The first abusive relationship I was in started out as emotional abuse that escalated to physical abuse. When it was only emotional abuse, I would downplay it by telling myself, “At least he’s not beating me. It’s not that bad.”

When he started beating me, I knew immediately that I had been wrong. The beatings were significantly less damaging than the psychological attacks. The beatings were no joke; he hit me like he’d hit a man, choke me until I lost consciousness, dribble my head on concrete like a basketball, almost kill me.

Verbal attacks, intimidation tactics, threats of abandonment, and other crazy-making tactics are infinitely worse. This kind of abuse isn’t episodic. It’s endless, with extreme episodes.

I might have been beaten less or with less intensity if I hadn’t figured out that I could end the soul-crushing mental abuse by smirking, sighing, or rolling my eyes. Beatings have a beginning and an end. Wounds heal. Scars fade.

Being made to feel wrong, bad, stupid, ugly, unlovable, crazy, or otherwise less than doesn’t go away. More than 25 years later, I still doubt myself; I still have to remind myself that I’m not what he constantly told me I am.

The physical stuff doesn’t cross my mind. If it does, it’s just an unemotional string of facts. I'm just speaking for myself from my personal experience. Your experience may differ.

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Thank you for sharing your experience and I'm sorry you went through that. It is unfortunately so true that emotional abuse often does eventually escalate into physical violence and I wish more people were aware of this. Unfortunately too many abuse apologists who minimize emotional abuse will try to bury this fact. I have a similar experience with the lasting impact of emotional abuse - even though I'm doing a lot better than I was before, I can still clearly remember the abusive things he said to me and also have to remind myself how untrue they were and how I deserved to be treated better than that.

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You certainly do!

BTW, this is a great publication! I appreciate what you are putting out there.

Keep up the good work!!

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