Zahira Kelly, an artist and writer, started the #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou hashtag by sharing her and her friends’ experiences to demonstrate the nuances of emotional abuse.
The hashtag quickly caught on, apparently hitting a nerve for many women. The relatability factor is not shocking considering 1 out of 6 women are abused in their lifetimes (in South Africa).
These tweets highlight how subtle yet damaging emotional abuse can be, and particularly how it can sneak up on you. The scary and undeniable fact is, most emotionally abusive relationships escalate to physical.
These women shared their experiences to show the many ways abuse can manifest.
There are many misconceptions about what clarifies as emotional abuse, which is expected when there are even misunderstandings about what counts as physical abuse. The truth is both usually start out slowly, until full blown abuse becomes normalized.
The victim usually justifies each escalating action until these actions seem normal, leaving the abuser to not even need to defend themselves, as the abused has already done that for them. This is not surprising as abusive partners tend to use tactics like isolation, criticism (to break down self-esteem and make the victim doubt themselves), guilt-tripping, constant tab-keeping and score-keeping.
Aside from that there are misconceptions about who the above happens to. Not strong women that’s for sure. However, psychologists often remark that most abusive partners seek partners who are particularly strong-minded and outgoing. They seek women like this because they see them as something to tame. It’d be no fun going hunting and killing a mouse would it?
The particulars of controlling and abusive relationships are nuanced and protected by the victim’s tendency to justify on behalf of their partner. Many of us have either experienced such a relationship ourselves, and if not, certain elements of these relationships we can relate to- whether it’s our own, or someone we know.
I usually find that when there is a questioning about crossing someone’s imaginary boundaries or unwritten rules, you are probably treading a very thin line between accommodating a personality and fearing your partner.
For example, being scared to go out with friends/being scared to say the wrong things constantly/change anything about yourself/talk to someone he doesn’t know (i.e are walking on eggshells).
If the above ring a bell, please read this list of the characteristics of abusive men.
Feature image via pinterest/trendhunter.com