A woman can be battered without punches. There are many ways to humiliate her, denigrate her, destroy her. With insults, silence, psychological abuse, pressure, oppression, there are numerous means to tell her she is not worth anything, without even touching her.
A bruise is a physical proof of the abuse and it makes it easier to expose, but when there is no evidence, the abuse can last a long time without being noticed, even by the victim.
Some men feel they have the right to tell “their” women how to look. One of their favorite weapons is to criticize our physical appearance. In their eyes, we are either too fat, or not “meaty” enough, we dress either too sexy or like a nun, too much make-up or not enough, the hair is too short or too long.
A guy I dated once got mad at me because he thought the skirt I was wearing was too short and I looked too sexy and was too flirtatious. I quickly sent him to hell. But I’ve seen, with horror, women change their clothes to please their guys. I heard a guy shame his wife in public because she was too fat.
They torture us by criticizing our bodies and making comparisons with other women. Someone I was with used to compare me with his ex-girlfriend and she was of course, way better than me, according to him. They use comparison to denigrate us and “put us in our place”. So we learn not to be “stuck up”.
I have an advice: if the guy you are dating doesn’t like your face, your body, or how you dress, LEAVE HIM! He will never stop criticizing you. It is a manipulating tool.
In a lot of couples I know, the priority is the career of the husband and nobody questions that. The woman’s job is complimentary, something to keep us busy and contribute to the home’s economy. If it’s low profile and doesn’t get a lot of attention, even better.
A high percentage of highly qualified women with prominent jobs pay the high visibility in the office with an unfaithful husband at home.
The career of the man is worth all the family’s sacrifices. Men have careers, women have jobs. Even when the woman makes more money than the man, which is increasingly more frequent these days, the career of the husband takes priority.
Often, when this happens, the man adopts a very critical attitude, ready to find any possible “fault”. Women have to prove that they can do it all without making any mistakes, which is obviously impossible. Also because, the domestic work and childcare is still our responsibility. No matter how hard we work outside the house, we still carry the burden of domestic work for the most part.
Humor with darts
We are belittled with jokes that are supposed to be harmless and funny, but that in reality are darts meant to break us into pieces. “You run like a little girl” “You have no idea how to drive a car” “You will never learn to add 2+2”.
That’s another strategy, to make us believe that we are not good at anything, that we look ridiculous by trying. To make us feel we are incompetent at home and/or at work. Talking to us like little girls is another way of putting us down.
Ignoring what is important for us. If you are with someone who never asks how you are feeling, or what is important to you, or what your goals and priorities are in life, start running!
Often, conversations turn around what is important for him, not for her. We asume that for a “good” woman her priority is and should be the wellbeing of everyone around her but herself.
The problem is that a lot of these attitudes are the result of what is accepted and reinforced by religion, traditional family values, and the culture in which we grew up. We think it is normal for guys to talk to us like girls and to be made fun of. We are used to thinking that being docile and selfless is a feminine virtue.
Emotional abuse leaves invisible and profound marks. It takes away our self-esteem, the faith we have in ourselves, and the desire to live. We have to break the myth of the docile woman and leave relationships that hurt us.
Are you in a relationship that makes you feel insecure and worthless? Share your story.