I was in an unhealthy relationship, but the world never told me that it was domestic violence? That’s ONLY when people get physically violent and hurt you BUT Domestic Violence can also show up in other ways too. It’s that one relationship where you scream, you yell, you cry, feel intense emotions, you are angry, terrible words get exchanged, you throw things, and then it stops. Once the emotions calm down, no one is angry anymore, it feels REAL again. The “love” is strong, the make-up sex is amazing, you exchange gifts, go on a special outing, or maybe even a vacation and it is ALL just great now… until it starts again, then again, and again, and again, and it all starts to feel so normal. This same pattern just repeats itself and you start to feel alone because no one understands…. they think you just “fight” a lot with your partner.
It wasn’t until 3 years AFTER I removed myself from that relationship when I realized, I was a victim of domestic violence. I was in an unhealthy, unstable, mentally and emotionally abusive relationship. Wow, that was even hard to type out because I had no idea.
I never really knew what a healthy relationship should look like as I never got the opportunity to see one growing up. When I got into this relationship, I was pretty young and very naive. I thought it was so cool to date an older man. I never really knew what “healthy” was, I was just in a relationship, one that looked “normal” to me, at that time.
Domestic Violence, what is it?
According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline…..“Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.”
Domestic violence includes behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.-The national domestic VIOLENCE hotline
and what does it look like?
Domestic Violence is described as Power and Control. Think of this power and control wheel as different “tactics” an abuser will use to manipulate and control their victim to keep them in the relationship. I remember being put down, called crazy, feeling insecure, isolated, and most of all felling so guilty all the time. I wanted OUT of the relationship because in my soul I knew it wasn’t right, I felt it. Every time I tried to leave, I was afraid my abuser would “kill” themselves as they would threaten me in order for me to stay.
I eventually even left the relationship for a long period of time, and then entered it again because I never got the right help to understand that I did not miss this person. I felt dependent on them emotionally and going back felt better than being alone.
I know there are SO many women who share my experience, some similarly and some very differently BUT at the end of it all we experienced domestic violence AND it is unacceptable and unfair!
Being in a relationship should NEVER look like this wheel above, and if feel like your relationship even displays ONE of these harmful tactics, please reach out for help. If you have a friend you can trust, let them know you need their help. YOU do not deserve this, YOU do not need to go through this, YOU are cared for, and YOU can get help.
Call the hotline 1-800-799-7233 and speak to someone. Maybe even just one conversation can change your life.
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