4 Ways to Spot an Abusive Spouse

Domestic abuse affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime.  Sometimes I get scared about what kind of man I’ll end up with. Will he treat me the way I watched my father treat my mother? What if I become like him? These questions drove me into a dark place of thoughts and upon reflection, I’ve gathered my 4 indicators of an abusive person in a relationship.

1. They will try to control you
Whether it’s your finances or people you want to go out with, they will ensure that you are cut-off from the rest of the world. Abusers tend to have this desire to be noticed and almost worshipped, but nothing will satisfy them for long. They get thrills out of taking away people’s power and making sure they are the centre of your attention.

2. They will play the victim
Abusers are master manipulators. They will build a strong attachment between you two and somewhere down the line, they will snap. They may hit you or lash out in anger – but they know that love is blind and they will use this to their advantage. They may say things like “don’t you love me?” if you try to leave. Unfortunately many people fall for this trap and stay with an abuser because they are blind to their actions. This gives the abuser the chance to do it over and over again which is unacceptable.

3. They will turn everything into an argument
Everything. Abusers prey on the opportunity to hurt and feel powerful. They thrive on negative reactions –  it satisfies them. I personally believe that disagreements in a relationship are inevitable and completely normal, but great couples know that they have to pick their battles. Working through a disagreement should be productive, not destructive.

4. They will get physical
They may cause you physical harm by pushing you, beating you and carrying out many other violent acts. They may break things in your presence to create threat and fear. They  may have sex with you when you don’t feel like it. Remember that rape is possible in a relationship – sex must always be consensual.

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 Note: Abuse is not restricted to a gender and it is always wrong.

If you think this post may help someone recognise that they are in an abusive relationship then please share. 

If you are being abused, please call the 24hr freephones:
National Domestic Violence Helpline (UK) – 0808 2000 247
National Domestic Violence Hotline (US) – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

If in doubt, please report it to the police in your country. Abuse must not be tolerated.

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I’M BACK: The power of moving out

I’ve found it very difficult to come back to blogging and give you an honest update on how my life is going. As you may or may not know, I have finally escaped my toxic home by moving out for university.. but not quite. And that’s where it gets difficult.

University (known as college if you are American) is absolute bliss. For the first time in my life I get my own space and the freedom to explore another beautiful city with some amazing friends who are also on this journey with me.

Since starting, I’ve noticed that I dress better because I get to choose what I buy without being judged for it. I get to experiment with modest fashion – my true style. And you know what they say, look good = feel good! I genuinely think being better dressed has increased my confidence levels significantly. I’m not worrying about what other people think because I know I look good. By eliminating this superficial factor, all that’s left to judge me on is how I present myself on a deeper level. As my focus is entirely on this, I have now developed my charisma and I can enjoy conversations which flow naturally rather than being an anxious mess. It’s safe to say that my mind is at peace and I am much happier.
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The freedom to do anything I want, whenever I want is something I am eternally grateful for and I wish it could last forever. But it doesn’t. In fact, it ends every time I go back home for the weekend because I start missing my little brother or when I came home for the Christmas holidays a few weeks ago.

The first few hours of being back home are nice. I feel a rush of nostalgia as I’m surrounded by familiar places and faces after such a long time. It’s strangely comforting to see that everything is still the same. Well, everything except my family. You see, when I’m at university I am in such a state of happiness that I forget how truly horrible a place home is. So I suddenly start missing this place I call “home”and actually go back for weekend trips. I make this mistake quite often. My parents don’t even appear to miss me and my father still makes me feel as worthless as the day I was born. Everyone makes me feel like a massive burden and I feel like I just shouldn’t be there. That’s not comforting – that’s very painful. Being here takes me back to old patterns and clouds up my mind with negativity. I’ve been here for 3 weeks now for the holidays and I’m reaching a depressive state. I just want to leave.

I found it hard to know when to blog because when I wrote this post at university it was all happy and fluffy but when I wrote it at home it was all very depressing – neither of which would’ve been an accurate. Here I present you the whole picture 🙂

Just want to take the time to say Happy New Year and I look forward to being back with you in the blogosphere!

I’m finally moving out!

I’m leaving for university this Sunday and the reality just sinking in. No more home cooked meals waiting for me at the dinner table. No more mum bringing me soup when I’m slumped in bed with a burning fever. No more cute little brother barging into my room asking me for cuddles. This comfortable little bubble I’ve been living in all my life – I’m escaping it. Everything will be so foreign. And I’ll be left to my own devices.

