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.


 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.

The art of remaining silent

The tongue is a lethal weapon. With ammunition, it can cause mass destruction.

As human beings, it’s within our power to craft sentences by selecting words as a means of communication on a daily basis.  But how often to we actually pause for a moment to think about the impact that our words are having on our quality of life?

Speaking is natural for most of us. Words just tend to flow out our mouths. The type of speech we exude on the other hand, is a habit. For example, some people have developed a vulgar vocabulary and swear after every other word. These people can come off as rude, unapproachable and unhappy. Some people ooze with kind and comforting words. These people can come off as considerate, likable and happy. So when we are speaking to someone who values our words it influences how they feel about us, but more importantly, it can influence how they feel about themselves.

My father only speaks to me to insult me and has done so for as long as I can remember. I grew up terrified of him and I have never felt good enough for him. Being told that I am stupid, ugly and worthless constantly from childhood has stripped me of self esteem for a long time. His words made me lock myself in the bathroom and cry for hours. I’ve lost sleep over it. Up until I started CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) I wholeheartedly believed all of his insults. I thought there was something wrong with me. That I was an awful daughter who couldn’t do anything right because he is never happy with me.

During my early teenage years up until recent, I noticed that his words enraged me so I worked up the confidence to challenge his insults. I know he enjoyed provoking me because arguing is what he does best. We argued aggressively and consistently until he felt threatened by me. Eventually it reached a point where he’d get physical and slap me, push me, punch me, kick me and step on me. I tried to fight back but as a young girl being gripped by a grown man, all I could do is struggle and cry.

Therapy has helped me understand that this man will not change. His words are not true. I’m not the problem.

Today, I was filling out yet another application form for him whilst he stood over me, insulting me.

“Your handwriting is so fucking terrible” (it really isn’t)
Me: *silent*

“Call yourself a student? You can’t even write 1! That’s not how you write 5! Is that an 8??”
Me: *silent*

“You’re so stupid, I’m sick of you! Why are my children like this??”
Me: *silent*

It baffles him. He tries to provoke me more each time but I just don’t give it to him. I remember that it’s not true. I keep my cool. I can’t fight hatred using hatred. I learned that the hard way.

Words are powerful. We can either use them to build people up or break them down.

When in doubt, kill people with silence.

“Silence is a source of great strength. – Lao Tzu”

The Beginning of the End – Childhood Trauma

My childhood memories consist of nothing but pain and suffering among the rare ones that remind me of how freedom was abundant back then.

In France, there were stunning parks to be relished after every 5 minutes of walking; I’d been to all of them in my little town in Paris and always had the time of my life. I raced against my friends until we all on the floor laughing heartily whilst gasping for breath. I swinged so high on the swings I was certain I would be able to touch the sky one day. I  had sand particles in every fold of my clothing because I loved building sand castles – and someday I’d be a princess.

One evening in the summer after having a wild time in the park, my family and I were making our way back to our flat. I saw that somebody had just left our building so I ran to keep the door open until my younger sister reached me at the door and then took over holding the door open, waiting for our parents. At this point I was in front of the lift and pressed the button, watching it zoom down the 6 floors to reach me. When my parents finally came through the doors, we heard a piercing cry from behind us – the door had almost closed and my sister’s little finger was trapped in between the door.

The events to follow were my earliest memories of my father’s abusive behaviour and his deep hatred towards me – I was about 6. Immediately, my dad started cursing and yelling about what a worthless piece of garbage I was for being born because I failed to ensure that my sister entered the building before me safely – like that was my responsibility. He hit me in the face twice and pushed me hard before rushing my sister to the nearest hospital. My mum took me up to our flat continuing with my dad’s cursing, completely ignoring that I was in pain and a sobbing mess. She wouldn’t even look at me. My parents never did.

I went to my parents’ room – the room I still slept in at the time, shut the door behind me and cried my eyes out trying to process what had just happened. I always knew my dad was abusive because he’d been violent with my mum ever since I could remember, so I was used to it. I never thought that he loved me, because he was always so cold and harsh, but it never fully occurred to me that he didn’t love me – until that moment. Before that, I just assumed it was the way things were.

I sat at my parents’ bed looking out on the dimly lit night streets through the window still traumatised and shaking in fear of what he’ll do to me when he gets back. My mum didn’t even come to check up on me once, she was in the kitchen cooking and I might as well have been dead for all she knew. I’d never felt so alone and unwanted. His words kept replaying in my mind:

I wish you weren’t born. Why did God give me a stupid daughter like you?

They still plague my mind to this day.

They got back a few hours later and luckily for my sister, she only had a minor bone fracture and she’d need to wear a bandage for a few weeks. My dad tried to hit me again but I escaped his grip and ran to another room. When the coast was clear I just got changed, went to bed and slept.