The greatest weapon an abuser has is isolation.
They will isolate you from your friends – or behave so badly your friends don’t want them around. They’ll keep you from resources to get help or get away. They’ll insist you only get information or opinions from them, that their point of view is the only valid one. That your friends and loves and family are all flawed and horrible. They may even be so drastic as to physically control (or remove) your ability to travel – perhaps directly by taking the car or the keys, perhaps indirectly by leaving you to care for someone else that you cannot leave.
In this isolation, the abuser is able to control your reality, to go unchallenged in an echo chamber where they are the loudest voice.
But physical isolation is not the only way they isolate you.
They convince you that you’re worthless. That nobody could care about you but them. That nobody wants you, desires you, loves you. That without them, you will be nothing. They train you to believe that you are supposed to be alone, that only your abuser can deal with being in your life.
It’s a goddamned lie.
You have value. Others can – and do – care about you.
You are not alone.
You are not alone.
If you think you may be in an abusive situation, reach out to one of the services below.
National Domestic Violence Hotline — 800-799-7233
Crisis Text Line — Text HOME to 741741
Not sure if you’re in an emotionally abusive situation? You may be experiencing emotional or verbal abuse if someone:
- Wants to know what you’re doing all the time and wants you to be in constant contact
- Demands passwords to things like your phone, email, and social media and shows other signs of digital abuse
- Acts very jealous, including constantly accusing you of cheating
- Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family
- Tries to stop you from going to work or school
- Gets angry in a way that is frightening to you
- Controls all your finances or how you spend your money
- Stops you from seeing a doctor
- Humiliates you in front of others
- Calls you insulting names (such as “stupid,” “disgusting,” “worthless,” “whore,” or “fat”)
- Threatens to hurt you, people you care about, or pets
- Threatens to call the authorities to report you for wrongdoing
- Threatens to harm himself or herself when upset with you
- Says things like, “If I can’t have you, then no one can”
- Decides things for you that you should decide (like what to wear or eat)
- Is always right and puts you down in a way that makes you doubt yourself
- “Takes over” your friendships
- Monitors where you go, who you call and who you spend time with
- Does not want you to work
- Punishes you by withholding affection or giving you the “silent treatment”
- Expects you to ask permission for all you spend or do
- Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family, or your pets
- Makes you feel controlled, isolated, intimidated, or exhausted
List compiled from DayOne Services and WomensHealth.gov.
Featured Photo by Francois Hoang on Unsplash