Afraid of what they might think or do or say, I never dared to tell a soul about the abuse I was going through. That is until a few weeks ago.
I am not sure why, perhaps it was a call for attention, or “heaven forbid”, a call for help, but I decided to open up to a trusted teacher of mine.
Although I have had to mature a great deal in my life time, clearly I was still naive.
What was I expecting?
A hug?
A promise it would all be all right?
A huge, shocked look on his face?
Well I got E. None of the above
“What do you mean he would say all these horrible things to you? Put you down? Make you feel like you were nothing?”
“Well.. I mean just that.”
“Well, give me specifics? What did he say that ruined your self confidence? What did he say that makes you feel incapable of being loved?”
“Um.. a lot of things. For 18 years, every single day. It isn’t just one thing he said or one fight that we got into, it was him in my head every day”
“I don’t understand, tell me what he said that was verbal and emotional abuse”
“Nevermind, let’s change the subject”

And just like that I understand why for 18 years I didn’t open up, why I didn’t turn for help.
Verbal and emotional abuse is invisible. It isn’t capable of understanding unless you are a victim of it yourself.
There are no cuts or bruises or breaks on the outside for the world to see.
There are no black and blue marks for my teachers to notice and reach out to me.
There are no broken hands that I would lie about the cause in the hospital, yet secretly praying that the doctor wouldn’t believe me that for the 6th time in my life “I fell off my bike and broke something”
There are no scars on my body that I can show the police and say “this. This right here HE did to me, for no reason”
There are no concussions from my head hitting the wall after being thrown that I would need to miss a day of school because of and have to tell my friends a made up story, hoping they would hear my true pain inside.

And so, in the understanding that no one else will understand, I keep silent.

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  1. mamashtaka April 3, 2018 at 7:47 am

    My grandparents divorced back in the 1930s for exactly this reason – my grandfather was verbally abusive. Divorce was very rare back then, so it must have been pretty bad. My father never spoke about his father very much, but I could tell there were emotional scars left on my Dad from what must have occurred. Please, don’t stay silent – you must find help. You deserve a better life!

  2. Rai April 3, 2018 at 9:38 am

    I am so deeply sorry that you were received in such an insensitive and disgusting way.

    Sometimes I wish that he would just hurt my physically so that I can have a scar, so I can point to something physical as if some how a physical scar would make the pain valid and real. The invisible pain adds a whole dimension of suffering that only those who know it can understand.

    Visible or not, it is real and you are worthy of support and love.

    Please know that you are not alone.

    Please know that right now, I am sending up a prayer for your safety.

  3. Moshe April 3, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    I can relate. I remember as a child, even my family
    Not understanding my pain.

    My blessing is that you should find someone with the wisdom and sensitivity to help you heal.

    Success to you Neshama.

  4. Rachel April 4, 2018 at 9:47 am

    No….please dont keep silent. I know that was horrible, the response you got. I cry here for you. Thats not right…so insensitive…so careless and heartless. But I care about you and here for you. We can connect if you want. I understand you.

  5. Ahava October 4, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    Reading this and it feels as if these are my own words. I wished for years that the abuse could be physical- at least there would be visible proof and someone would really listen.


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