What comes to mind when I say the words “domestic violence”? Black eyes, bruises, split lip, broken bones, dislocated shoulder, yellowing contusions and the like, right? While these are visible signs of domestic abuse, there are subtle, manipulative, and more menacing signs that are not visible to the naked eye. And these are instances of emotional and mental abuse.
Emotional abuses are master manipulators who use words, subtly placed barbs, jibes, and even insidious behaviors to control and tear down their victims. This underhanded abuse that doesn’t leave any visible marks on a person is what makes emotional abuse all the more threatening and dangerous.
New hashtags #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou and #MaybeSheDoesntHitYou have surfaced on Twitter, and an outpouring of responses from emotional abuse survivors from all over the world has come forth. The power of social media has once again come to the fore, for the good, and helping these survivors stand united against their abusers. This is a very effective platform to help spread the word that emotional abuse is probably more dangerous than physical abuse, and that both men and women can be victims of it.
Suggested read: 20 definite signs of emotional abuse in a relationship
The hashtag was created by Dominican-American writer Zahira Kelly, and talking to BBC Trending, she said,
“Abuse is often seen as very cut and dry, and only physical. For several years now on social media, on a daily basis I talk about many different forms of abuse and what they look like.”
Further, she said, she wanted to let abused people know that they “were not imagining the horrible emotional and psychological effects of what you experienced. Even if it doesn’t qualify as abusive under common notions that only validate physical abuse, it’s still real and your pain is real. And you deserve so much better. We all do.”
Take a look at some of the tweets that were shared, where the survivors have expressed how they were emotionally abused:
#maybeHeDoesntHitYou but reminds you how worthless and lost you’d be without him
— punjab (@_Kirandeep_) May 2, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but critiques every little thing about you, is always enraged at you, gaslights you, makes you cry every day
— ✨cat✨ (@clharlos) May 2, 2016
#maybehedoesnthityou but he refuses to accommodate your mental health needs, cites ‘tough love’ + says you’re ‘strong’ enough to handle it
— akwaeke emezi (@azemezi) May 2, 2016
#maybehedoesnthityou but he throws tantrums, breaks things when you upset him as a reminder that he can break you just as easily.
— Jasmine Sanders (@JasMoneyRecords) May 2, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but his voice is always the only one to be heard and he makes the value of your opinions and feelings seem like nothing
— SM (@floreashelby) May 2, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but often tells you you’re overreacting or making problems up. #gaslighting #emotionalabuse
— AzureKingfisher (@Alcedo_Azurea) May 2, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he forces you to do sexual things that you don’t want to. Coaxes you into sexual favors because he “deserves it”.
— ♀ cosmic gurl ♀ (@M3gzz_) May 3, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but if you bring up how he’s hurt you, he’ll say you pointing out his behavior is the real harm
— Darling Brookie (@BrookeObie) May 8, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he uses your deepest darkest insecurities against you. The things you confided in him, in order to manipulate you
— YOUNG BOOZER (@sunfIIower) May 8, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he belittles your mental illness and makes you feel terrible about things you cannot control
— gianna (@glow_for_it) May 8, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he makes you feel like all your emotions are stupid and makes you apologize for them
— lindsay (@sloppybankroll) May 9, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he makes sure you believe that you’re too broken/damaged to ever be wanted by anyone else
— Just Juanita (@Just_Juanita) May 9, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but you avoid saying or doing things because you don’t want to have to deal with how he might react.
— Jennifer Hodgson (@jennifer_hodg) May 9, 2016
#maybehedoesnthityou but you need his approval for everything and he treats you like property and not a person
— Keegan Kenzie (@Keegannnnn) May 9, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he brings up ur mental illness during fights to invalidate ur concerns w his behavior & put the ultimate blame on u
— bby brch (@jersing) May 9, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but when you try to tell him how he makes you feel, it becomes what you did wrong & you walk away guilty & invalidated
— Claire Batchelder (@batch_elder) May 12, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he invalidates your feelings when you try to confront him, and tells you it’s all in your head
— morgan (@veggiexprincess) May 12, 2016
#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he decides who u see socially, when & where, makes you feel insecure about your body, controls your $ & puts u down
— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) May 12, 2016
Featured image source: Twitter