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Laughing ’til It Hurts: The Hidden Pain of Domestic Abuse

Laughing ’til It Hurts: The Hidden Pain of Domestic Abuse

Big ol’ belly laughs that catch you by surprise feel so good! They feel better now that feeling happy doesn’t make me sad. That idea is confusing; laughing until you cry doesn’t usually mean you cry sad tears, but it happened to me a lot during my abusive marriage. Usually, the laughing started during a phone call with my sister. Anything could get us going, and for a few beautiful minutes, nothing mattered except the funny bit between us. I laughed until my sides ached and the tears flowed like water.

But then, when the laughter dried up and I started wiping the tears from my eyes, the tears wouldn’t stop. My face, sore from smiling, suddenly dropped into a frown. I covered my face because I felt embarrassed to feel so…damn…sad. Those last tears fell because when the laughter was done, I returned to my sad, closed-off life of mind-numbing pain. Sometimes I would stay on the phone with her when she asked what was wrong. Usually I cut the conversation short when I felt the change to pain begin.

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Choose Your Own Fairy-Tale Ending to Abuse

Choose Your Own Fairy-Tale Ending to Abuse

Part 1: The Abusive Relationship and Its Fairy-tale Beginning
Part 2: The Hidden Tale of Abuse

Part 3 of Our Fairy-tale:

Previously, we left our princess and her friends confused and our knight deeply satisfied with himself. This is exactly as our knight wants it to be! He overpowered the princess and made her his newest trophy. From the outside looking in, it appears that the brave knight lives a dream: beautiful wife, beautiful home, loyal servants as friends, and the ability to take on new adventures (and lovers) without so much as a sideways glance from his wife. Our knight won his battle. He retains his glorious reputation, and that is all that matters to him.

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The Abusive Relationship And Its Fairy-Tale Beginning

The Abusive Relationship And Its Fairy-Tale Beginning

The abusive relationship begins like many others. Two people meet, make a connection, and fall in love. Their love seems beautiful to family and friends…except for one or two things that seem, well, odd…but every relationship has problems. Right? After all, there are no fairy-tales in the real world.

For ease of writing only, the victim in our story is a princess, the abuser is a knight, and the victim’s friends are the loving animals of the forest.

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Nice Conversations With Abusers Are Not So Nice

Nice Conversations With Abusers Are Not So Nice

Every conversation with your abuser tends to either give hope or take it away. Don't trust the ones that give hope - they're false. Nothing has changed.

The story I want to tell you today happened between my ex and me over two years ago when we were still together. At the time, I knew he was abusing me. I realized that there was little hope that he would change. I didn’t want to leave my marriage, but I was beginning to think there was no real marriage to leave anyway.

Looking back, I remember my internal struggle to find an elusive peace. I longed for a partner who loved me and would work with me through life’s trials and celebrate its joys. I so wanted a normal conversation, a nice conversation without the abusive junk lurking underneath the surface. I was hoping my life away.

If you see yourself in the following story, please think long and hard about whether you want to wait it out to see if your partner decides to change. Remember that the abuser finds great benefit in abusing, otherwise s/he would have changed long ago.

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Abusers and Embarrassment

Abusers and Embarrassment

Will would often tell me that I would never find another man like him. I did not stop to consider if I would want to find another guy like him because deep down, the answer was “No, I never want to know someone like you ever again.”

Instead of answering the real question, I chose to listen to him tell me why he was so great. Honestly, I agreed because when it came to work, Will was great. Will works diligently, and held two jobs in the early years. I did not worry about income. I was able to stay at home with the boys without once being asked to take a job. He willingly put up with work he hated to provide for his family.

Will wanted to be married, wanted children, wanted a family. He wanted to keep us neat and tight like collectible robots on a shelf.

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Threatening Behavior in Verbal Abuse

Threatening Behavior in Verbal Abuse

I remember crawling into my soft bed, fan blowing softly but enough that I tucked my hair behind my ear to keep it from tickling my nose. The covers were heavy, cool with a hint of Downy April Fresh; my pillow cradled my head in a mother’s embrace. I fell asleep happy with the day, quietly looking forward to his return late in the night.

The house was spotless and smelled fresh. The children were quiet in their own beds for a change. Not one sound in the whole house that shouldn’t be there. I drifted to sleep so slowly I consciously noticed the change in my breath as I fell deeper and deeper into dreams. I let myself go.

BANG! I moved so fast my brain didn’t know I was sitting.

BANG! “What?! What is it?” I said, my heart pounding in the darkness.

A shadow crossed in front of the window headed toward the other dresser. It was him. I read his body language in the split second it took for him to pass through the moonlight. He was pissed.

BANG! BANG! BANG! Three more drawers opened and slammed. “Where are my f@c&i*g socks, KELLIE?” he yelled.

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Abuse Victims Cannot Afford to Trust

Abuse Victims Cannot Afford to Trust

Amy, a 17 year old young woman, ran away from her parents’ home months ago. From one perspective, the situation could be explained as a defiant teen who doesn’t want to obey her parents’ rules. From Amy’s perspective, the explanation differs.  She understands that she broke a rule (or three!) and expected to be disciplined for that.

Amy did not expect to find her disobedience tied to be tied to her parents’ marital woes. She didn’t expect for a private conversation with her mother to be shared with her father. She did not expect to be blamed for her mother’s choice to confide feelings about Amy’s father’s repeated adultery (Amy suggested Mom leave him). Also, like many other victims of abuse, she did not expect the insults and aggressive anger as her parents worked through their emotions toward her via verbal and mental abuse.

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Effects of Verbal Abuse: Lying, Part 2

Effects of Verbal Abuse: Lying, Part 2

Telling the truth is one component of integrity, but integrity has to do with being “whole” and “complete” in what we do, believe, and say. Our behaviors, thoughts, and words must align in order to have integrity. During the course of my abusive marriage, I discovered I’d lost my integrity and that I told a whole truck load of lies to boot.

I didn’t like myself because I was not saying or doing what I believed to be right. Although I lied to protect myself from abuse, the abuse of my most valued characteristic, my integrity, hurt more deeply than my husband’s put-downs and wrongful conclusions.

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Effects of Verbal Abuse: Lying, Part 1

Effects of Verbal Abuse: Lying, Part 1

Before telling you how I became a big fat liar, I’d like to remind all victims of abuse that, to your abuser, it doesn’t really matter what you say if s/he’s in the mood to abuse. In the later years of my marriage, I chose to only tell the truth and there was no difference in the amount of abuse I underwent.

However, having always considered myself an honest person (before realizing how many lies I actually told my husband), my lying had decimated my integrity. I wanted my integrity back.

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Ending Abuse Begins With Educating Our Children

Ending Abuse Begins With Educating Our Children

If I’ve learned one thing over the past two years, it is that our society is ill-equipped to deal with emotional and verbal abuse, and more than 75% of the time, we do not recognize it when it happens to us. And if we do know it is happening, we’re reluctant to label it as abuse. Instead, we seek to “understand” and “forgive” or “toughen up and deal with it” believing our minds and hearts should be able to “overcome” somebody’s hurtful words and manipulations.

We think we should be “better men” and “rise above” the verbal violence via passivity and silence (and maybe an apologetic smile if the abuser lashes out around friends, family, or the strangers in the canned goods aisle at the grocery store).

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