. In reality all of those symptoms could easily be explained away by calling them stress or attributed to diet.
When I went to the doctor they would say I was stressed and give me pills for depression. Maybe that would help for a little while because the pills would temporarily help mask the symptom. I also think my abusive ex-husband was a little nicer when I didn’t feel well.
I actually remember taking a vacation when my daughter was about 3 months old and my abusive ex-husband did not come with us. I felt much better during the week I was gone. When I returned home I started feeling worse again. So then I started questioning if I was allergic to something in the house. Of course, I was thinking mold or dust or something. I certainly never guessed it was the Spore sitting on our couch.
There are times I wonder to this very day how many people out there that have chronic illnesses if they really have that or if they too might be living with a verbal abuser.
It really was not until I was already divorce and dealing with the affects of his constant verbal attacks through email that eventually drove me to a Domestic Abuse Center. I also remember being extremely alarmed as the woman described my life as if she had lived in my house. One thing I realized is my abusive ex-husband is not very special and was simple a Classic Domestic Abuser.
In the book Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bandcroft he describes how alike they all are. He said something to the effect of, “It is like they all graduated from the same school of abuse.”
- But He Never Hit Me – The Devastating Costs of Non-Physical Abuse to Girls and Women
- No Visible Wounds: Identifying Non-Physical Abuse of Women by their Men
- Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men