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Emotional Abuse, or just anger?

Updated on January 26, 2013
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I never knew the true meaning of emotional abuse, until I experienced the horror myself. I thought I was intelligent, and strong enough not to feel I deserved it, but I guess, like anyone, I was manipulated in to it. I guess I was feeling weak at the time. Shortly after my mom died, I became, fast, "best friends" with this guy, who I'll call Jamie. (Of course, not his real name) He was extremely intelligent, he had frighteningly accurate insight, and was very good at telling me: "It doesn't matter how people say things, other's will react the same way no matter how it's communicated, weather nicely, or in anger." Makes sense, I thought at the time.

Around that time, I learned from him that he, had a problem with being emotional abusive at times. I thought to myself: "yeah, that's a big problem, but I'm not going to experience it. He loves me more than his own family, I'm his "best friend" I do everything for him, he knows it. I'm the one who's always there for him, and we're not even intimately involved......I'm different, I'll be a hero, I'll help him..." Boy, was I wrong. How delusional we can be in these situations. I'm not even qualified to try to help. Then that very night, we were on the phone, talking about the book by Eckard Tolle, "The Power of Now". He had strongly recommended it to me, the month before. I got it, but guess I wasn't ready to read it at the time, so I didn't. All of a sudden he said " You're a coward!!" and not with a normal anger. I thought he was kidding so I laughed, and naturally defended my self with; "no I'm not", well he absolutely detested anyone who was defensive in the least, accused everyone of being that, and I defended myself, all the while thinking he was kidding. Because no one in my sheltered little world, would ever seriously treat someone with such venomous, loathing anger in their voice, hatred, and again, not in the way normal anger comes out, or even a temper. It was almost as if he was suddenly possessed. I realized he was serious. I was in shock, got very quiet, said little, and got off the phone.

The next day he came over, for a late lunch, and it was as if nothing happened. But I was still somewhat in shock. Didn't quite know how to handle the situation, so didn't at the time. The very next day, again over the phone, he ripped in to me (I don't recall what it was about) so badly, that it was as if I murdered his whole family. This time I did try to calm him, explain myself etc. I was hysterical crying, wanted, desperately to get off the phone but he didn't want me to, and he implored me to stay on the phone, while he tore in to me. I then tried to tell myself that he was hurting, he had, had a very dificult life, and so on.

I made excuses for him, his anger to friends, and to myself. Completely thinking of him, instead of myself. It was so bad, that later that night I couldn't stop crying, and I was up much of the night crying. The next day, I could barely function at work, was very quiet, and couldn't stop thinking about it. I felt physically ill. I came home at about 4:30 and slept for two or three hours. He then called me later that evening, as he usually did, and I wasn't ready to talk to him, so I just played sick...or told him I wasn't feeling well. "Is something bothering you?" He immediately, almost snapped at me (he knew he was guilty of something), I told him of course not, that I just wasn't feeling well, was tired, and that I'd talk with him the next day.

Things calmed down and I didn't experience him being possessed again for months. We had lots of laughs, insitefull, and deep conversations, he always called me his "BFF". (Bext friend in text) and I thought he was mine. I loved him like family. As is common, he had come from a very emotionally abusive background, himself. So some months later, he needed to borrow some money from me, so his cable wouldn't be shut off. He, was at that point, out of work and practically desolate. Sporadically I had lent him small amounts of money through the months. Anyway, I said yes, then he had the nerve to ask me to go out and deposit the money in to his bank, which was right up the street from me granted, because he was 15 minutes away at his girlfriends and didn't want to leave. What?? Wait a minute, wasn't it me, who was about to lend him the money? So I should further be inconvenienced, to then, drive to his bank and deposit the money for him?? At that point I was in sweats, it was night, and I was all relaxed, and not in the mood to go out again. I told him to come get it the next day. He said he couldn't for some reason, and that he heeded the money by the morning. How am I in this situation, I wondered.

He had a key to my apartment (Yeah, I'm an idiot) which he only used when I'd say something like "go to my apartment, and I'll be home in a few..." I said to him that I'd leave the money on the dining table for him in an envelope with his name on it, for tomorrow, and that he could pick it up when he wanted to. (I would be leaving for work early, which he knew). He agreed to that.

