Women often think that being abused by a boyfriend or a spouse looks much like the very publicized physically abusive relationship between Rhiana and Chris Brown. What they don’t realize is there are many hidden faces of abuse!
A young woman came to see me recently at the urging of a family friend who felt I could help. She was a successful financial professional, who had graduated from Harvard, was married to a physician and had one child. She explained that over the past few years she found herself “falling apart” and didn’t understand what was happening to her. As I asked questions, it became evident to me that she was a victim of abuse but she was clearly not aware of it. When we talked about her marriage, she explained her husband no longer wanted her to work, so she didn’t. She had no access to finances, was not “allowed” to have her own checking account. Her husband had to approve of all her friends and he scrutinized her mail. She then defended his behavior saying he was a good father and provider. She stated he was not responsible for his behavior because he was stressed out all the time. When I asked about his angry outbursts, she quickly said, “Well he doesn’t hit me, but he can say very mean and hurtful things.” As we continued to talk, my client realized that her husband had diminished and isolated her so much that she had lost her spirit, her self-esteem and most importantly, herself. Yes, this is the face of abuse. You don’t have to be “hit” to be abused.