.::Those Taking the Journey::.


The Ugly Truth About Abuse

I felt myself be pushed, hard, onto the bed... I felt his hands wrap around my throat... I heard my voice, but it didn't sound like my voice... I heard it tell him to stop... I hardly recognized my own voice. It sounded so small, so raspy from the lack of air coming into my throat... I didn't even fight him... I couldn't fight him... It was as if I had lost all control of my body... And all I could think was, "Why?" I felt no pain... It was dream-like... Surreal... I noticed how horrible he looked, as he looked down at me... I felt myself slip into unconsciousness............................ When I woke up, I was alone on the bed. My throat hurt, I felt light headed. I couldn't even think clearly...

That was the first time my ex put his hands on me... But not the last... Shortly after this "incident", we found out that I was pregnant. What should have been a wonderful, joyous time in my life, was anything but... 2 months into my pregnancy and 3 months into our marriage, I found out that when he and I had started dating, he had had a girlfriend that he had been with for two years. I found out that there was a little girl out there (who he had NOTHING to do with) who may in fact be his daughter... We were at my grandmother's house when we had the argument. It was a horrible argument... He said some of the most hurtful things you could imagine... He pushed me, I pushed him back... That is when he choked me (for the second time in our short marriage)... Right there on my grandmother's couch... I left him for the first time... I remember going to my appointment with my obstetrician and covering up the scratches and bruises on my neck... He begged, he pleaded, he promised and he swore... We got back together... 
Things were fine for awhile... We were happy... Or so I fooled myself into believing... All these different phone numbers on scraps of paper started popping up... Private calls... Also, he began "punishing me"... No hugs, no kisses, no 'love-making', no nothing... And that was his method anytime I upset or angered him... He'd insult me and criticize me for everything...  My self-esteem was getting lower and lower and lower... I felt so lonely...  He would leave the room to make phone calls (something he never did, at first)... He'd pick fights with me, just to have an excuse to leave... I began having anxiety attacks, due to all of the stress. I became so sick and so stressed, I had to drop some of my classes... He didn't like me even going to school. He'd fuss about my clothes. He'd bitch if I fixed my hair up or dressed up AT ALL... He accused me of talking to people, etc, etc... Eventually, I allowed all this to fuck my schooling up... He would stare (I mean GAWK) at women right in front of me. He'd try to hide it, but hardly... By this time, I was about 4 1/2 months pregnant. I wasn't really showing yet. I didn't show 'til my 6th month, but by this time, I felt so unattractive...
month or so passed, and I was finally REALLY showing... He had a different job and I noticed he had stopped wearing his wedding band. When I asked him about it, he said, "Oh, it always falls off at work." I didn't believe him, but I let it go... One day, he was in the bathroom getting ready for work. I knew he didn't have any money for lunch that day, so I was sneaking and putting some in his wallet... A tiny scrap of paper fell out (I mean TINY). At first, I wasn't going to pay it any attention because it was so very little, but my intuition said "LOOK". When I unballed this tiny scrap of paper (I'm not even sure how the hell he balled such a tiny ass piece of paper), it was a torn off piece of printer paper. Written sooooooooo tiny on the paper, was a girl's name and number. I had been to his job. His co-workers knew me. This girl was a girl I KNEW liked him. I could feel it... I put his wallet back down, but I kept the number. I went to iron his clothes, but I was so pissed, I couldn't. I went into the bedroom, because I was going to wait until he got off work to ask him about it... But thinking of him going to work with her infuriated me. I didn't want a make a scene (at the time we were staying with my grandmother until our new place was ready). When he got out of the bathroom, I confronted him. I blew up. He just went on about his business as I yelled. Him ignoring me pissed me off more, so I grabbed his shirt. He knocked my hand away. I got in front of his face and he pushed me, HARD. I slapped him. That is when he grabbed me, shoving me into the wall. I got my arm