If you are a peaceful person, you might find yourself constantly fighting. You feel like there is something seriously wrong with you. You might say that you aren’t comfortable staying overnight together–your partner does so anyway. He or she might get upset–especially if you try to break up with them or say that you are leaving–however, there is no underlying remorse for hurting you. He or she might say that they are sorry if they hurt you (hit you, scream at you, cheat on you…etc.) and promise that it will never happen again, but their apology is more manipulative than sincere. They might speak badly about a previous partner, claiming that their previous partner was crazy, or a bitch, or an asshole.
They will make you feel like you are the one that is going crazy instead of them. You might worry about what you wear and what you say and freak out if someone changes your plans or something unexpected happens that you will have to explain later. You’re not quite sure what will set them off, but you are afraid that something you do is going to make them lose their temper… You might think that the Bears are the best football team–your partner will convince you that you are stupid for thinking so because they suck. They might talk about cheating on an old partner, or be proud of their reputation.
By the same token, the more times I experienced fear or pain, especially as a small child, the more my brain came to believe that the world was inherently cruel.
If they hit you, they will make you feel like it was because of something you did wrong. Talk to a member of the opposite sex, they interrogate you about it. You better be ready to explain where you were and what you were doing and why you were doing it. Teachers and bosses are trying to make things hard for them on purpose.
If they cheat on you, they will blame it on something you couldn’t provide them. You start to feel like you are playing a game to which there are no rules and there is no way out. Your partner has to know where you are and what you are doing at all times. He or she might spy on you, check the messages on your phone, talk to your friends without you knowing, have people “check up” on you, hack into your email account or Facebook to see who you are talking to. But they make you feel like you have to stay with them no matter how they treat you, or that they can’t help the way that they act. No matter what they do, or have done, nothing is ever their fault.
The emotional scars of domestic abuse can stay with victims long after they have left the relationship.
Following these tips may help you maintain your emotional health after leaving.
D., author of , if a baby is exposed to inconsistent care or abuse, “he’ll fail to develop the confidence and emotional security that are so essential to a healthy psyche...