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Am I Minimizing My Situation?

by Steph
(Tennessee )

Thank you for this opportunity. I have an appointment with a counselor set up, but it's not for another week.

I am a 44 year old female, who has been in a serious relationship for almost 5 yrs. I have ended this relationship. It was not easy because I had to make him leave, since I own my house. I ended this relationship after it became violent. He shoved me down twice and then drug me into the bedroom by my foot.

This has been the only significant violence towards me. Up until this point, I felt I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. What is missing from everything I read about abuse, is he did not isolate me, threaten me, and he was not extremely jealous.

We are both firefighters. I work with mostly men, yet he never said a word about it. He's never said mean things about my appearance or stated I was unlovable.

What he has done: he’s been emotionally unavailable, makes me feel crazy (gaslighting), treats me like a child, acts like he is always right, my feelings are insignificant and my ideas are insignificant. It’s as if I can't do anything right.

I felt something was wrong. I became depressed and my confidence had become so low that I was second guessing myself in situations I'm very familiar with. My days seemed to revolve around how I could make him happy.

I began to feel somehow afraid, but didn't understand why.

Since we have broken up, he has gotten counseling and has almost convinced me that things were not that bad and that we could work things out. I want to believe him.

My story is not so extreme, no horrible beatings, no outright calling me names, no threats to kill me.

Am I minimizing this situation?

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Nov 23, 2016
An Answer To Your Question
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi Steph

I think the answer to your question is yes. The type of abuse you describe can be extremely damaging, and even devastating to your self esteem, self worth and confidence.

This is what I'm referring to, as a direct quote from your submission: "he makes me feel crazy (gaslighting), treats me like a child, acts like he is always right, my feelings are insignificant and my ideas are insignificant."

This type of mental and emotional abuse can in some ways be even more damaging than physical abuse...because it's subtle, and causes the victim to question herself, just as you do in your story.

I'm glad you're getting counseling. Be aware that every counselor is a human being with his/her own biases. I strongly encourage you to find a counselor who takes this type of abuse seriously.

And regarding the chance of getting together with your former partner again, I recommend that you focus on yourself and your own counseling first. Otherwise, the abuse will probably resume, and the damage will continue.

In other words, heal the damage already done to you, before putting yourself at risk of more.

I hope this helps. Believe in yourself, Steph, and only allow relationships in which you are treated with the utmost respect at all times...that is a prerequisite for love.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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