free and punched him as hard as I could in the face. I connected with his mouth and heard a weird noise. My hand was bleeding... But one of his front teeth was out and the other was pushed back (he got them fixed and wired back in right)... Now, this isn't the end of it. My brother heard the noise and broke us up. My mom and my brother were right there now. My ex and I exchanged words. I was crying. He was holding his tooth and calling me a ho. Then, he stormed out onto the front porch. After what seemed like an eternity, I followed him outside (I know... Not smart of me)... But he had made a habit out of saying (when made at me) that he didn't want my son. So, I asked him, what are we going to do about the baby? He said you can have him and he didn't want any part of it. I said fine, but I want it in writing. He said fine. Then he walked off the porch, cursing me out. I heard him say "Bitch"... Before I knew I was saying anything, the words were out, "No, your mama's the bitch" (I hated his mother. I'll tell y'all why another time). I was sitting in a chair, pregnant... I couldn't move too fast... He ran up the porch and fell on the first step. He quickly got up, but I remember laughing in my head and thinking how crazy, comical, and sad this whole thing was... I knew he was about to do something... He punched me in my right eye. I swung back, but he grabbed my hair (it was in a long ponytail) and yanked me out of the chair. He began swinging me around the porch, trying to knock me into the patio furniture. My brother came out and they started fighting... Something about my brother... He's crazy... And something like a mini-professional boxer... So... Let's leave the story at that...
Shockingly (and stupidly) enough, that isn't the end of it... We got back together before my son was born... We made agreements, compromises or whatever... And things seemed better for a long time... But right after my son was born, it started again... The lying, the cheating... The physical and emotional abuse... The accusations, the control... The guilt trips (he tried to kill himself because I was leaving... He did that on more than one occasion)... Finally, I decided that I couldn't do it. I started looking back over things: He made me give up my friends. He controlled how I dressed and how I did my hair. He controlled my relationships with my family. He controlled all the money. He never helped with my son. He made my pregnancy and labor miserable. I remembered the black eyes, the busted lips, the bloodied nose... The marks, the pain... The neglect... I remembered every cruel, hateful word... He tried to control my schooling. He would tear me down. Threaten me. Guilt me. Nothing I did or said was ever good enough... He always thought I was trying to control him. Everything was my fault to him. He never could take responsibility. He would physically hurt me and himself... I realized, I don't love him and if what he has for me is love, I don't want nor need it. I realized that I felt sorry for him (he had a horrible family life and childhood), but I realized that wasn't enough to keep me there... Its funny, because as horrible as our abusers are to us, we still feel the need to protect and defend them... But, let's move on... With all these realizations (and many other realizations), the most important was that I didn't want my son to grow up in an environment like that... I could not let myself and my son live like that... So, shortly after my son's first birthday, I left him for good... I left with nothing but my son and my son's belongings... He destroyed everything I had... My clothes, my books... My self-esteem... Everything...
Now, there were many other "incidents"--abuse, stalking, threats, breaking in my house, etc--but I'm not here to bash him, tell my whole life story, get pity or any of that. I'm writing this for my sistahs and my brothas. Hopefully, this will help someone else. See, as a woman who went through domestic violence, I take it very seriously and very personally (especially when you have some females making a mockery out of what we go through). Domestic abuse is very real and very common. According to the American Psychological Association Force on Violence and Family, over 4 million American women experience a serious assault by a partner each year.  1 out of every 4 women will experience spousal abuse at some point in their life. Now, let me be clear, I'm talking about abuse. NOT "I hit him and he hit me back". And men go through domestic abuse, as well. Their abuse is usually (but not always) emotional abuse.

