Scars Speak

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What comes to mind when you read the word SCAR?

A scar can be left over from a surgery or a “trophy” on a veteran of war. It can be a reminder of a painful accident or a traumatic physical assault. And not all scars are visible to the eye. Sometimes we carry internal scars caused by wounds from a verbal assault, emotional or psychological damage.

“We’re stronger in the places we’ve been broken.” – Ernest Hemingway

One thing all scars have in common is they tell us that at some point in time, trauma occurred. They also tell us by their nature, the incident that caused the trauma happened in the past. The hurt may or may not remain, but the scar always does.

Some may look at their scars and be unaffected or even laugh because they don’t have any recollection of the actual incident. They may have had surgery and been under anesthesia. Or, they may have received their wound in an accident but their memory of the event has been erased.

There are some people, however, who have to look in the mirror and live with negative memories associated with their scars every day. They are the ones I’m writing about today. Scars caused by abuse, neglect or violence. Their scars are a constant and merciless reminder of pain. The relentless pain of hatred, rejection or violence against their person or spirit. Those memories summon our worst nightmares and haunt us with torment. Sometimes the scars taunt as if to say, “You deserved what you got” or “You’ll never be good enough. You’ve got the scars to prove it”. They are reminders of the powerlessness in abusive encounters. To some, a permanent warning sign to stay inside an imposed boundary. And they can’t be erased. The most we can do is cover them so the world can’t see. Because if the world sees them, they will wonder how our scars came to be, and we can’t bare to reveal or re-live the trauma.

Donita’s mother burned her with cigarettes and left scars from beatings with an iron hanger. Veronica’s uncle sexually assaulted her and her sister leaving a different set of scars. The pain of shame on top of sexual assault with the pressure of keeping a secret no girl should have to bare. Morgan’s arm is scarred with needle marks from a life she desperately wants to forget from her drug-addicted past. As beautiful as she is, Chandler wears scars under her clothes from cutting. No one knows because she masks it with a fake smile. Shauna wears long sleeved blouses and lots of bracelets to cover her wrists after attempting suicide. Makeup and jewelry cannot completely hide years of abuse to Trina’s face and neck at the hands of an abusive husband. Women and girls with faces and bodies acid-burned by their own husbands, fathers, brothers and family members–people they should’ve been able to trust to love and protect them. Every single scar from abuse cries out, “Why me?” Our faces, our bodies, our minds and our spirits are such a deep part of our identity. When we are assaulted in any way that is meant to inflict injury and pain by another, visible or not, it is inexcusable. When it is self-inflicted pain or abuse, we hurt and scar the same.

Thankfully, as the saying goes, beauty truly can come from “ashes”. We can rise to a better place. The other thing that all scars have in common is they Tell a Story. Your story. A very personal story. A painful story. A pain-filled story. But yours, nonetheless. So what’s so great about having a personal painful story? Nothing. That is, nothing in and of itself. But your scars, our scars, tell us and the world, “I am here!” They say without speaking a word, “I lived through it!” THAT is the story. THAT is the grace. It is your badge of courage. It says you are a fighter, a victor.

The truth is, the scars are proof that you made it through. You are meant to be here. And maybe one day, you will come to understand that you lived (or made it through the pain) to tell your story so that others can learn from it. And in so doing, what someone tried to take away from you, (your confidence, self-worth, freedom, identity, voice) ended up positioning you to give strength (and courage and hope) to another. And in the process, gave you back the voice no one could ever truly take.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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20 Quotes about Abusive Control

Control comes in many forms including physical, sexual, and/or emotional/psychological abuse. It may involve controlling a person through finances, controlling their comings and goings, what they wear, how or when they speak, who they spend time with, what they do with their time, and so on. I’m not referring to parents who place healthy boundaries around their children out of love here. I’m talking about adult relationships and adult relationships with minors that involve a destructive or unhealthy force of control. Put simply, anyone who tries to exert strict control over another person in a way that is harmful or degrading is abusive. When a person restricts or restrains another’s freedom to think or act according to their own free will while squelching their individuality or dignity, it is control. Abuse is always about control.

Violence never belongs in relationships. Control does not equal love. -Dr. Lynne Namka

One of the prevalent features of life with an angry or controlling partner is that he frequently tells you what you should think and tries to get you to doubt or devalue your own perceptions and beliefs. -Lundy Bancroft

When people encounter controlling behavior, they often feel “erased”, as if, to the perpetrator, they don’t exist. -Patricia Evans

Controllers may target someone’s emotional, social, financial or physical well-being, but their most effective target is a person’s self-identity. -Mary Rose

If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. -George G. Woodson

Emotional abuse exists apart from physical or sexual abuse, as incredibly destructive to an emerging sense of self. -Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D

Power is embedded in our society and makes its way into relationships through control. -Mary Rose

The violence committed by a serial bully is almost entirely psychological, for psychological violence leaves no scars and no physical evidence. -Bully Online

Manipulators often know what buttons to push, when to do so and how hard to press. Our lack of self-awareness can easily set us up to be exploited. -George K. Simon

Covert aggression is at the heart of most manipulation. – George K. Simon

The aim of emotional abuse is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence.

