Our Feelings Are Valid Because We Feel Them
Who is to say that psychological abuse isn't abuse?
Posted September 9, 2015 | Reviewed by Jessica Schrader
This is a saying of mine that I repeat almost daily, to those complaining of others' treatment to the ones they love when they are feeling emotional.
Our feelings are valid because we feel them.
I've been in a situation many times, when one of my business connections conducts business with me in such a way that stresses me out. (Of course I am schizophrenic, so the day I get overly stressed is the day I have to pop meds and sleep for three days just to be functional.) I have told this associate of mine, many times, that I can't deal with it and have asked her several times not to do it, yet she continues. Every day. It would seem to me, after having the conversation so many times, that she is doing it on purpose just to spite me. That is probably not the case, it is likely something else that requires her to do business in such a way, but it is how I feel, and no one can tell me that that feeling is wrong. Feelings are not wrong. They are real, and valid, at the time that our hearts present them.
I was in a psychologically and emotionally abusive relationship once. I know, right? Me, of all people, who isn't afraid to tell anyone to go screw themselves at any given moment. It happens. It could happen to anyone.
He never laid a hand on me. I don't think he had it in him to try. But he did strike me with his words more often than he didn't. Very early in the relationship I found myself apologizing for every step I took. I was the bad guy always; I was not sensitive enough or caring enough to his needs. In my world, he lived on the edge of sanity. Anything I did or said could set him off. I dared to have a conversation with him about this, calling him out on it, and he threatened to leave me. In the metaphorical sense I gravelled beneath him begging him not to. Why? I didn't want anything to do with him. My own actions were pieces of a puzzle that didn't fit with one another. He asked me to marry him the next day. I was terrified. Was this to be my life? He was crazy and I told him so. He was crazy to me.
Yet everyone I knew loved him. He was the most supportive and loving friend; he was funny and a joy to be around. I internalized the fact that no one knew him like I did, that no one saw that side of him like I did. And it helped, for a while.
In the end, he left me over something very stupid, and I couldn't have been more relieved. I look back at the experience now, wondering how I could be such an idiot to let it last any longer than five minutes, thanking myself it didn't last longer than it did. I feel lucky now, that it didn't go on any longer. I do believe that it could have been worse. But sometimes when I close my eyes at night I see his face, and I startle awake, chanting no no no no no over and over again.
Get out of my head.
Abuse victims, sound familiar?
I read something today, on Facebook, of course. A young girl, a friend and colleague in mental health advocacy, defending her right to feel abused from a psychologically abusive relationship. Comments from others agreeing that emotional abuse is still abuse.
The psychological and emotional abuse that this man left me with, whether or not he meant to do it (he was mentally ill, after all), is valid and real. To me. It shouldn't matter whether or not he ever physically hit me, least of all to those who have been physically abused, because his treatment affected my life and my heart and the way that I approach and react to some situations and that leaves a long lasting impression. That is abuse. Leaving someone feeling bad about themselves long after the scars are gone is called abuse, no matter how you look at it. It doesn't matter what you have to say about it because I am not you. You are not her. We are each distinct humans from the next and the one before us.
And our feelings are valid because we feel them.