The info that I'm about to give you, to this day, scares me. I mean it shakes me to my core... It still brings tears to my eyes, because during the abuse, I don't think I ever truly realized, "He could kill me." And I think alot of women never really understand that this person that we love so much, this person that we're protecting and making excuses for... That very same person may MURDER us... And in fact, are deathly close to doing so... My ex choked me on more than one occasion... And out of all the acts of abuse, the choking is the one that has stayed with me the most... I later learned why:
To domestic violence experts, choking is not just another element in a brutal attack. It is a harbinger of potential murder. Domestic violence victims who are choked are at significant risk for being killed. The Chicago Women’s Health Risk Study, which examined how to predict domestic violence homicide, found that 12 percent of women whose partners choked them were later killed, compared with 6 percent of women who had been attacked but not choked. A 2002 study of domestic violence murders in Minnesota’s Hennepin County came to a similar conclusion. An act of strangulation was often a precursor to a domestic homicide,” said Marna Anderson, executive director of WATCH, a Minneapolis-based domestic violence court monitoring organization. She uses the word “strangle” deliberately, even for attacks that are not fatal. The word “choking,” she said, fails to capture the act’s viciousness. It’s intended to cause death or to instill enough fear for the victim to realize that this person could actually kill her,” she said. “And there’s something very intimate about it, when you think of how close you have to be. You don’t see a lot of acts of strangulation in bar fights or stranger assaults.” There is something particularly chilling about choking, said Carolyn Rebecca Block, senior research analyst with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and principal investigator for the Chicago study. If somebody can look you in the eye and squeeze the breath of life out of you … what kind of person could do that to someone else?” she said. “You’re talking about the ultimate degree of power and control.” The incidents themselves posed a serious risk. Five percent of domestic violence attacks that involved choking were fatal, compared with 1 percent of other attacks. And they weren’t rare. Of the 550 women in the study who had experienced domestic violence, 325 women had been choked. Choking’s role as a warning sign is often overlooked.

About Abusers:

People who were abused as children (if they have not undergone extensive therapy/counseling), are more likely (highly more likely) to be abusers. Abusive relationships are characterized by control games, violence, jealousy and withholding sex and emotional contact. An emotionally abusive man is harder to pin-point and a skilled, abusive man can easily make you think you aren’t good enough or that everything is your fault. It is just as difficult to recover from emotional abuse as it is from physical abuse. Emotional abuse causes low self-esteem and depression. An abusive man may tell you he loves you or that he will change, so you won’t leave. However, the more times you take him back, the more control he will gain. Empty promises become the norm. Make sure you pay attention to his actions and not merely his words. As the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.”
Abusive men seem to think there is a reason behind every woman’s actions and words. They are always under the assumptions that women are trying to influence them. Often, they accuse a woman of doing things she is not guilty of and they are easily irritated by her, especially when she is in a good mood. These men may feel they love these women but emotionally they do not “like” them.
The most important aspect of any relationship should be mutual respect. Unfortunately abusive men always strive to project themselves in a favorable light and put women down. They thrive on making a woman feel inferior in all things. The object is to tear her down to make her feel weak, insecure and co-dependent. It is a double-edged sword: a no win situation or a do or die situation. The woman spends years trying to prove that she is not bad but they are kept on deaf ears. No matter what she does, he doesn’t care so it is futile for her to try to prove she is worthwhile.
Some Stats: 
According to the Department of Justice, recent study shows that two thirds of all marriages will experience domestic violence at least once in their life time. One shocking discovery from a study found that 37% of pregnant women, across all class, race, and educational lines, were abused physically during pregnancy. 
 -85-95% of all domestic violence victims are female. 
 -Over 500,00 women are stalked by an intimate partner each year. 
 -5.3 million women are abused each year (37% of that are pregnant women).
 -1,232 women are killed each year by an intimate partner. 
 -Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. 
 -Women are more likely to be attacked by someone they know rather than by a      stranger.
    Ten Warning Signs of an Abuser: 
    1. Jealousy and Possessiveness – Becomes jealous over your family, friends, co-workers. Tries to isolate you. Views his woman and children as his property instead of as unique individuals. Accuses you of cheating or flirting with other men without cause. Always asks where you’ve been and with whom in an accusatory manner.
    2. Control – He is overly demanding of your time and must be the center of your attention. He controls finances, the car, and the activities you partake in. Becomes angry if woman begins showing signs of independence or strength.
    3. Superiority – He is always right, has to win or be in charge. He always justifies his actions so he can be “right” by blaming you or others. A verbally abusive man will talk down to you or call you names in order to make himself feel better. The goal of an abusive man is to make you feel weak so they can feel powerful. Abusers are frequently insecure and this power makes them feel better about themselves.
    4. Manipulates – Tells you you’re crazy or stupid so the blame is turned on you. Tries to make you think that it’s your fault he is abusive. Says he can’t help being abusive so you feel sorry for him and you keep trying to “help” him. Tells others you are unstable.
    5. Mood Swings – His mood switches from aggressive and abusive to apologetic and loving after the abuse has occurred.
    6. Actions don’t match words – He breaks promises, says he loves you and then abuses you.
    7. Punishes you – An emotionally abusive man may withhold sex, emotional intimacy, or plays the “silent game” as punishment when he doesn’t get his way. He verbally abuses you by frequently criticizing you.
    8. Unwilling to seek help – An abusive man doesn’t think there is anything wrong with him so why should he seek help? Does not acknowledge his faults or blames it on his childhood or outside circumstances.
    9. Disrespects women – Shows no respect towards his mother, sisters, or any women in his life. Thinks women are stupid and worthless.
    10. Has a history of abusing women and/or animals or was abused himself – Batterers repeat their patterns and seek out women who are submissive and can be controlled. Abusive behavior can be a generational dysfunction and abused men have a great chance of becoming abusers. Men who abuse animals are much more likely to abuse women also.

