Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women, more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined. Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten. Domestic Violence takes on many forms; physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and intimidation to name a few.
The beginning of a relationship is called the honeymoon stage. I think we've probably all experienced it. Can you start by telling us what it was like for you.? How had you felt? What actions made you feel special and like you were the luckiest girl in the world?
He supported me and everything I did during that time. I enjoyed supporting his career as well. We had lots of trips. There was lots of admiration, love notes and all the things that a woman would want. He would send me a love note with a prayer. It was just quite the love story. People admired our relationship.
As it progressed, and it progressed quickly, there became more verbal abuse. Then, those of you who are going through this, or have gone through this, you know what happens next; you get the letter the next day, or the flowers. The next day you hear, "I'm sorry, you didn't deserve that. I didn't mean it." Those type of things. That was the beginning of when things got worse.
One thing that kept me there was: I took my vows seriously. During the abuse, I always I felt like I had one wing flapping, thinking I shouldn't be treated this way, but then I had another wing behind me saying, "For better. For worse. In sickness and in health."
He would degrade me. He wanted me to be a stay-at-home wife. Again, through counseling, I learned some things about that. He took me out of everyday life and separated me from other people. He would constantly throw out derogatory terms and call me derogatory names. And this is from someone who says they love you. I would get upset with him and then I would get a love note or sent flowers. So, you take that into your heart, words are powerful. You can't take them back, you can say, "I'm sorry," but you can't take them back. They're already embedded....
Included in this episode to discuss the aspects of domestic abuse is Lori Sutherland from the Women's Center located in Melbourne, Florida. Boundaries are healthy in many different relationships you have. I'm glad our counseling services gave you the tools to step by step, rebuild your self-esteem. Because that's key. You must rebound and realize that you are a strong person and admit to the manipulation. Earlier, when you were telling your story, you alluded to the fact that you were in denial, and you didn't want to say it out loud, you didn't want people to know, because victims quite often feel embarrassed, even though it's not their fault, they feel embarrassed. And quite often, they are coerced into believing that it's their fault. That is psychological manipulation.