The definition of abuse has been somewhat of a controversial topic for as long as it's been discussed. Probably because there are a lot of definitions for a term that is incredibly broad, as there isn’t one way in which someone can be abused in a family, relationship, or otherwise.
Recently, in a movement started by Zahira Kelly on Twitter, women are taking a new stance on the idea of abuse, and beginning to share their stories regarding abuse that is more than being hit, rather, examining the damage caused by emotional and mental abuse.
If you’ve been in an emotionally abusive relationship, you know the exact feeling that the tweets with the hashtag #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou are talking about.
You’ve never been hit physically by your partner, but you go out to see your friends and a screaming session ensues the moment that you get home. Trips you take to the store are met with constant questions as to whether or not you’re meeting up with somebody, his text messages are constantly blaring up on your phone. Your group of friends begins to rapidly disappear as he becomes the sole captain of your life, controlling your every action, and becoming your own personal puppetmaster.
Or maybe, the abuse comes in the opposite form. Maybe he tortures you for giving him attention, making you crave and beg for him instead of simply loving you equally. You are made out to be the wild one instead, and his physiological grip on your mind becomes a running joke amongst his friends, as you are made out to be “just another crazy girlfriend”.
You keep trying to leave, but it’s like the moment that you set your foot out the door, he waves his fingers out and offers you familiarity, comfort, and safety. He tells you that he’s sorry. He backs off. He pulls you closer. You think you’re falling for him again, but you’re really just falling more into his trap, deeper and deeper, again and again. Before you know it, you’re being abused, mentally and emotionally.
But so many people refuse to take abuse like that seriously, claiming that he is simply overprotective or really cares about you. However, there is a fine line between being overly caring, and being overly power hungry, which is the line that emotional and mental abusers tend to dance upon.
The whole intention of the #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou movement is to shed light on the idea that EVERY kind of abuse should be discouraged, recognized, and made out to be just as wrong as physical abuse. Your mind should not be made into a playground for anyone besides you, and being tormented inside of your own head is often just as bad as being subjected to the abuse of the outside world. Emotional abuse does not make you weak. It does not make you hypersensitive or immature.
It makes you a real human being, with feelings that do not deserve to be infringed upon.
So the next time you tell yourself that everything is okay, because of course, he doesn’t hit you, take a step back…
Is a physical scar really the worst mark that a human can leave?
Poulson is an editor for The Millennial Times.