*** My actual post begins in the paragraph below. But I needed to make a quick comment about the subject of “co-dependency”. I have drawn a line in the sand on this one and stand my ground firmly. I do not like the insinuation from many articles about this that imply that ALL the problems in my marriage are caused by me. I hadn’t been so giving, so kind, doing for others before myself then I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in. Well I disagree with my entire being. Being a compassionate and caring person does not give my husband the right to be abusive to me. I have always owned that I’m not perfect, I’ve made mistakes, but that shouldn’t give him the right to receive a “get out of jail free card” simply because I am compassionate, sometimes to a fault. Just because people don’t witness the abuse (or receive physical injuries ) does not mean it did not occur. Would you tell a woman (or man) who came to you with battered and beaten and blame her for the abuse? I think not. I entered this marriage with good attitude, positive thoughts and expecting a partner who had the same goals, prepared to tackle whatever life throws at us. Not to be belittled, invalidated, gaslighted , or cheated upon to the point of feeling like I had lost my mind. So yes I take a hard line on this one folks. You may think I’m crazy, I’m co-dependent or a whole laundry list of other monikers. BUT I AM NOT AND I GET TIRED OF BEING TOLD THIS. I’m not here to win a popularity contest, I am simply finding my way through this nightmare by standing up and no longer accepting that this is ALL my fault. I didn’t make him a cheater and abuser. I also respect the right for you to have a different opinion than mine . But please don’t fault me for standing up and crying FOUL, abuse is horrid. Covert emotional abuse is underhanded, sneaky and hurts just as much as if he had broken my body. I know it is difficult to grasp, but please continue reading and take a look at the links at the bottom. They certainly explain better than I ever could. Thank-you.***
If asked to describe what covert emotional abuse looks like I am sometimes at a loss for words. Precisely because words, they are the weapons utilized by the abuser. And they are very good at using these veiled weapons.
Words are sticks and stones. And sometimes they CAN and DO hurt as much as a sharp blade or a clenched fist.
Yet I stumble in my attempts to help others see what I live with. I realize that this is important, if ever covert emotional abuse is to be understood by someone who can’t see it. I must be able to accurately describe this. The right words will give my response credibility. So as I explore the various ways to say this, I look to some of these websites and blogs I follow to assist me with terminology that best fits. It is not easy explaining emotional abuse to someone who has never experienced it.
Taken individually occurrences don’t necessarily seem so bad. However it is the cumulative effect they have on your mind (and body) that is so devastating. Then what happens is; one of these interactions between the two of you occurs. To onlookers, this appears (by itself it) fairly benign. But it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, triggered, you react. You are not reacting to this isolated incidence, you are reacting to the cumulative effect of years of just such experiences (you experience the hurt from all these events combined not just the one). And those who don’t understand think you’re going crazy over something not that big of a deal alone It is draining and it can destroy you after time. And you do feel crazy because it’s the stupid little things that push you over the edge.
To better describe how the cumulative effect takes it toll on you I will use the analogy of the shoreline, where water meets rock. Each day as the tides come and go, water splashes against rock. A single drop of water on a rock certainly cannot change in the rock. The rock is strong and the water tends to splash differently each time it approaches.
However in some places, the water approaches each time to exactly the same spot on the rock. Time after time, year after year, the water continues, relentless. As tides come to shore everyday without fail. And despite the stone being very strong, the years of that water endlessly pounding against the same spot on the rock wears it down. It takes time but without fail the rock will change. Sometimes a little or a lot. I have seen entire rock formations change in shape through the years from the waters continuous pounding. The rock is no match for the water. In that specific spot the water will win out every time.
It seeps into your soul. Changes the landscape of the rock that you are. But the water, the water seems not effected at all. And because the water can look so seemingly beautiful and innocent as it wears the rock down, others have a difficult time grasping your reality.
Oh it can’t be that bad they may say, or but you have such a good life and he is such a nice guy. And I don’t doubt that they believe that. He IS a nice guy, as long as you’re not his rock (or baby rocks) you WILL see the beauty in him. It is not surprising that onlookers only see the beauty of the ocean. Not thinking how the daily, endless tide does wear the rock away over time.
So I ask of you PLEASE, PLEASE if anyone ever comes to you and asking for your help because their partner is emotionally (& covertly) abusing them. Don’t discount what they are saying simply because you can’t see it with your eyes. They a reaching out for help because they feel unable to escape. If you are their true friend, give them the benefit of the doubt and believe them -no matter what!
I still love the ocean in all it’s wonder and glory.
But I will no longer allow the water to crash down on me, changing me.
And I do think they need to get rid of that child’s rhyme.
Because sticks and stones do hurt AND the words hurt just as much.