*** 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.

invisible abuse – how they get away with it

Are “nice” guys really covert narcissists?

how a narcissist treats their spouse

The exhausted woman-eight mental abuse tactics narcissists use on their spouses

6 thoughts on “STICKS AND STONES

  1. luciddream85 says:

    Having been in a physically and verbally abusive relationship (with the same guy), I can honestly say that the physical aspect of it fades over time. I remember some of the things that he did to me, but not all of them. Not anymore. The bruises have healed, seven years has gone by, life has moved on.

    But the verbal abuse? I remember it every day. When I look in the mirror I hear his words about how I’m not skinny enough, how I have ‘potential’ to be pretty. I’m a lazy, good for nothing, waste of space. Oh, and the tooth that he punched out of the front of my head? “Don’t smile anymore because you look ridiculous.” I can’t remember why he hit me int he face, but now when I smile, my hand automatically covers my mouth.

    And everyone thought he was so perfect, such a great guy. Sure he is. To everyone else. To the person he’s supposed to love? Pfffttt. Forget it.


    • chely5150 says:

      Thank- you for sharing your thoughts – I’m so sorry that you were subjected to both physical and emotional abuse. ANY type of abuse is awful. It’s can be a lonely place behind the closed doors. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on how the different types of abuse have affected you , even though time has gone by. People really don’t “get” the effect verbal/emotional abuse has on a person. No blood, no injuries-it’s just not so. I’m glad you are no longer in that relationship, did you have children together? which would sadly mean some contact? May I ask who made decision to end your relationship? Thanks again for sharing your thoughts- you are always welcome here!! chely

      Liked by 1 person

      • luciddream85 says:

        We didn’t have children together, thank goodness. It ended because he cheated on me and threw me and my daughter out of the house. He married the woman and they are still married to this day. She pops pills and parties, and leaves him at home with their children. He lost the security and the worship that I gave him, and traded it all for someone that was skinny. I was just simply too fat for him. Even after 3 years and all of the weight loss – it was never enough. In the end, he regretted his choices, but it was too late.


      • chely5150 says:

        Yes sometimes when they finally open their eyes, it’s too little too late. Well if your weight was what he was basing the happiness he needed from your marriage on, then he had his eyes closed to what a real relationship can be. And I am glad you are not subjected to that anymore. However it comes to a close is never easy. I was married before this for almost ten years (didn’t have kids some how we could never get preg.) He wasn’t abusive but after our divorce people would tell me what a letch he was. Feeling up my friends boobs, propositioning them, and not a single person told me. It sadden me that they didn’t tell me and embaressed me that he would be like that with our friends. That was worse than just deciding it was over. Yes I got the fortunate side effect of the weight loss with no effort whatso ever- just the heartbreak of infidelity. So I’ve made damn sure I’m not gaining it back – changed my eating and exercise habits back to the old me before the abuse started. And I finally threw out all clothes too big – didn’t keep a one -never going back. I’ll have to say that my husband (even when at my heaviest size 16) he never (outwardly) criticized me about my weight, so i’ll give credit where it is due. How are you doing these days? Are you in a new relationship? or is the lingering effects of abuse still causing you problems? I do regret that my boys grew up in a messed up home. I mean there was/is love it’s not like a third world country but it wasn’t what I had hoped for them to be raised in. But it could of been worse too. I try to only worry bout future at this point. The past is the past. Hope your future looks bright for you! chely


  2. chely5150 says:

    Thank-you, I thought they were too. It is so tough when no one understands that hasn’t walked in these shoes, all of the articles were able to say and describe so much better than I ever have been able to. I had told another counselor once I wish he would just hit me – she replied he does everyday with his words. It’s awful to “want” physical abuse just so others will believe you. I don’t feel like that now because I understand better why they can’t see without filters. I hate to say it but the only ones who understand better than anyone are my sons. They have lived it too. I could stand up for myself (i thought) but when your just a child how to stand up against a parent, they sometimes look at me and ask “Mom what the fuck is wrong with him” ? I knew but how do you tell them. Again thanks i enjoy reading your blog and again bigs hugs for the Liebster, I am honored ( albeit slow at getting that post completed). I’ll get that link fixed i’m at the park with the dog right now.😊


  3. Bugsmetwo says:

    Great articles (the last one I get error 404) . Just what I needed to read today. Thank you. I do wish I had someone to help me through my ordeal with my husband though. I have no one and I know I cannot do it alone.

    When I was a child and being bullied by the neighborhood kids for what I now know as no good reason, my mom told me to say to them ” sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”. The kids then picked up sticks and stones and started throwing them at me. Nice!

    I will never understand mean people at all, I’m proud to say.


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