Moving out has been a fantasy of mine since I was a little girl. One day when I was 6, my father was teaching me maths and I got a question wrong. He started shouting at me about how he doesn’t understand why God gave him such a stupid child, like he always does. When he started shouting like that, I always got a lump in my throat because I was about to cry. He asked me the question again and my answer barely came out as a whisper. He got so angry that he grabbed me by the hair, dragged me to the front door and literally pushed me out of the house. I fell on the floor outside and started crying uncontrollably. I tried banging on the door but he wouldn’t let me in. People saw me crying on the streets but they didn’t do anything. They just walked by. I felt so unloved. So alone.

That’s when I learned a cold hard truth: I’m all I have in life.

Traumatic memories like this are what put me in therapy last year. I learned that all these home comforts and so-called friends that I have are just some added bonuses in life that I sometimes mistake for happiness. They make me forget that for as long as I am around my father, I am in a toxic environment. That’s what I need to remember in those weak moments away from home. I don’t stand a chance at happiness here because my environment doesn’t support it. At university though, the world is my Oyster. For the first time ever in my life I can do whatever I want without him trying to convince me that I’m worthless.

I have date with freedom and it starts on Sunday 🙂
Here’s to the most awaited chapter of my life. Young me would’ve never seen this day coming.

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Suicidal

At the start of this summer I knew that I’d be going through hell if I stayed at home with my parents the entire time like I’ve always done. But I’m 18 now, I thought. I can make as many plans as I want and I can stay out of the house as much as possible.

So, that’s what I did. For 3 weeks straight I said yes to every plan proposed by my friends and I ensured that they all happened (for my sake). I was out almost everyday laughing and taking amazing photos – two of my favourite pastimes. It was bliss.

But then this coping mechanism of mine to stay out everyday with friends backfired. I felt suffocated by all this human interaction. It was nice at first but then it became too intense. I explored this in my previous post I’m tired of emotional attachments‘. Life is all about balance. At that moment, I had lost the concept of spending time with people in moderation and I felt overwhelmed. So I went from one extreme to the other. I stopped going out and I lived like I normally would.

As I snapped out of my imaginary bliss, all the pains I’d been repressing rose to the surface again. My parents were the trigger. I’m subjected to my father’s aggressive behaviour towards me and everyday I’m in awe at how he shamelessly makes me do all his work (writing his letters, emails, texts, making work phone calls) and takes full credit for it whilst he treats me like shit. Never a “please” or a “thank you”. Just “do this or I’ll hurt you”. Sometimes I cry whilst I’m doing the task because he stands right behind me watching and insulting me at the same time. I try not to let him see though because he calls me way worse things when I cry.

My mother always tells me that I am the most troublesome and disrespectful child to ever walk this planet. Her justification behind this is that I used to scream and cry all the time when I was a baby. My baby photos do support this – I’m wailing out in almost all of them. I’m her first child so it was very hard for her. It doesn’t help when your husband is an abusive asshole. What blows my mind is that she holds me responsible for behaviour that I don’t even recall as a baby. That’s what babies do don’t they? They cry. My mother treats me like I’m vile. Once when I was young I went to hold her arm probably for comfort and she pushed me away saying “Get off me, I feel so disgusted when you touch me”. I never forgot that.

On Saturday, I went to a passport photo shop to take some new photos. My younger siblings and father came with me. When he saw the photos, he started shouting at me in front of everyone about how ugly I look without my glasses on. I felt so embarrassed and hurt. I cried for ages when I got home. A younger me with no self esteem used to believe that I was ugly because my parents often said so. As I grew up and compliments added up, I realised that although I’m no supermodel, I’m certainly not ugly. When I told my friends about this they were outraged at my parents’ insanity and finally understood why I hate them with a passion. Even if I was ugly, what was the need to publicly humiliate me like that? How can you call people ugly? Let alone your own child?

This Monday it was my little sister’s birthday which I was excited for and my mother said to me “go out today and come back at night”. “Why?” I asked. “I’m not telling you” she replied. Later I found out that they planned a day out without me. I was left home alone. I’ve never felt so unwanted and hurt in my life.

It’s results day on the 18th of August. I find out whether or not I’ve been accepted into  university which is well away from home. I wouldn’t have to live here anymore. I don’t think I did well enough in my exams to get in but I’m hoping for a miracle because I can’t do this any more. The pain is unbearable. Everyday is a struggle. I’d rather be gone.

