I Was A Victim Of Mental Abuse, And I Didn't Even Know It

I Was A Victim Of Mental Abuse, And I Didn't Even Know It

How can that be possible?

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I was a victim of mental abuse, and I didn't even know it.

When the realization set in, I was uneasy. I felt like the rug had been lifted up from under me. Had I been mentally abused?

It was a bright, fall day. The leaves were rustling around, the wind was howling through the buildings, and the trees were covered in bright, autumn colors.

My mind was wandering off, thinking about the relationship I was in that destroyed me mentally, and I didn't even notice. I was thinking about the days where I never knew why I felt the way I did. I never could point my finger as to why he had the power over my mind to alter my thoughts.

I realized I gave him the key to my mind.

I trusted this man in my life. I trusted that he had my best interest. I trusted that he was telling me the truth (for the most part). I trusted that he wanted the same thing as me. I trusted that he would love me. I trusted that he would take care of me. I gave him my all.

Until, I sat there staring out at this autumn day, wondering where I let him control my mind. He would tell me that I was never enough. He would tell me that I was far from perfect. He would tell me I needed to give him more of my love and trust. He would tell me I needed to assist him with everything in life or I wasn't a ride or die. He would argue his point until I genuinely would apologize thinking it was my fault. He altered my mind into thinking these things were normal.

These are just a few of the many, but ladies, take it from me, RUN.

Obviously, I was wrapped around his finger, caught in this awful mess. I was wondering how I let myself become a victim of mental abuse without even knowing it.

And that is why I am writing this.

No matter how bad or good you think a situation is, you need to make sure that is truly how it is. Many times, we find ourselves sacrificing our own values or ourselves when we find a significant other. Many couples get comfortable and view the relationship as "rocky" if this first occurs, but long-term we realize it is not OK. Whatsoever.

This is not OK because no one should be treated like this. No one in this world deserves to feel like a victim of mental abuse because they allowed another human being to drive them to this point in their mind.

When you start questioning who you are, who shaped you to be this way, and where you are headed, it is the key start.

Observing behaviors, talking out situations, and remembering your worth are some of the most important things. Although you may not think diminishing a person is mental abuse, it is.

Whether you are calling someone "not good enough" repeatedly or making them believe they are the issue, you need to realize that it is not OK.

No single human being should ever alter another person's mind and manipulate it into a mental abuse situation.

To all the victims of mental abuse, reach out for help because we are all human and it can happen to anyone, even if we are least expecting it.

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Was It Still Rape If I Said Yes?

We teeter on this thin gray line of what is rape and what isn't...and its hard.
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Rape, by definition, is a type of sexual assault that involves intercourse against or without the consent of another person.

By these concrete standards, it seems like rape is something that is painted in only black and white. However, these colors smear together and form a gray area that is unable to be fully distinguished. Is it mostly black? Or white? Or is it neither? I only thought about rape as being the act of being pinned down and forcibly penetrated by a criminal, having the tears stream down your face as they hold a gun to your temple. My naive nature has matured to show me that these rape incidents are not just from masked men in alleyways.

They are from fathers and mothers.

They are from boyfriends and girlfriends.

They are from best friends.

They are from brothers and sisters, classmates, teachers, tinder dates, team members, frat stars, youth group leaders, roommates, lovers, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

With the boisterous calls of survivors ringing out across the country, the urge to stay silent is diminishing and we begin to piece together the incidents of life. Rape is no longer defined as just intercourse without consent: it is intercourse with coercion, intercourse while intoxicated, intercourse with guilt, intercourse in exchange for power, intercourse without recollection.

With these new ideas, and that of the budding feminist idea of rape culture... we can't help but ask?

Was I raped?

These new ideas of non-consensual intercourse have people shouting rape from the hillsides. Now, I am not saying that these instances are not rape. That being said, what is rape for one person and consensual to another? How do people define this line, and how can we interpret it ourselves?

I personally will never admit to being raped, but with heavy reflection and consideration of these standards, I have been raped.

I have had boyfriends trick me into having sex when I was not ready.

I have had sex with people and not remembered the next day.

I have had sex where I cried and vomited from shame and disgust.

I have had sex not for pleasure, but for sheer boredom or pity.

I have had sex with people without protection... and my permission.

I have said yes to sex and not wanted to.

With all these considered, I would feel ashamed to say I am a survivor. Where does this leave the thousands of men and women who fall trapped in this gray space, hidden and silenced by the cries much louder than our own? We chose to stay quiet from shame, but can't speak up for fear of exclusion. How can we give ourselves closure, and reflect on events that have happened to us?

We go with our heart and say fuck these Wikipedia definitions.

If you feel like you were violated, then you were.

It doesn't matter what happened to another person: it's about your incident and how it affects your life, your growth, and your ability to move on. It took falling in love to realize this, and it will take the rest of my life to continue to fall in love with myself. But every day, I feel better, I feel whole, and you will too.

Cover Image Credit: Peter / Flickr

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The Real Reasons Women Don't Report Sexual Assault

Content warning: Sexual assault.

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These days in the United States, it is hard to get online and not see a headline of a woman coming forward telling her story of how she was sexually assaulted. You read the article and scroll through the comments underneath. Whether it happened last night, or 20 years ago, you'll probably see questions like these: "what was she wearing?" "was she drunk" "was she walking alone late at night?" If the rape didn't happen the night before, you'll probably see this question as well: "Well what took her so long to report?" Followed by an "I don't believe her, just another whore looking for attention." or.."He probably didn't call her back, so now she's looking for revenge." We can't forget my favorite, though "Was she drunk and just woke up regretting it?" Those are just a few reasons women don't report.

We see headlines about Brock Turner violently raping an unconscious girl, and getting sentenced only SIX MONTHS in jail. He only served three months. Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by three women, was appointed as Supreme Court Justice. Donald Trump, the President of the United States, sexualizes his own daughter and says things like "grab her by the pussy." The leader of the free world speaks about women like that. Are you still questioning why we don't come forward?

If you find a woman willing to open up about her experience with sexual assault, her story will probably sound something like this. First comes the shock, what you just went through is unfathomable. You're not even completely sure if what you think just happened, happened. You blame yourself, you go through every second kicking yourself for not fighting back harder, not yelling, and maybe kicking yourself for not saying anything at all. Denial sets in shortly after. You tell yourself "no, that wasn't rape. That couldn't happen to me."

Eventually, the pain sets in and there are a lot of tears. It sucks, the dreams, the flashbacks, even certain sounds will take you back to that moment. Sometimes it causes panic attacks and severe anxiety. You dissociate, you don't want to socialize, you don't want to go out and have fun, because you're scared you'll break down. When the anger sets in, though, that's a different story. No man stands a chance, especially those who resemble him. You are repulsed by everything men do, and you think it will never go away. Honestly, you pity the next man you fall for, if that even happens because you don't know how you'll be intimate again, both emotionally and physically.

The last thing a sexual assault survivor wants is to see the person who did it again. So that plays a huge part in not reporting, along with the trauma that comes with getting a rape kit and being interrogated by the police, as if you've done something wrong. Once you've been completely violated, having a stranger poke and prod you to make sure you're not pregnant or don't have an STD feels like a violation all over again.

Don't ever ask a woman why she didn't report and do not ever ask why it took so long. You don't know what courage it took to accept it come forward in the first place.

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