Her insecurity about herself and her idealization of him offer the perfect opening for his manipulation. -Dr. Robin Stern

…All forms of sexual manipulation carried out by the perpetrator with the intention or perceived intention to cause emotional, sexual, and physical degradation to another person. -M. Abraham

Whether you were emotionally abused as a child or an adult, the messages were meant to belittle, devalue, shame, and ultimately control. -Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D

The objectives of serial bullies are power, control, domination and subjugation. -Bully Online

…An ongoing process in which one individual systematically diminishes and destroys the inner self of another. The essential ideas, feelings, perceptions, and personality characteristics of the victim are constantly belittled. -M. T. Loring

Abusive behavior and violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to control you. -Dr. Jeanne Segal

Sexual abuse includes behaviors that fall under legal definitions of rape, plus physical assaults to the sexual parts of a person’s body, and making sexual demands with which one’s partner is uncomfortable. -L. L. Marshall

One thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners. -National Domestic Violence Hotline

Controllers have beliefs of entitlement that they get to do harmful things to others. -Dr. Lynne Namka

Anyone who tries to convince a woman that she is unworthy or deserves psychological, verbal, or physical abuse, is wrong and needs help. Even if a woman consents to acts of harmful aggressive physical or sexual behavior by another, it is still a form of violence and it is abuse.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Warning Signs & Red Flags: Abuse Defined

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What is Emotional Abuse?

“Emotional abuse is about someone manipulating your emotions on a psychological level” according to Gunta Krumins, BA, PMP, author of The Detrimental Effects of Emotional Abuse

Dr. Steven Stosny, Ph.D. says an emotional abuser controls another person by undermining his or her confidence, worthiness, growth, trust, or emotional stability, or by provoking fear or shame to manipulate or exploit; and that “Emotionally abusive behavior is anything that intentionally hurts the feelings of another person.”

Because of the silent nature of emotional abuse, it’s not untypical for a woman to feel hopeless, depressed, confused and/or trapped. In extreme cases, emotional abusers can break a person’s confidence and spirit to the point they can even convince their victim that they deserve what they get. It is twisted, damaging, and it’s all about control.

Emotional abuse is any nonphysical behavior or attitude that controls, intimidates, subjugates, demeans, punishes or isolates another person by using degradation, humiliation or fear.

Examples of Emotionally Abusive Behaviors:

  • Humiliating, degrading, mocking, bullying 
  • Discounting, distorting, negating, lying 
  • Accusing, blaming, and threatening
  • Isolating the victim from the people and things they care about
  • Deception and manipulating people’s emotions, decisions, and situations
  • Withholding affection and emotional support
  • Withholding financial and practical resources
  • Dismissive, disapproving, or contemptuous looks, comments or behavior
  • Threatening harm to the victim, their family, friends, pets, or possessions

“Emotional abuse seems more personal than physical abuse, more about you as a person, more about your spirit. It makes love hurt.” -Dr. Steven Stosny, Ph.D.

Additional Reading:

Stop the Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse: It Hurts When You Love

Quotes From Women Who Have Suffered Emotional Abuse

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Quotes From Women Who Have Suffered Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse victims (women and men) often feel paralyzed or powerless to change their relationship or situation because their perpetrators are likely control freaks and master manipulators. Because of the silent nature of emotional abuse, it’s not untypical for a woman to feel hopeless, depressed, confused and/or trapped.

Though it can seem unimaginable to people on the outside, some women caught in abusive relationships can even start to believe what their abusers tell them about themselves.

Bullies may tell their victims that they are stupid, unlovable, ugly, or that no one would believe them if they tried to speak up. Often they try to blame the abuse on their victims trying to convince them that the abuse is somehow, their fault. You can imagine the damaging effects to a person’s health, both mind and body, and how living with that constant turmoil, sadly, would begin to erode their spirit.

Here are some quotes from real women who have lived through the very real pain of emotional abuse:

Bruises heal, but you don’t forget words and emotions, how an abuser makes you feel about yourself.

I have always walked on eggshells waiting for his reaction to whatever situation.

I am slowly beginning to realize that I deserve better and I can do better. It’s been a struggle.

I was a happy, confident, outgoing person once.

I would rather he would hit me because at least a bruise would eventually go away.

I am in an emotionally abusive relationship but I don’t know how to leave because he needs me.

I never know what to expect. Sometimes he’s charming, sometimes he’s volatile. He’s a chronic manipulator and deceiver. Everything revolves around “his truth.”

I used to be a happy person who had plans and dreams. The emotional and verbal abuse wore me down. I felt exhausted, numb and dioriented about who I was. I stopped thinking and believing for myself. I lost hope for a better life.

Please do not stay in that kind of relationship. Your children will suffer. 

He is the ultimate narcissist and uses his charisma as a weapon of choice to dissuade anyone from thinking it is him.

He isolated me from my family and the people and things I care about.

He’s constantly putting me down, labeling me, mocking or making fun of me. It’s his way of staying in control. 

He makes me feel ugly, stupid, small. Like I don’t matter, won’t amount to anything, or like I’m not worthy of being loved.

No one deserves to be treated like trash, especially not by the person you love.

Get out now! Abuse only gets worse over time. No one deserves to be treated like dirt. No one.

Do not sit back and take it. Pack your things and leave.

I am in domestic violence counseling and trying to put back the pieces of my shattered life.

Abuse isn’t love.

Sometimes it helps to take a step back and listen, because it can help you assess your own relationship or situation. If reading these quotes sounds only too familiar to what you are experiencing, it’s time to seriously think about what you really want out of life.

You do have a choice. Choose life—your life.

Don’t give another person permission (in essence) to define who you are, or how your life story will read. If you are already in an abusive situation, be wise about your next steps, stay safe and row toward freedom.

You matter, and you deserve to live a life filled with color, joy, peace, and fulfillment.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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