I know that I only feel this way because of my parents but isn’t it true that my parents are tied to me for the rest of my life? I can’t just cut them off and I’m losing the will to live.

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Exciting life update following this post: Click here 

Overwhelmed by all the love and support. I appreciate every single comment and I’m very grateful to be part of such a beautiful and caring blogging community ❤️

I’m tired of emotional attachments

To me, being emotionally attached to someone is equivalent to giving this person power over your feelings. It takes one heated argument for them to ruin your day or one loving conversation for them to make your day. Why is it that caring about someone comes at such at emotional expense?

At this time in my life I have the privilege of saying that I know a lot of people. However for the past few months I’ve noticed that I’ve been feeling suffocated by maintaining close friendships with people because it’s such a huge emotional investment. I’m suddenly these all these people’s mum, therapist and personal cheerleader all at once. I recognise the importance of having supportive friends in life because everyone needs someone to talk to –  but everyday? really? The problem is that the majority of my friends get upset and insulted when I purposely choose to reply 2 or 3 days later. Quite frankly it’s because I don’t actually care about what you’re wearing tonight or what hilarious joke your sister told you.

At first I thought this was because I had too many friends at once, so last month I decided to cut down and only give my attention to my 3 closest friends. I could only bear a maximum of 2 full conversations with each person in the space of a month. Every other time, I felt myself becoming bored and eager to leave to conversation in order to be by myself. So I just ignored them, spending more and more time alone as the days went by.

This might sound heartless but I care about these people in the sense that if something life threatening was happening to them then they’d have my undivided attention. But the probability of them being in a life or death situation is very low on a day to day basis. This means that every other day I’m supposed give a damn about everything else in their life. I really don’t care about people that much any more and lord knows I hate small talk.

I think this is because I’ve finally become very comfortable in my own skin and I’ve learned to love my own company. I grew up emotionally detached from my parents and still to this day I feel like a stranger in my own home when they’re around. I’ve spent my life trying to gain their love and affection only to be abused in return.  It’s heartbreaking, being attached to someone. I’ve had certain expectations of people in life and I’ve been let down a lot.

Now I literally have no expectations from people because I’ve gone past caring. If people want to stay in my life, they can stay. If they want to go, they can go. I have no fight left in me for people. I love being alone.

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Note: There is a difference between isolation and solitude. Isolation is being cut off from the rest of the world, feeling lonely and devastated. Solitude is the ability to be away from the rest of the world and feeling invigorated by it, knowing fully well that I have access to people. I personally enjoy my alone time more than anything, however I can still enjoy human connection in moderation. I don’t encourage you to cut off emotional ties, it’s just the way I’m currently feeling due to personal experience. 

How to stop comparing yourself to others

Before I started therapy, I obsessively compared myself to others all the time. Subconsciously, I allocated a status to every person I spoke to and in most cases I saw myself as inferior to them. This is called inferiority complex and it was the driving force of my anxiety and depression, deeply rooted from my childhood experiences of constantly being abused for not being good enough.

I’ve noticed that people compare themselves against others regularly which is devastating. Mark Twain was right: “Comparison is the death of joy.”

Here are my 4 ways to help you stop comparing yourself to others:

  1. Only compete against yourself
    Comparing yourself against others is unfair because we are all completely different. We have different skills, strengths and weaknesses. We are all at different stages in our journey of life. In the same way you wouldn’t compare a lion to a bird, it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself against everyone else. Each are special in their own way. Therefore, you should only aim to beat your previous best.
  2. Limit social media usage
    People only show off the best parts of their lives on social media. When you’re bombarded with everyone’s selfies of them having a great time out, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that their life is better than yours. Realistically, selfies are often forced and not at all an accurate representation of someone’s quality of life.
  3. Avoid putting other people on a pedestal
    Some people appear to be very successful in all aspects of their lives. They seem unstoppable and everything always seems to go their way. However, it’s important to realise that we all have weaknesses, regardless of our success. A colleague could be excellent at their job at work, but this very person who you envy, could be on the brink of divorce with their spouse at home. You just never know the whole picture.
  4. Realise that there is only one of you in this universe
    Nobody can think the way that you do. Nobody has experienced all the pain and joys in life as you have. Nobody knows all of the things that you know. You’re an original copy. You don’t have to be amazing like him/her, you can be amazing like you.stop-comparing-comic2

