Inside an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
By Brittany, age 15, North Carolina
I was in a year-long emotionally abusive relationship. This is my story.
I met Chris on the bus my freshman year. I liked his gorgeous blue eyes and the way he could make me laugh. He soon became my boyfriend and my first real high school love. We would fight, but that was normal. It wasn't until it got really bad that I began to realize that crying on a daily basis wasn't good, especially because this guy was constantly hurting my feelings.
Chris would call me crazy and belittle my appearance. He'd even say awful things about how I couldn't be trusted and how I was supposedly sleeping with the whole school. Soon enough I was hurting so deeply inside that I didn't know what to do. We had been dating for a year. Is this how love is supposed to feel? I often questioned myself. I'd tell myself that if this is what love really felt like then I didn't want to be in love.
Downstream in time I realized that as much as I'd hoped it was going to work it never would. I broke up with Chris. It has made me a stronger person inside, a stronger woman. He's found another girl and they are happy together. I'm even happy for him. I've found the guy I think can make it happen for me again, and he's shown me that not all guys are jerks. But he's also shown me that you must be careful whom you give your heart to. I can now say I'm stronger and more willing to fight for myself. Now that I look back on it I'm so happy I had that experience. It has opened my eyes to so much.
So what's the deal?? No one intends to be in an abusive relationship, but people who were abused by a parent are more likely to behave like that towards someone else. People who are abused often struggle with feelings of powerlessness, hurt, fear, and anger. Ironically the abusers struggle with these same feelings. People who abuse others are also likely to live in or be raised in emotionally abusive environments. They learn to be abusive as a way to help with their own feelings, like powerlessness, hurt, fear, and anger. People who are abusing others may be attracted to people who see themselves as helpless or do not have an ounce of self-esteem. This lets the abuser feel better and in control, and avoid dealing with his or her own feelings.
Emotionally abused people can become so convinced by the person abusing them that they are worthless that they believe no one else could want them. They stay in abusive places and with abusive people because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their biggest fear is being all alone.
If you suspect you're in an emotionally abusive relationship try answering these questions:
-Does he call you names?
-Does he ignore your presence?
-Does he belittle you and put you down?
-Does he make hurtful jokes and back them up with "I was only kidding"?
-Does he ridicule you or make you feel dumb or stupid?
-Does he put down your dreams, hobbies, and interests?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, especially if these things happen repeatedly, then you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Seek help from a parent, teacher, religious leader, adult you trust, school counselor, or mental health care professional.
If you have more questions here are some places to go:
Also, search phrases like emotionally abusive teen relationship
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