The next morning, we were texting back and forth, and I felt I had to mention that I had thought it was unfair of him to ask me, who was lending him money, to then, go further and deposit in to his account. What, do I work for him? Well, with that he went in to a rage, calling me every curse word known to man, and said that he wasn't an "inconvenience", and that the friendship was over. I then texted him to please mail me back my key. (I was pissed, by now) He told me that I could shove the key up my ____ (fill in the blank) and with that I turned my phone off, as I was at work, and didn't want to read any more of his uncontrollable rage.

Later, while I was on my lunch break, I turned on my phone, to find, not only repeated angry, venomous, hatefull texts, but also a few voice mail messages. For someone who I normally saw as so warm, loving, and seemingly caring, he would, at these times, turn to a completely different person. One of his texts said something to the effect of; "You were supposed to be my bff, my rock..." (He would sometimes call me his "rock") That one broke my heart. I knew his history, how badly he'd been hurt, and I began to feel sad. I didn't want to lose this person. I thought, at the time that I had never had a friend like him before. I realize now, that, that wasn't because he was so wonderful, it was because I had never opened myself up to anyone before, and just happened to be ready to at that time. Me, who never begs anyone for anything, found myself begging him for his friendship back. I apologize profusely (even though, I still believed I was right) through both a text, and a voice mail message. He finally had calmed down, and texted me, not to worry about it, that he'd call later. The next night I was telling the guy I'd been seeing at the time, and again, was "excusing" Jamie for his behavior. The guy I'd been seeing, even thought I was right, but he tried to understand how I felt. I now feel like an idiot for making excuses for his behavior to so many friends. "But the poor victim..." is basically what I was saying.

Months went by, my life had changed drastically. I had quit my job of 22 years, registered for school full time, and while it was exciting, it was also very scary for me. He knew this. I no longer had as much time for the friendship, was meeting a lot of different, really good people, and was second guessing weather I even wanted the friendship any more. I finally thought of myself, and got sort of figuratively slapped, and realized; "wholy crap, I don't deserve his treatment!" I suddenly realized how manipulated, not only I was, but that his current girlfriend was, and all his past, relationships.

He began to pick up on the fact that I was avoiding him, so we spoke, I said to him; "Jamie, I refuse to tolerate any of your emotional abuse anymore, that if I ever experience it again, that, that was it. I'll just walk away from this friendship, not turning back." He tried to defend himself by saying; "J. (my name is Jacy) you know I can't control it..." "Well you'll have to with me" I said. Anyway, we argued some more, I decided that we could't see eye to eye, but that I wanted to try and make the friendship work. (I knew, though, that if I ever heard his rage again, towards me, that, that would be it. The friendship would be over, and it wouldn't be open for further discussion)

A few months later, I spoke to him honestly and answered a question he asked me, honestly. (which he wasn't prepared to hear) This all had something to do with he and his on and off again girlfriend, constantly breaking up, and getting back together. At that point he was acting like a child, and I no longer had it in me to "mother" him, I no longer cared. I suppose he felt a rage coming over him, (we were on the phone at the time) I was yelling at him, and he just hung up. I really, at that point, didn't even care any more. He later texted me with how much I'd hurt him... and I never texted, or called him back, I've since had my locks changed, and I've never turned back. Once the friendship was over, I felt so freed. Like I could breathe again. In a sence I felt renewed.

This is a tough issue. I don't wish it on anyone. The most unsuspecting people can fall victim. Usually in a time of need, vulnerability, desire for something, weakness. But I suggest to anyone who, either is currently, or finds themselves, in the situation:

1) Take a step back for a minute.

2) Try to be as objective as possible

3) And realize that whatever your situation; No it is not unique. If it's emotionally abusive, then there's something wrong, and it's not up to us, (the abusee's) to fix it. The abuser has to want to, and it can't be done alone. (meaning they need therapy, by someone qualified)

4) Stop making excuses for the abuser!! No one deserves it! No One!!

5) The person being abused/ the abusee, needs to get help, from a qualified professional. Don't think you can handle it yourself. Get help.