I’m finally 18! Here’s what I’ve learned

Having suffered from anxiety and depression for so long, I NEVER thought I’d make it to my 18th birthday. Suicide was always on my mind or I always thought that my father would end my life before it. But here I am! Healthy and feeling grateful to be alive.
So I thought I’d share with you 18 things I’ve learned in my 18 years of living:

  1.  Speak to yourself as you would speak to your best friend
    When I recognised how horribly I was critiquing myself in my head constantly, it shocked me. I thought, if I’d never speak to my friends like that then why I would I speak to myself like that?
  2. Rejection isn’t always personal
    There are some things in life I have pursued and been rejected from. There are various factors which can go into rejection and I’ve learned not to automatically assume that it’s because I’m not good enough. Sometimes it’s not you, it’s them.
  3. Be honest
    It sounds very simple but I didn’t realise how much easier life is when I’m straight to the point. I don’t talk in riddles, say things vaguely or play mind games any more. I try to cut the bullshit and prevent misunderstandings.
  4. Think the best of people until they prove you otherwise
    Instead of negatively judging people before I’ve even gotten to know them properly, I now give people a chance. It’s amazing how many more people I appreciate as a result.
  5. You don’t have to be friends with everyone that wants to be friends with you
    As a person with low self-esteem who previously only had a maximum of 2 friends at a time, I thought that the more friends I had, the better. After letting in too many people, I realised that friends can be very toxic and it’s about quality – not quantity.
  6. School isn’t the most important thing in life – Education is
    Learning and expanding my horizons is an important responsibility. School is a medium which can help me with that, but it’s also a very stressful and flawed system. I wish I didn’t let exams stress me to death because in the end they do not matter.
  7. Social media is a huge waste of time
    Since I’ve deleted a few apps like Snapchat and Instagram, I’ve been feeling the hours in the day more. I don’t just lose them to mindlessly addictive scrolling. It makes room more many opportunities and making real, deeper human connections.
  8. People are unreliable
    Because we’re humans, we’re all prone to making mistakes. The mistake I made is thinking that I could always count on people – not just friends but also professionals, and I’ve been let down. The only person I can truly count on is myself.
  9. If you want change, take action
    I’ve always felt this impulse to fight for what I believe in and seek answers, but it’s very scary. Also I can be a bit lazy (oops). Pushing myself to do things that are seemingly uncomfortable has made me realise that I’m braver than I thought.
  10. It’s not natural for the woman to be the pursuer
    Sure, it could work. But in more cases than not, if the woman is doing all the work and is starting to feel like a fan that the guy has no time for then it’s clear where the woman stands in his life. If he liked me back, I’d be his priority.
  11. Don’t befriend someone just because you feel sorry for them
    I have a soft spot for lonely people because I know how painful it can be, so I like to take it upon myself to be their hero and befriend them. This has always backfired because it turns out we aren’t necessarily compatible as friends.
  12. Smiling is powerful
    I’ve built up a good rapport with senior teachers just by giving them a big smile every morning and they smile back. It becomes a special regular thing. In a society where smiling at people has become rare, it’s a powerful tool to radiate good vibes.
  13. Most people are willing to talk about anything
    I thought being a good conversationalist meant knowing exactly what to say before even having the conversation, so I was a nervous wreck whenever I spoke. Slowly, I realised that I’m supposed to go with the flow and speak my mind in the moment.
  14. People’s opinions don’t matter
    I still have a hard time constantly keeping this in mind but before I recognised this, I took everything that was said to me to heart which hurt. Just because someone says or thinks something about me, it doesn’t make it true.
  15. Everyone has problems. Literally everyone.
    Family problems, money problems or health problems, we’ve all got them. I thought I was the only sad person in the universe before I learned that depression was a thing. People look like they’ve got everything together but they don’t.
  16. Don’t equate your life experiences with other people’s life experiences
    There’s nothing worse than when people tell me about a similar life experience they’ve had and completely undermine the pain that I feel by making it about them. Everyone has unique experiencesIt’s never the same.
  17. Being alone is okay
    I thought that being seen alone was a weakness because I’ve grown up hearing people use words like “loner” and “loser”at school. Now I feel like being alone is a strength. Solitude is important. If I enjoy my own company, why be ashamed of it?
  18. Everything happens for a reason
    All the amazing and excruciating experiences I’ve had have shaped me into the person I am today. In the moment it can feel like overwhelming, but now I look back and feel so grateful because they were all opportunities to learn and grow.