This site is dedicated to anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship.
TYPES OF ABUSE
There are many types of abuse: verbal abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and sexual, financial, or physical abuse. Physical abuse is most always preceded by other types of abuse – which escalate to the physical.
Abusive relationships can be a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, same-sex partner, friend, mother or father-in-law, mother, father, siblings, or other family members.
Verbal and emotional abuse is particularly insidious because it’s less obvious, even to the victims themselves. It zaps a victim’s self-esteem, and causes them to question their own perceptions of reality. This makes it easier for abuse to continue, with the victim often being unaware that (s)he is even being abused, except that (s)he feels down, depressed, hurt, fearful, unheard, disrespected, and that “something” is wrong, that (s)he can’t quite put his/her finger on, or can’t quite clearly identify.
Abusers are most often men, but there are plenty of women out there who are abusive too. Note that when I write ‘diary’ type entries, that they are written from the point of view of a woman with a male boyfriend as an abuser – simply because that was my situation. No offense or exclusion is intended for others out there who may be experiencing abuse from a female, or in any other person. Abuse is abuse. Period. No matter who is doing it to whom – it is just as harmful.
IDENTIFYING AND NAMING IT, THEN MOVING TOWARDS CHANGE
The intent of Escape Abuse is to document abuse, and to share with readers what we’ve learned about the signs and symptoms of abuse – knowing what to look for in existing and new relationships that may indicate that abuse is occurring, or could occur. These are what we call “red flags” that the person you’re in – or considering a relationship with, is an abuser. Because often, victims don’t know they are being abused or how to recognize those signs in the beginning. In a new relationship, we often ignore our ‘gut’ feelings about a person. We ignore our instincts and miss the first red flags because we tend to idealize someone new.
When a victim gets beyond the denial, stops taking responsibility for the abuser’s behavior, and identifies what they’re experiencing as abuse, then they can begin to move forward towards implementing the necessary changes to stop it, free themselves, and get their life, their spirit, and self-esteem back.
The intent here is also to share resources we’ve collected that will help further understanding about abuse, abusers and their victims, to provide information about what actions can be taken to help identify abuse early, or to minimize or stop abuse in established relationships. And, if that doesn’t work, how to escape it – leaving the relationship altogether, which sadly is often the only option. Though victims often stay in abusive situations in the hopes that their abuser will change, abusers rarely ever change.
DENIAL, AND WHY VICTIMS DON’T “JUST LEAVE”
There are many reasons victims don’t “just leave” as many people who lack knowledge about abuse insist they can or should.
Victims are often in denial about abuse, hanging onto hopes or dreams established in the romantic beginnings of a relationship when the abuser was on his/her best behavior. Abusers do not start out being abusive, after all. If they did, we’d never become involved with them! This is why identifying the red flags in the beginning is so important.
Targets/victims of abuse can also be afraid of losing “love” or that they themselves are unlovable if they try to protect themselves from abuse or leave the relationship. Along with the abuser, they may continue to blame themselves for the abuse, even though abuse is never the victim’s fault. They can be afraid of change, afraid of being alone, lack financial resources to leave, be under pressure from their friends, church or family to “work it out”, or they can be co-dependent and addicted to the person or relationship even though it is hurting them, hurting others, and causing them to neglect themselves, their own needs, and other parts of their lives.
The current image at the top of the page on this site is from Paul Klee’s “Refuge”