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    • albertsj profile image
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      jacy albertson 5 years ago from Pittsfield, Ma

      Aw, thanks Sherri. "Important" "Yummy" are just some of the button's I wish we had. It becomes so hard to recognize emotional abuse...or realy what we do is keep making excuses for it. Glad I'm free, of it. I'm going to check out your hub later on. I'm very interested.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Jacy, I was very touched by your story. Like many, I'm sure, who read it, I can identify with you. Abuse isn't always recognizable at first, as you so eloquently described, and there are many reasons for this inability to see clearly, one of which is an incomplete understanding of what constitutes abuse. I wrote a Hub a while ago called Resources for Understanding the Abusive Relationship. You may find it interesting and your readers may find it helpful. Voted your Hub up and interesting...I wish "important" were a vote option. ~Sherri

    • albertsj profile image
      Author

      jacy albertson 5 years ago from Pittsfield, Ma

      Hey Ardie,

      It took me months before I stood up for myself. And you're right; we always think, "I'm too smart for this" till some of find ourselves in said situation. Not much is known about emotional abuse. I believed that everything he was saying to me, despite how it was being communicated, was true. Can ya' believe? Well I am sooooo glad, that I finally got out, and I will not ever, tolerate that crap again from anyone, no matter how much I think I care about them. You're very smart for recognizing those things. : )

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      Wow, J. I was reading and reading and the more I got into your writing my jaw just dropped! Isnt it scary how fast we can find ourselves in a situation we never thought was possible? "I'm smart - this wont happen to me" or "Im a strong woman - I would know it before it got to that point". Sadly too many of us are kind and sensitive and hope to see the best in a person. Most of the time it works out but every once in a while you can come across someone who looks for those kind people to take advantage of them. Im so glad you stood up for yourself and found your way out of this messy web.

    • albertsj profile image
      Author

      jacy albertson 5 years ago from Pittsfield, Ma

      Hi Tammy, thank you, I too am glad to have gotten out of the friendship. If it helps anyone else, I'd be extatic.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I am glad you had the mental strength to know you had to get away. I hope this will help women everywhere find the courage to get out of a similar situation. Well done!

    • albertsj profile image
      Author

      jacy albertson 5 years ago from Pittsfield, Ma

      Hey Linda, I definitely learned from it, and am glad to be freed. Thanks for the comment!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you for sharing your story Jacy. It sounds like you learned from it. Hopefully others will also. Any type of abuse sucks!!

    • albertsj profile image
      Author

      jacy albertson 5 years ago from Pittsfield, Ma

      Thank you, Nicola Tweedie. And, you, like me, probably thought you'd NEVER be in a relationship like that. I was torn at the time of it because he was so otherwise, so warm, & loving, and caring. But I realized that he was nothing but selfish. That all he did was take, take take, from me, and never did he give back emotionally. EVER. But he did a damn good job, talking about how wonderful he was, & what a good friend he could be...and the sad, sick part of it was that I believed him! It was actually very easy for me to lose his friendship. To walk away from it. I guess you could say I no longer needed it. And it was my choice. I never mourned the loss of the friendship. I really didn't. I felt so freed, when it was over. But It's always harder in an intimate relationship. I felt my "best friend" (yeah right) was harmless physically, & he never once layed a hand on me, or I don't think anyone else. God, I hope yours didn't either. It's the type of volatile anger that, breaks you down so badly, that no one can possibly understand the situation, unless they've lived it. My heart goes out to you as well. Thank you for your comment.

    • Nicola Tweedie profile image

      Nicola Tweedie 5 years ago from East Sussex, United Kingdom

      Reading that took me back to a relationship I was in a few years back with a man who was very insecure. He did many of the things that you describe and we lived together for some time. It was awful - I can't describe it. Whatever kind of relationship you are in with people like this, it seems they love and hate (and fear) the intimacy and so you both tussle in an endless and exhausting struggle until the end. A wonderful woman helped me out of it and I am indebted to her in a way I can never replay, but it was tough as hell and my heart goes out to you.

    • albertsj profile image
      Author

      jacy albertson 5 years ago from Pittsfield, Ma

      Thank you Dadibobs! : ) I did live through it, am blissfully happy that it's over & have never turned back. Far too many feel they are to blame, they deserve/deserved it, and jusy keep making excuses for the abuser. Really there is never any excuse for it. Thanks for the comment! : )

    • dadibobs profile image

      dadibobs 5 years ago from Manchester, England

      Excellent hub, one which could only have been written by someone who has lived through this.

      Voted up and useful.

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