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Author Topic:   Survivors of Non-Physical Abuse
kythryne
Advocate

Posts: 1685
From: New York City
Registered: Oct 2001

posted 03-05-2002 03:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kythryne     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Remember the old saying "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me"? Well, folks, that just ain't true.

When the word "abuse" is mentioned, it's frequently assumed that the abuse was physical in nature: being hit or kicked, being sexually assualted, being thrown across the room or onto the floor.

But there's another kind of abuse that's actually more common than physical abuse: emotional and/or verbal abuse. It can take many forms, and it often goes unnoticed. Physical injuries such as a bruise or broken bone are easily seen, but the wounds left by words and emotions are far harder to see. It can also be much harder for victims of emotional abuse to get help, as it's often only their word against that of their abuser.

Verbal and emotional abuse can take many forms. Here are some examples:

* Putting someone down
* Making someone feel bad about him/herself
* Making someone think he/she's crazy
* Playing mind games
* Humiliating someone
* Preventing someone from getting or keeping a job
* Controlling others through coercion and threats
* Controlling what a partner does, who he/she sees and talks to, what he/she reads and where he/she goes
* Limiting a partner's outside involvement
* Saying the abuse didn't happen
* Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior
* Saying, "He/she caused it."

Here are two excellent articles, from the website of a domestic violence program that I used to work with:

Emotional Abuse
Verbal Abuse

This topic will be a safe space to discuss emotional abuse. Share your stories, ask for help, or bring resources and information.

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Kythryne Aisling
Scarleteen Advocate

"The only unnatural sexual act is that which you cannot perform."
-- Alfred Kinsey

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the1andonly
Neophyte

Posts: 23
From: Erie, PA
Registered: Aug 2001

posted 03-05-2002 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for the1andonly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi. I suppose your right about the assumption that abuse is phyiscal. My friend's dad mentally abuses her. I mean he belittles her so much and makes her feel like she is nothing, and stupid. It is sad, and hurts me to see her hurt. Got any suggestions how to fix this abuse?

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CrisE
Love me for me

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kythryne
Advocate

Posts: 1685
From: New York City
Registered: Oct 2001

posted 03-05-2002 07:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kythryne     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, you could start by making sure your friend knows that she doesn't need to believe the things he's telling her. And see if you can get her to talk to some trusted adult -- is there anyone else in her family who could help? Maybe a teacher or school councilor?

Depending on the situation, she might also be able to sit down with her dad and tell him how hurt she is by the things he's saying. Some people do things like that, thinking it's funny, and don't realize they're being hurtful. Without being there to see what's going on, none of us can really tell you what the best option is. That's why I say it would be a good idea for her to talk to some other relative or another adult she knows.

Kyth

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Kythryne Aisling
Scarleteen Advocate

"The only unnatural sexual act is that which you cannot perform."
-- Alfred Kinsey

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Dude_who_writes
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Posts: 673
From: Michigan, US
Registered: Oct 2001

posted 03-13-2002 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dude_who_writes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Big survivor of mental and emotional abuse, right here!

It's come mainly from my mother, whom I still live with. She just has this way to totally cut you down in any given situation, simply because she's irritated. Even if it's not you who's irritated her. I love my mother very, very much, but she just has this ability... to cut me, deeply.

I've been able to cope pretty well with the issue, and I think I'm one of the lucky ones: I see many people whom I love dearly suffer from emotional and mental abuse and it effects their relationships and daily life in such a deep way. For the most part, even though some will disagree with me (that'd be you, ookuotoe), I think I'm an emotionally stable person, and that's inspite of my abuse.

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Tim

"Conversation, like certain other portions of anatomy, works best when lubricated." -- the Marquis de Sade (Quills)

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PoohBear84
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Posts: 91
From: New York
Registered: Jan 2002

posted 03-14-2002 08:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PoohBear84     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been mentally abused since i was little, i never really understood what it really was until this year, but it's caused me a lot of pain, anguish, and self loathing. It's pretty horrible, but in the long run i feel that it has made me a stronger person.

It happened at school, starting when i was little, i was always the odd ball out, and nothing ever came easily, but because of this, it has given me the will power to never stop to try and achieve my goals, to learn as much as i can, and to stand up for myself.

So if any of you are getting mentally abused, tell someone, or try to stand up for youself. Try to talk to someone about it and find the best way for you to cope with this abuse, but i strongly believe in the idea of: if it doesn't kill you it just makes you stronger.

So go on live your life, and enjoy it.