    10 More Signs of an Abuser:
    1. He has a history of drug abuse and/or alcohol, and possibly violence.
    2. He has record of being arrested for domestic violence. Do your homework and if possible the background check to know more about him. According to a dating poll of over 500 women on WomanSavers.com, over 50% of women google a person’s name before dating.
    3. He has a poor or no relationship with his mother or ex partners.
    4. He speaks negatively about all his past relationships, blaming them always. If at all possible, try to speak to these women to hear their point of view. If he badmouths them, you may be next.
    5. He exhibits an over-bearing, aggressive personality. You may be attracted by his apparent confidence, strength, determination and aggressive personality – the kind of qualities you think you lack. However, this personality type can also be a red flag for abusive behavior.
    6. He talks at length, bragging about himself. This self-obsessed behavior is frequently seen in abusive men.
    7. He expects a big return on his venture. He may seem happy to put your needs and wishes first for a little while, but it will not be long before he throws it in your face by saying: “Look at everything I do for you. You owe me!”
    8. The relationship moves forward very quick. Abusive men persuade as fast as they can. They know that they cannot sustain consistent good behavior for very long. Good behavior does not give them the pay off they want, controlling through abuse does.
    9. You catch him telling lies. There are areas of his life that he is not telling you about or is lying to you about because he may lose you.
    10. He is interested in everything you have to say and coincidentally always agrees. This is a sneaky technique called mirroring and can later be used to control you by developing trust. Any of the above must be considered as an important warning sign of an Abusive Men. If you hear any alarms going off in your head, listen to them carefully and act on them. An ounce of prevention can avert a lifetime of heartache.

    Are you already in an abusive relationship? There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.
    To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship. 

    Your Inner Thoughts and feelings
    Do you:
    -feel afraid of your partner much of the time and avoid certain topics out of -fear of angering your partner?
    -feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
    -believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
    -wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
    -feel emotionally numb or helpless? 

