My body trembled head to toe as the sound of his voice pierced my ears. His glaring eyes seared straight into me, the silent yet menacing threat that I had no choice but to obey. The venom hung in the air, and I felt my sense of security evaporate as if it were smoke dissipating away among scattered memories of what used to be a lifetime ago.
No matter how hard I might have tried, there was no escape - the walls seemed to crumble further away with every step closer I took towards him. I could feel my stomach turn inside out, my heart pounding faster and faster, but I knew nothing I said or did would make any difference. I prayed for an answer, some kind of way out of this ghastly nightmare, yet I was met with a heartless and indefinite silence to which I could no longer bear.
My partner was abusing me, and I didn’t know what to do.
The abuse can take many forms, and it often begins without warning. It may start with a condescending tone or an off-handed comment that causes you to start questioning your own worth. It can even begin with innocuous gifts that are bought for you to buy your love or make you feel guilty for not being enough.
Even subtle forms of psychological abuse can leave long-lasting scars, and verbal and physical abuse obviously cause a great deal of suffering. As your partner’s behaviour becomes gradually more controlling and less loving, it can be very challenging for you to come to terms with the fact that you’re in a dangerous and damaging situation.
At times like these it’s easy to be overcome by fear and confusion, yet it’s important to remember that you have options: no one should have to experience abuse of any kind and there is help available so you don’t have to go through it alone.
The first step is to talk to someone. If you’re able to, speak to family and friends who you trust, as well as qualified professionals who can offer advice and support. They can provide a safe space for you to talk about your situation, and often just the act of speaking can be incredibly liberating. This is especially true if you’re struggling to open up and explain what is going on.
It’s also important to stay safe, as abusers oftentimes try to control or monitor their partners. That means exercising caution when using your phone, computer, or other devices, and notifying authorities or people who can keep you safe. Depending on the type of abuse, there are also organisations and hotlines you can call for assistance.
Finally, it’s necessary to consider the next steps. It is not easy to leave an abusive partner, and it should only be done when you feel ready and comfortable. You may decide to give therapy a go, or alternatively seek professional help to draw up a protection or restraining order. If it comes to it, there is always the option to walk away.
No one deserves to be abused, and once you realise that, it’s time to take action. By reaching out and seeking help, you can start the process of liberating yourself from the psychological and emotional clutches of an abusive partner. Though a painful and often terrifying journey, you will emerge with a more profound understanding of yourself, one that will prove to be more powerful than the bonds of the past.
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