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~*Katie*~

Be yourself, because then no one can ever tell you that you are doing it wrong

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towel42
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Posts: 256
From: Illinois
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 03-24-2002 02:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for towel42     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My best friend has suffered from her mother's mental abuse all her life. Her father died when she was very young, so its always been her, her mother, and her older brother. Her mother really doesn't love her, and I can honestly say that, and thats what hurts my friend so much. She DOES love her mother, no matter how many times she says she hates her, and thats I think what makes her most depressed. If you just met this girl, my friend, socially, you'd think she was great, charming, upbeat, etc. But once you get to know her...you can see she's so *angry* all the time. She doesn't think of herself as a good person. One time she got drunk in front of me and was crying and going on and on about how she hates herself and how she's a bad person. She didn't remember any of it the next morning, or at least she acted like she didn't, and I wasn't about to tell her what she'd been saying. I try to be there for her, I really do, but I feel so damn helpless.

I try to avoid going to her house, but every time I do she manages to get into some HUGE fight with her mother over something completely meaningless. Its ridiculous to watch, they know how to push eachothers buttons and I swear they must love the drama, cause I don't see any other reason why they would get into such fights. Its always the mother going "You're an ungreatful little b*tch!" and my friend replying "F*ck you mom, F*CK YOU! You're a horrible mother! I hate you!"...this comes two minutes after my friend asks her mom if she could have some of her lunch money in advance so she could get something from Walgreens. Then her older brother comes rushing in like a hero, "I don't have to listen to this!", pushes my friend into her room. Its stupid, because he always fought with his mother in the exact same way, now he just lives in the basement and smokes a lot of pot.

So then, of course, my friend is upset, I try to comfort her, every single time. She's just "I can't stand these people, I hate them, they hate me, you don't know what its like to have the person who CREATED you hate you." I try to comfort her, but what can I say? And she cuts herself, not seriously, because I know what serious self-cutting is, but every few months there will be a bunch of light cuts all over her wrists. She shrugs it off, they heal, she'll say she isn't cutting herself anymore, then a few months later, there are the cuts again. Her mom sees them, too, but she's really resistant to letting her daughter get therapy of any sort. My friend's even said that she wants therapy, but she "knows it'd be pointless cause I wouldn't listen to the therapist anyway, I don't trust them, I'd just screw with them". I'm almost positive she has Borderline disorder, not to sound like some pop-psychologist but I've taken a psychology class before and the Borderline description in the textbook sounded like someone talking about my friend, with barely any exceptions (except one or two things).

I just...feel helpless. I do everything I can, I talk to her, I try to comfort her, she's always at my house, I don't shut her out or anything, I try to give advice. But nothing helps, its always the same sh*t just a different day. I just don't want her to become her brother, an abusive alcoholic pothead living in the basement, because I know she's so much better and smarter than that.

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"We are different kids with the same heartbeat/we got one pulse running through the streets/they are our arteries/I am part of this." -The Distillers-

"I'm alright, I'm gonna make it, even if I gotta fake it..." -Sugarcult-

"If I wanted to drink my own piss, I'd pee in a cup!" -a friend on MGD beer.

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towel42
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Posts: 256
From: Illinois
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 03-24-2002 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for towel42     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
*blinks* WOW, that was long. Sorry about that. Guess I was just looking for the excuse to ramble.

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"We are different kids with the same heartbeat/we got one pulse running through the streets/they are our arteries/I am part of this." -The Distillers-

"I'm alright, I'm gonna make it, even if I gotta fake it..." -Sugarcult-

"If I wanted to drink my own piss, I'd pee in a cup!" -a friend on MGD beer.

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Slayer_gurl
Advocate

Posts: 812
From: The hellmouth(i.e. Ireland)
Registered: Nov 2001

posted 03-24-2002 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Slayer_gurl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was pretty much emotinally abusd all the way trough school. What they did to me, can't really be defind as bullying, but I left school every day feeling like a piece of crap, unwanted, weird, different, abnormal, freaky. I was called fat, and a geek, and told that I was a boy, and my voice was mocked because it wasn't high pitched like all the other girls voices. I was mentally abused all the way trhough primary schoool, and some of my friends used to mess around with me and they didn't realise that I thought they were serious when they called me names when they were joking. I became anorexic, suicidal, I'm a complete attention seeker, I used to play games and I just hated myself so much that I wanted to make people see me and take notice and take care of me. And I just went a bit psycho really.

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PoetgirlNY
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Posts: 1101
From: San Francisco
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 03-24-2002 06:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PoetgirlNY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Towel, your friend's home situation sounds eerily identical to how my home situation used to be.

The solution I've found for myself is to just separate myself from my home. Just realizing, that I shouldn't listen to my parents when they say things that used to make me hate myself. I no longer bother talking to them about anything that might anger them unless it's absolutely necessary. I do a lot of extracurricular activities, and hang out with my friends a lot, so I hardly end up seeing my parents anyway.

What's been helpful for me in terms of depression too, is just to concentrate on the future. Just thinking, "X years, and X months until I'm out of here." Without even being miserable since I've started doing this, I'm now down to three months left. I try to be happy in my life, and not worry about my relationship with my parents. For me, concentrating on the good stuff (friends, hobbies, goals, the future) made all the difference.

