Here’s what Lillie*, one of our survivors, shared in her own words about emotional abuse:
I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to Women In Distress. I was there for a short time. You are a blessing to all. While there, I learned that verbal abuse is as painful as physical abuse. I didn’t even know that words were considered abuse. The words were hurtful and after years of being abused verbally, I lost my self-confidence, self-esteem and myself.
After many meetings, counseling and support at Women In Distress, I found that I am not alone and I am not the things I was always told I am. I learned I was in denial. I kept getting in the same relationships, and I stayed because it was familiar and I believed it could change after time. But I came to understand the only change would have to occur with me. It has, and I have. Many of us think there is no way out. I am an example that there is.
I am continuing my journey of learning about myself. I have a home, a car and a job. I am safe. I stay away from “red flag” people, and if a negative word or “less than” comment is made towards me, I walk away. I am now attracted to positive words and people, it gives me strength and builds my self-esteem.
If it happened to me, it can happen to you. It’s a journey of healing. Find gratitude. Give yourself a break and have faith. You are loved and deserving. Thank you.
*In an effort to protect the privacy of our participants, names have been changed and stock images used.
Just like Lillie, many people don’t recognize that abuse is a pattern of controlling behavior. Controlling behavior can happen with or without physical abuse. Domestic violence abuse includes things like verbal insults, monitoring whereabouts, withholding affection, threats, humiliation, blame, controlling a victim’s appearance and much more.
Among domestic violence abuse survivors:
- 87% say that their abuser insulted their family and friends
- 62% say that their abuser made them do something humiliating
- 93% experienced economic abuse where the abuser prevented them from working, harassed them at work, and/or ruined their credit score
- 31% were pressured to quit their job
When people hear the words “domestic violence,” they more than likely think of physical abuse marked by bruises, cuts, broken bones, etc. Yet emotional abuse is just as hurtful. For survivors like Lillie, being able to access critical, life-saving programs and services like emergency safe shelter, counseling and therapy, career counseling, and other services at no cost is the difference between living a life in fear, and starting a new life of hope and second chances.
Your support helps survivors heal from the pain of emotional and verbal abuse, and learn how to identify red flags in future relationships so they can break the cycle of domestic violence.