When someone takes away your ability to believe in yourself, or to speak up for yourself, or even to tell others your struggles, they have abused your individual freedoms and they have abused you. Verbal and emotional abuse are not talked of as often as physical abuse but they occur nonetheless. In a study by Women’s College Hospital, of 1,000 women 15 years of age or older, 36 percent had experienced emotional abuse while growing up; 43 percent had experienced some form of abuse as children or adolescents; 39 percent reported emotional abuse in a relationship in the past five years.
Not all abusive relationships are romantic though. Often, emotional and verbal abuses occur in schools between classmates, in roommate relationships or between co-workers. I was bullied some when I was younger, and I let others get the best of me. I let them take my freedom away.
The same thing happened with a roommate of mine freshman year. I went into college believing that I had to be best friends with my roommate. I shared my secrets and she shared a few of hers. Due to this belief that I had to make my first roommate relationship work, when she began treating me rudely, bullying me, and worse, I let it go. I figured I was being dramatic about how I viewed her words and actions. I let her speak to me in a way I had never let anyone. I let her take away my sense of confidence. It was like middle school all over again. I wanted to keep her as a friend, but in reality, she wasn’t treating me with any sort of respect or friendship.
I moved out of that room a third of the way into our second semester of freshman year, but the things she said to me have stuck with me until now. I am in my junior year here at JBU. I have lived through emotional and verbal abuse. Although I didn’t recognize it then, I had changed the patterns of my everyday life because of things that occurred or things that she said. It changed how I viewed myself. That constitutes abuse, according to many counselors. I know it can be hard to talk to others about things that have happened such as abuse, but it is important for your voice to be heard again. Go to a counselor, a friend or someone else you trust. Give yourself that freedom to speak out about someone who has hurt you.