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"I'll be a Venus on a chocolate clamshell rising on a sea of marshmallow foam."
-Hedwig

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towel42
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Posts: 256
From: Illinois
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 03-24-2002 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for towel42     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by PoetgirlNY:
Towel, your friend's home situation sounds eerily identical to how my home situation used to be.

The solution I've found for myself is to just separate myself from my home. Just realizing, that I shouldn't listen to my parents when they say things that used to make me hate myself. I no longer bother talking to them about anything that might anger them unless it's absolutely necessary. I do a lot of extracurricular activities, and hang out with my friends a lot, so I hardly end up seeing my parents anyway.

What's been helpful for me in terms of depression too, is just to concentrate on the future. Just thinking, "X years, and X months until I'm out of here." Without even being miserable since I've started doing this, I'm now down to three months left. I try to be happy in my life, and not worry about my relationship with my parents. For me, concentrating on the good stuff (friends, hobbies, goals, the future) made all the difference.



Thats what I try to tell my friend. I'm like, "I know things suck now, and there's nothing you can do about that, but getting into pointless arguments with your mom isn't gonna help anything. You'll be 18 in a year and then you won't have to deal with any of it anymore". And she always says she knows that, and that she's not going to get into so many fights, etc etc, but nothing ever changes. *le sigh* And she's always so miserable and I just don't know what to do.

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"We are different kids with the same heartbeat/we got one pulse running through the streets/they are our arteries/I am part of this." -The Distillers-

"I'm alright, I'm gonna make it, even if I gotta fake it..." -Sugarcult-

"If I wanted to drink my own piss, I'd pee in a cup!" -a friend on MGD beer.

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lookin4luv
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Posts: 26
From: Bronx, New York, USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 04-01-2002 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lookin4luv     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
my brother emotionally abuses me...even when i was in pre kindergarden. i came home happy that i learned something new...i learned that the sun was a star and i was soooooo happy. i always looked up 2 my brother when i was young so i went 2 tell him. he didnt say "good for you" or even a "whatever", he said that everyone always knows that when they're born, but i didnt so that meant that i was retarded and stupid. i was 2 young to understand that he was just trying to make me feel bad; so i believed him. it's not just that. he's been dooing this 2 me all my life and it really hurts. my parents say not 2 let it hurt me but that's not as easy as it sounds. :'(

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mirikat
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Posts: 3
From: Boston area, MA, USA
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 04-21-2002 09:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mirikat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was in a relationship a few years ag that was abusive. She tried to control my life: tell me who I should be friends with, what classes I should take, etc. She tried to make me think that she was the only person who cared about me. She also used me as bait to get guys(I'm younger and prettier than her), who often behaved in rather disgusting ways towards me. However, since we were both girls and she never physically abused me, I didn't recognize it as abuse. I finally got out but haven't really been able to talk about it much. I haven't even talked about it with my therapist. I'm trying to raise people's awareness about abuse, letting them know that it can happen in same-sex relationships and that it can mess you up even if it's not physical.

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~mirikat

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kythryne
Advocate

Posts: 1685
From: New York City
Registered: Oct 2001

posted 04-21-2002 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kythryne     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Miricat, that's a very excellent point to bring up. I don't have the statistics in front of me, but if I remember correctly, a very high percentage of abuse in GLBT relationships goes unreported -- and often, unnoticed by friends and families because it tends to be emotional rather than physical abuse. I'll see if I can dig up any hard data about that.

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Kythryne Aisling
Scarleteen Sexpert

"The only unnatural sexual act is that which you cannot perform."
-- Alfred Kinsey

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badly_behaved_badger
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Posts: 388
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 04-22-2002 11:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for badly_behaved_badger     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I've had a lot of labels put on me through my life...It's not always verbal. The things people write about me on toilet doors are shocking! '---- has no tits' is one of them - I mean, how pathetic can it get? But some of it has been very hurtful especially at my last school. Unfortunately, non-physical abuse can lead to physical abuse too. People are always shouting 'lesbian' at me. Just coz I don't like people using the word 'poof' and 'gay' as a term of abuse. It doesn't mean I'm a lesbian. Anyway, I try to ignore the verbal stuff. *lotsa hugs from da bajjah*

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kythryne
Advocate

Posts: 1685
From: New York City
Registered: Oct 2001

posted 09-27-2002 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kythryne     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Back up to the topc.

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Celtic Daisy
Advocate

Posts: 1747
From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 09-27-2002 06:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Celtic Daisy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Recently, there's been a particular grade 10 girl at my school who was suffering with a lot of abuse. She shaves part of her and has piercings, etc, and a lot of people were calling her a 'dyke' and being rude to her in the halls, and she was going through a lot of abuse. Today, me and a couple of other people, a teacher included, were going to find out who the girl was to try and help her out, and get the people who were harrassing her, but we found out she transfered schools yesterday. It's really sad how easy it is to hurt someone so much.

