Saturday, January 21, 2012

Silent Almost A Year

Earlier in the week I blogged about some issues floating around which have caused neglect of my blog, causing me some unusual stress, and how I choose to deal with it all. It's time to tackle the issue head on and share with everyone. 

I'm going to protect the identity of those involved because that's what I would want if I were in the situation. Let's just spit it out. 

It's like a dirty word almost isn't it?
It's as if society has attached a stigma to it that sullies even the victims of abuse. People who are affected by it walk around ashamed to admit they've been abused because they risk being shunned, pitied, or abandoned for it.

Emotional and verbal abuse are just as terrible and insidious as physical abuse. Too often I've watched people shrug off, dismiss or disregard emotional and verbal abuse. They don't leave visible physical damage on people so some people feel like it can't be that bad.

These two more subtle forms of abuse poison us.While physical abuse is a visible threat, the other is a threat to the mind and soul and eventually over time wears your body down, poisons you, and your life from the inside out. It makes life feel like it's not worth living....

Someone I know found themselves in a relationship of this nature for almost a year. My friend who is normally a very self-possessed, intellectual, funny and strong willed individual found themselves buried deep in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship. The abuser was entrenched in their lives the same way a tick burrows into the skin.

From my own experience and observing this most recent brush from someone else's perspective I'd like to share some warning signs and tips for everyone.

Isolation. If you find yourself in a relationship where the significant other isn't willing to integrate into activities with your already established long term friend group be wary.

Silence. It's not alright if you try to speak and are constantly told: "Shhh shhhh!" or "Shut your pie hole. There you go again running your mouth about something you know nothing about."

 Mental Games. When someone tries to shake your confidence in your intelligence, patronizes you on a daily basis, or makes derogatory statements about you privately or in front of others constantly, it undermines your self-confidence and makes you feel vulnerable and insecure.

Punishment. No relationship is a healthy one if someone feels the need to punish you because things don't work out to their ideal planned scenario.

When taken out of context these things seem so straight forward and obvious. When we're dealing in reality where these perhaps unwitting abusers are loving, doting, and affectionate in the beginning and at other points throughout the relationship, these things become murky and difficult to separate out.

If you find yourself no longer the person you know yourself to be or a friend becoming 1/10th of the person they once were because of a relationship they've found themselves in, get help. With support we can get ourselves out of these situations. With support our friends can be self assured enough to stand up for themselves and break free. If family and friends aren't enough or available, register with your nearest Domestic Violence Shelter. They will have information, contacts and resources to help.

{All images created by me}


  1. This is a powerful piece and brave too. It's clear how much you care about the person you observed being treated in this way - so thank goodness s/he has friends like you around.

  2. Thank you. We spent the week together removing the tick. It surprised me when I found out during the process that the event had inspired someone else to try and rectify a situation in their life. It seemed important to share with others after I found that out.

  3. I found this post strong and very important and interesting.
    You had the courage to say true things.

    I adore you!

    ciao my dear friend!

  4. OH my....I'll be honest. I've been an (physical and mentally) abusive relationship for two years. And just like your friend, I'm very independent, speak my mind, confident...etc, but for some odd reason, I found myself in an unhealthy relationship. It started off slowly at first, then next thing I knew, cops where at my house a couple of time and there were holes in my walls. Shortly after that, I had to wear clothing that hided my bruises. It was terrible and I was miserable. I felt like I had no way out and it took me almost 6 months to plot my "escape". I give credit to my family for really helping me out. Soon after I left him, I started taking Martial Arts and became a fighting machine. Honestly, without him, I don't know who I would be today. I love the person I have become. I no longer let men intimate me and because of my martial arts background, have been able to protect myself. It's very liberating to disarm a 300lb man, I'm telling ya. LOL

    Tell your friend that there are others out there--just like her and there is help out there for her. I want to give her my strength to make her stronger. I want her to know that she is not a victim, even though she probably feels like it. In time, she will heal and become stronger than ever.

  5. Thank you for your honesty Jen. I have a similar history to yours. I had 1 friend who truly helped me get out. I don't regret or resent my time through that because I do believe it, just like all experiences I've had, have influenced who I am today and I'm proud of the progress I've made as a person. I don't think I'd be even close to who I am today if everything in my life had been super easy breezy or "normal" in a "Leave it to Beaver" kind of way.

    It will definitely take time for my friend. I truly hope anyone who finds themselves in these situations can find a way out. Life for me in a relationship like that felt so surreal, nightmarish, anxious and ungrounded. It's so much more amazing to live a life where you're happy, healthy and own every moment.

  6. Thank you so much Marina. When I realized that my friend wasn't the only one with issues in their lives right this very moment, I felt it was too important not to talk about. Being silent or dismissive about it just lets it fester in the dark. When we shine a light on it for what it is, sometimes it gives us the strength to realize how unacceptable it is and to do something about it.

    I find your strength and sense of adventure just as amazing. I'm always thrilled to see what you've been up to recently. Your latest photos from Argentina were so incredibly awe inspiring. Anyone who hasn't seen them should really take the time to see such a beautiful corner of the world through your eyes:


  7. Wow what a powerful piece and inspiring words and stories shared in the comments; bravo all.

  8. This is type of abuse is definitely one that is under the radar and possibly affects more people than physical violence. I went through it as a young lady, and fortunately broke out of it by dumping the guy (youth gave me the strength, not sure what I would have done if I were married to him already). But I do have people close to me who are experiencing it in their marriages.

    Thank you for your wonderful comments on my blog! It is always a pleasure to meet people who admire and emulate superheroes in their daily lives! How dull life would be otherwise.

  9. IlpiccolomondodicriJanuary 22, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Your friend is not the only one! Sometime a person can live into this situation, but this person doesn't realize that! wow in this time is so good to have a friend who will not do any miracle about the situation but will help a lot! The law recognizes that verbal abuse is a crime in some situations, ecxatly because is a really bad thing that can destroy slowly a person! Nobody deserves that! Very good post, my dear Rachel! I'm proud of you!

    ps.: sorry for my bad english!

  10. Hello! Thank you for coming to see me! Thanks also for your compliments! I find your blog very interesting! See you soon

  11. Sorry, I'm Eva of Le Cose di Eva!

  12. Thanks for your honest post! I think it's very important to talk about abuse, so that women and men see the signs and have the strength to get out.
    I wish only the best for your friend!:)

  13. This is absolutely true. and I am so glad you're talking about it. there are so many women I know (myself included who have found themselves in a situation which they wish they could get out of. I know it seems easy enough or sounds easy enough to do, but when you see your friend or loved one suffering be there for them. as hard as it may be. Thank you for being brave enough to talk about it.

  14. Thank you for your honesty. I think there are more people who experience this than we can possibly imagine simply because people don't seem to discuss it. I'm so glad to have found your blog. I can't wait to see what other super hero elements and architectural inspiration you pull outfits from.

  15. Thank you so much Cri. Verbal and mental abuse are such sneaky things. The way they can enter your life and become something you never imagined you'd find yourself in is shocking sometimes. Never worry about your English. I think it's very good and it gets better all the time.

  16. Thank you Diana. I think it helps to know that other people find it just as unacceptable. It helps them feel like they're not alone and that they've done the right thing.

  17. Thank you for being brave and sharing with us honestly. I think sometimes it can be hard to admit we've been there.