A member in our group worked PT out of the house and a good portion of her day at home was also spent the computer. Her husband of 12 years worked a 40 hour week job. Let me say that he is absolutely drop dead gorgeous with a phenomenal sense of humor, and his charismatic personality makes him very popular. He is also an unrepentant flirt, which I'll get to later.
Sadly, this seemingly perfect man was abusing his wife emotionally and mentally on a daily basis, and no one suspected it. No matter what time he came home, dinner was expected and it had to be served to him despite it being on a plate in the microwave waiting to be heated up for a mere 2 minutes. He then bellowed, "Beer!" to his wife as she tried to eat her dinner, rather than getting up to get it himself.
Once he was done eating, it was her job to gather his plate to be washed, while he watched television or texted on Facebook/Twitter via his phone. When she asked him why he felt the need to spend his time on his phone for most of the night, he quickly raised his voice to tell her she was insecure and what he did with his phone was his business.
She has heard voice mails from women who have called him, saw text messages that were inappropriate, and heard him whispering on the phone when he thought she was sleeping. She was approached by at least 3 women who insisted that he was coming on to them, and while they liked the attention at first, simply wanted it to stop.
Further attempts to tell him to stop cheating and to treat her with respect fall on deaf ears as he insists she's a delusional bitch. When they go out in public, he never fails to say something derogatory to make her look bad, masking it as a joke. Every innocent comment she made in most instances started a verbal war of degradation, until she eventually remained silent to maintain some peace. She bravely communicated that he's an abusive narcissist who only cares about himself and refuses to be accountable for his actions. His response was that he's not abusive because he never hit her. In addition, he's convinced his family and even a few of her friends that my friend is a liar and crazy, Thankfully she found this group.
My friend, who for privacy's sake, must remain anonymous, slowly took the necessary steps to end this roller coaster relationship as she realized her needs were important, and included having her lock changed. She's afraid of being alone, and even more in fear of the financial burden she'll soon face. When she started this group, her self esteem was at an all time low, and she cried more times that we could count. It saddened us to observe this broken woman struggle to hold her head up.
Being gaslighted, cheated on repeatedly, physically harmed, sexually assaulted, having finances withheld, using your kids against you, or being a victim of gender inequality are all forms of domestic violence, and attempts to control you.
Are these things happening and you're at your wits end? You are not alone and there is support available. Speak to a pastor, or someone else you trust. There are also domestic shelters that are open 24 hours a day to offer guidance. We can also be reached by email to participate in our group. We offer support, guidance, food and fun activities. If you get away today, or if you're not able to get away safely for another year, don't doubt that it is possible to get your life back.
If you're not being abused and reading this story, you may feel it makes no sense and that the woman or man should just...leave, but it's never that simple or easy. Some of you may even say it's her/his fault. A victim is NEVER at fault despite what you may have heard. Try to offer your love, support or simply a shoulder to cry on.
Love should NEVER hurt.