Capturing life in words…
I would like you to pause, and take a minute to educate yourself on something affecting one in four people today. “Emotional Manipulation”, also known as emotional abuse or maltreatment. It is a form of domestic violence. It affects all income levels, religions, ethnicities, genders, education levels and ages. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent)
Emotional abuse does not even need to be in our home to negatively affect your life and loved ones. I am divorced. I have two children by John. Even though our marriage didn’t work, we both put aside (with time) our differences. We actually became friends. With wisdom, we realized our relationship should have stayed at the friendship level.
We got along after the divorce until he married a borderline personality disorder. (This is in no way meant to indicate this diagnosis is dangerous). Then all went to hell. He slowly was seduced, manipulated and in the end, eventually threatened to act a certain way or face extremely painful consequences from his wife. This is the pattern for controlling, abusive people. It’s starts out subtle, and in increments you do not notice, the noose is slowly lowered over your neck.
The abused is isolated and kept in place by emotional manipulation, threats, financial restraints, lack of access to transportation, verbal maltreatment and even sexual abuse, in some cases.
My ex husband for six years could not have a conversation with me unless his wife (let’s call her Shamu, as her presence was like a Killer Whale– physically large, yet able to “swim friendly” when it benefitted her.) Otherwise, as long as she maintained control, she was calm. Yet once. She perceived any loss of control (real or imagined), she became vicious .
Eventually, her existence was clearly fatal to all involved outside the marriage of John and Shamu.
His brother. Charles and I were becoming increasingly concerned for John’s welfare and how this was affecting our children.
The school system began to document, unknown to me at the time, the behavior outbursts of our son with Asperger’s. A very clear pattern emerged– Josiah was only acting out on the Fridays before visitation and the Mondays after. He would also wet the bed the night before going to daddy and Shamu’s house. He would feign illness and beg me not to send him.
My daughter was manipulated. As long as she played with her step-sister during visitations, thus allowing Shamu to smoke and talk on the phone all day, she was treated kindly and given gifts. If my daughter made Shamu mad, my daughter was completely ignored, as the step-mom doted on her toddler. On those weekends, my daughter would tell me through sobs her step-sister, Rose, was loved more. Emotional abuse is far reaching.
I spoke with doctors, therapists, attorneys, even DCS– all said emotional abuse by Shamu was hard to prove and to work with John, well, Shamu would not let me talk to John. There were some rare occasions I was able to speak privately with him… But it was too late. She had turned John against me and his depression was so severe he was incapacitated.
I cannot tell you the heartache and tears I experienced as a mother as I took my children to therapy and had to drug one of my children so he could manage. It was a nightmare
When any child, with special needs or not, begins to act out it
is often a symptom of something else, such as their home environment
It was only when John became suicidal and Charles was able to convince him to get help did the chains begin to fall from all. John is taking steps now to rebuild a healthy life. Also, my son no longer is medicated, anxious and avoiding his father.
John is a lucky one– not everyone survives abuse. It will take some time, but the road before him is no longer traveled with a noose around his neck. John was very lucky. He distrusted me, but listened to Charles. Also, Charles was able to immediately provide alternative housing and subsidize his financial needs. There are local resources to provide food and housing
If you, or someone you know is being abused, please seek assistance immediately. Click here for information and help within the United States.
NO ONE SHOULD BE ABUSED. REMEMBER IT CAN AFFECT AND HURT THOSE YOU LOVE, AND WHO LOVE YOU.
Do not try to leave an abusive relationship until you have established a safety plan with the help of calling a domestic violence shelter, a therapist, or law enforcement. When an Abuser realizes they are losing control when a survivor tries to leave, they become angry. A safety plan allows one to leave safely.
I dedicate this to all survivors of domestic violence and abuse.