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'You've got the eyes of ten women. Not in a jar! I wasn't accusing you. I just mean your eyes are really nice'-coupling

Erin Jane
~Scarleteen Advocate~

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WinterMoon
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Posts: 28
From: Australia
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 09-28-2002 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WinterMoon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For the last ten years, since I was nine years old, and particularly in the last seven years since my mother died of cancer, I have suffered emotional abuse fromy my aunt, my mothers older sister.

My aunt feels that it's her duty to stop me doing what my mother did (getting pregnanat at 19, bringing shame upon the family, giving a son up for adoption, etc), and she sees me as the loose cannon of the family, much in the same way my mother was.

I regularly get called useless, fat, stupid and pathetic by her, and the worst insult of all is "You're turning out just like your mother." (Not that I don't love my mother, I do, and the best thing you can tell me is that I remind you of my mother, but my aunt uses this is a negative way, because she resents the way my mother's pregnancy caused the family to become less important and respected in their small town.)

One of the worst occasions came on Easter Sunday this year, when my younger sister was talking about her compulsory work internship application, and she said she wanted to do her internship in hospitality.
I asked her what area of hospitality, as there's food preparation, food service, hotel management, hotel housekeeping, bar service, etc.
And my aunt says "Oh, listen to Erin, she'd know so much about this, considering how many jobs she's had," in the most sarcastic way.
(I've never had a part-time job, I've always been looking after my sister since my Mum died)
I explained to her how the last 12 months of my life thus far had been very stressful, with my final year of school, my Dad working interstate, the financial collapse of the company he was working for, my sister cutting herself and running away, etc, and that I was taking a well-earned break from school, work and responsibilty, to regroup and prevent myself from having a mental crash.
She then says "Erin, how long do you need to get over it? It's been six months. And you could have worked harder in year 12, you've made us all ashamed of you."

Well, that really ruined my already bad Easter.
I was so angry with her, and with myself for letting myself get so annoyed at her words.

She always had little digs at me, she doesn't like the way I dress, it reminds her too much of my mother, she doesn't like the way I physically look, it reminds her too much of my mother.
Personally, I love looking like my mother, she's the greatest influence on my life without actually being in it. But I digress.

I know that her needling and hassling me is just her way of trying to help me do the right thing, but I wish she'd let my do my right thing, not hers. She's never made a mistake in her life, and I want to make mistakes. I want to live an exciting life, and I know she's trying to protect me from the world, but I don't need her protection.
I learned that the world was an unfair, horrible place when my Mum died, and have had to fill Mum's role since then.

Now I'm of an age where I no longer have to see her against my will. I can cut myself free of her abuse, but the sad thing is, at Christmas and Easter, I will have to see her, and until the day she dies, I'll know that she's out there resenting my mother and projecting that onto me.
I'll never truly be free of it...even now, living a thousand miles away from her (though I am moving back to my home city, where she also lives, in three days), whenever her name comes up in conversation, I get tense and strung out.
I guess even when she's died, I still won't be able to get away from the cloud she's cast over me.
Ahh, sorry for rambling. I hope someone can pick the important points out of this...

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Mayor Quimby: Congratulations Ned, you are our new town crier. May your shrill, nasal voice ring throughout our streets and brains.
Ned Flanders: Thankily-dank, Mayor, I shan't disappoint. Har ye, har ye! I declare myself pinkled tink about Springfield's Bicen-cidilly-ti-ten-toodly-rin-tin-tennial Day!
Homer: You suck-diddily-uck, Flanders! Gimme that!
[Grabs the bell from him]
Homer: Hear ye! Hear ye! Ye olde town crier proclaimed crappy by all! Chooseth Homer Simpson, and he shalt rock thy world!
Chief Wiggum: Good God, he is fabulous!
Principal Skinner: He's embiggened that role with that cromulent performance!

--Erin--

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Sticky_60
Neophyte

Posts: 7
From: Florida
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 10-20-2002 04:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sticky_60     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Erin i think a sexpert like miz scarlet or kythryne should take this one...for im just an insomnia...that has no life..

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Milke
Activist

Posts: 5122
From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 10-20-2002 04:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Milke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually we encourage any and all users who believe they've something to share to become involved in threads like this. It's in a public section of the boards, and if you think you've got anything to add, we'd be happy to hear it.

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Milke, SSBD

Show me that I'm everywhere
And get me home for tea

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Sticky_60
Neophyte

Posts: 7
From: Florida
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 10-20-2002 09:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sticky_60     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
well like i said...im just an insomnia that has no life.....

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