    Your Partner's Belittling Behaviour
    Does your partner?
    -humiliate or yell at you?
    -criticize you and put you down?
    -treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends/family to see?             
    -ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
    -blame you for his own abusive behavior?
     see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

    Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats
    Does your partner: 
    -have a bad and unpredictable temper?
    -hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
    -threaten to take your children away or harm them?
    -threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
    -force you to have sex?
    -destroy your belongings?
      Your Partners Controlling Behaviour
      Does your partner:
      -act excessively jealous and possessive?
      -control where you go or what you do?
      -keep you from seeing your friends or family?
      -limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
      -constantly check up on you?
        Common Misconception About Domestic Abuse:
        Physical violence is just one form of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse takes many forms, including psychological, emotional, and sexual abuse. These types of abuse are less obvious than physical abuse, but that doesn’t mean they’re not damaging. In fact, these types of domestic abuse can be even more harmful because they are so often overlooked—even by the person being abused. 
        Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse often is combined with physical abuse... Or it can lead up to it. Emotional abuse serves the purpose of tearing down the person's esteem, confidence, sense of independence, etc. The person begins to feel that they are nothing, maybe it is their fault, and that they without the spouse/abuser, they have nothing. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Additionally, abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence.  
        Sexual abuse:  According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, between one-third and one-half of all battered women are raped by their partners at least once during their relationship. Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. Furthermore, women whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed.

        Economic or financial abuse: Remember, an abuser’s goal is to control you, and he will frequently use money to do so. Economic or financial abuse includes:

        -Stealing from you or taking your money.
        -Rigidly controlling your finances.
        -Withholding money or credit cards.
        -Making you account for every penny you spend.
        -Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).
        -Restricting you to an allowance.
        -Preventing you from working or choosing your own career.
        -Sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly)

        General Signs of Domestic Abuse:

        People who are being abused may: 

         -Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner. Go along with everything their partner    says and does. -Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing. -Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner. -Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness. -Warning signs of physical violence

        People who are being physically abused may:

        -Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents.” 
        -Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation. 
        -Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long ------sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors). 
        -Warning signs of isolation 
          People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
           -Be restricted from seeing family and friends. 
           -Rarely go out in public without their partner. 
           -Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car. 
           -The psychological warning signs of abuse 
            People who are being abused may:
             -Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident. 
             -Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing woman becomes    withdrawn). 
             -Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal.

                Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse
                Do's and Don't's
                -Do: Ask. Express concern. Listen and validate. Offer help. Support her decisions.
                -Don’t: Wait for her to come to you. Judge or blame. Pressure her. Give advice. Place conditions on your support.

                If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the woman might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save her life.Talk to the person in private and let her know that you’re concerned about her safety. Point out the things you’ve noticed that make you worried. Tell her that when and if she wants to talk about it, you’re there for her. Reassure her that you’ll keep whatever she tells you between the two of you, and let her know that you’ll help in any way you can. Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. Abused and battered women are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they have often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.

                Beloved, if any of this strikes a chord within you, I sincerely hope you remove yourself from that situation. No one has the right to control you, hit you, or take anything from you. Its not love. Its not love. THAT'S NOT LOVE! And you aren't helping them by protecting them, by staying with them, by allowing this to continue on... No, it isn't your fault. Its not... You don't deserve what's happening to you... But if you continue to stay... You become an enabler. You too are at fault, now. Don't let anyone tear you down. You don't need him (or her), regardless to what they're telling you. Leave before its too late. Find the courage and strength that I KNOW lies within you... You're not alone, dear sister... I am you. I've been there... Know that there are people who love and care about you.

                Love and strength to you, beloved. 


                1. Thank you for posting this, dear heart. I like how you touched on ALL forms of it because many people don't recognize emotional abuse or the signs of it. I know I still bear my inner scars.

                  Abuse in ANY FORM is wrong, male on female or female on male, female on female and even male on male.

                  This is sooo prevalent in our society, light should be shed on it, not swept under the rug.

                  SO MANY are shamed into silence and I feel that if more people are willing to be so candid as yourself and share their experiences to one another, it can be discussed more openly and more can seek help.

                  Again, thank you! <3

                2. telling story sis. powerful piece.