DEFINE SPOUSAL ABUSE
Spousal abuse is any form of abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by a spouse to another. It can be physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and coercion, and reproductive coercion. The effects of spousal abuse go beyond the immediate physical injuries, the victim may suffer from eating disorder, insomnia, gastrointestinal disturbances, generalized chronic pain, devastating mental health problems, like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Marriage is an institution established under the values of love, respect, commitment, selflessness, trustworthy, and transparency. Lack of any of these values cause an instability of this institution. Every relationship has its ups and downs, there’s moments of excitement and closeness, and there’s periods when you feel distant or frustrated with each other, especially when you experience rough patches. Couples often do nothing about this, and assume that they’ll pass without making a long-term dent in the relationship. This is time to go for therapy, before bad habits begin to cement, and followed by resentment and anger.
It is advisable to go for therapy when you are excited and address the problems that led to being frustrated with each other. This yields better results than being counselled while you are still frustrated with each other, and tend to focus more on the negatives and forget the positives in your relationship, because you are clouded by anger.
You must go for therapy when you are not feeling much loved. A loving person recognizes the needs. He needs someone who cares at least about him, who truly sees and hears him. A loving person is a responsible person. There is no greater responsibility in the world than being a human being. Once your partner stops being a human being and begin to act like a vicious animal, then it’s time to go for therapy, and if therapy don’t work – call it quits, pack your bags and go. Love is dead. Kierkegaard says, “To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity.”
Sexual unhappiness is the most common reason partners cheat or seek therapy. When there’s lack of intimacy a partner who has more appetite may feel rejected, while the other may feel pressured. Couples often avoid to discuss this problem, and they can feel embarrassing, frustrating or frightening. When you are not communicating well, one partner does not feel heard, and this could cause conflicts. Try to be more of a listener than a problem solver. When every conversation turns into a conflict you must go for therapy.
When one partner has an affair, the endless charts and texting or posting on social media may result into inappropriate emotional intimacy or become physical, another partner may think of breaking up. Therefore you must go for therapy before you take drastic decisions, although there are times the relationship simply doesn’t function smoothly, and a breakup becomes the only option.
KNOW YOU ARE IN AN EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Domestic violence is escalating at an alarming rate. According to research four women die everyday in South Africa alone, and three out of the four are killed by their spouse or partner. This happens across every race, culture or religion. Spousal abuse may not involve violence, hitting, shoved, called names or cussed out. You may feel unbalanced and confused about the relationship. Most of the time it is done so silently that even the victim may not be aware the he/she is abused. This is a psychological abuse, which is widely known as mental or emotional abuse. Psychological invalidation is the most lethal form of emotional abuse. It kills confidence, creativity and individuality.
Emotional abuse occurs when your spouse or partner tries to control information available to you and use it to manipulate your view of what is acceptable and unacceptable. It involves strong emotionally manipulative utterances and threats with the aim of forcing you to comply with the abuser’s wishes. Your self-esteem is stripped away, living you feeling helpless and hopeless. The abuser will make an effort to convince you that the abuse is your fault, to an extent that you also believe that you are responsible for what happened. He/she will often buy you presents after an abuse incident.
The abuser will twist everything you say, denying the obvious and what you say, making you doubt your memory, perception, and sanity. He will make you believe that he’s doing everything because he/she loves you, and he/she is the only person that loves you, and you don’t deserve better treatment.
Emotional abuse is used to gain power and control in a relationship. It may take a number of forms, like being embarrassed and humiliated, put down, criticised, ignored, extramarital affairs, mocked, use of sarcasm and unpleasant tone of voice , jokes constantly making fun of you, accused of everything, being isolated from friends and family, use of money to control you and dominate, jealousy, constant calling and texting when you’re not with him/her, and threatening suicide if you leave him/her. The effects of emotional abuse are very traumatic, and you can experience anxiety, depression, chronic pain, PTSD, and even substance abuse issues.
Most of the time the abusers are people who are respected by the public or community, because they portray a false image in public. It is important not to expose your insecurities as the abuser always use them against you. It is not your fault that you are abused. This person doesn’t love nor respect you. Abusers never change. So please leave, get counselling and rebuild your self-esteem. Never look back.
Many people, especially women are dying of loneliness, feel anxious and unfulfilled, even in seemingly close relationships. They stay in these relationships because of fear of being alone, yet they are lonely. You can be alone and never feel loneliness. They hope for the situation to change. This is gambling your happiness and security for a doubtful future. If you are not happy where you are please change, life is too short.