Guest Blog: Understanding the Scars of Domestic Abuse

Emotional Abuse: The Scars Within
By: Tamika L. Sims, Author and Lexington Medical Center Quality Date Specialist. She’s a mom, sister, friend and survivor.

As a young girl I recited the following nursery rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt.” I said this every time I felt offended; on the playground during recess, walking down school hallways, or walking home in the afternoons at the end of the school day.

I dismissed this nursery rhyme as nothing more than that. After all, words could never hurt…right? Words were meant to roll as “water off a ducks back.” They were not seen as a source of pain. As I became an adult, I realized that only half of this statement is true. Sticks and stones can break bones – but words can and definitely will hurt, especially in a relationship when they are spoken from the lips of one who is supposed to love you.

Victims of physical abuse are easy to identify. Victims of emotional abuse have the appearance of the “everyday woman.” Bruises heal. My concern is the invisible scar, the one that murders the soul.

Emotional abuse cripples the victim – leaving them feeling helpless and hopeless. While not the easiest to identify, it is the hardest to move forward from. Psychologically, emotional abuse damages your self-esteem and your sense of who you are.

By the time she realizes that she is a victim of emotional abuse; she is no longer the same woman. She is now withdrawn, experiencing hair and weight loss, depressed all because of the violence she is experiencing at home. She believes that this is love which confuses her. She reasons within herself that this is all she is worth and does not deserve anything better. All of which is not true.

The majority of the relationship with my former boyfriend D.L. was emotionally and verbally abusive. I suffered many other forms of abuse, but the emotional was the most damaging. I no longer recognized the distorted reflection in the mirror. At some point, I became so dependent on him for validation, a transformation took place. I was lost and hidden in him. We were interconnected.

Through counseling and support, I was able to get back to me.

If you or anyone you know is in an abusive relationship help is available. Please call 1-800-799-SAFE to get connected to resources in your community. Love is NOT abuse. Love does NOT hurt.

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