Being in an emotionally abusive relationship can negatively affect a wife’s overall well-being. Wives in this kind of relationship experience low self-esteem, self-doubt, and depression. Also, most of them have been isolated from their social support leaving them with no one to share their burdens. For those who are still connected with their families and friends, they find it difficult to share their struggles as most people couldn’t understand their situation, especially when their abusive partner is showing a different persona with others. Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse do not leave any physical signs of maltreatment such as wounds and bruise. Their bruises are mental and emotional, something that cannot be seen by the eye.
In my desire to understand their experiences and validate other women’s experiences, I read 10 personal accounts of Filipina women who suffered or are suffering from marital emotional abuse. Below I share the common experiences I have gathered from their personal personal stories:
1. They feel degraded by their partners due to their condescending and hurtful words.
According to Ludy Bancroft, an abuser program counsellor for more than 15 years, the abuser tends to see his partner as less intelligent, less competent, less logical, and even less sensitive than he is. This kind of thought process may be seen in the experiences of Jo, Fatima, and Rana.
“Kapag nagagalit ang husband ko, sinasabihan niya ko ng bobo, tanga, gago at mababaw. Lagi niya rin ako sinasabihan na lumayas na ko. Stay in housewife ako at seaman sya. Magkaiba kami ng spiritual beliefs, at sinasabihan nyang hindi totoo sa akin at demonyo ako. lagi sya nagsasalita ng harsh words towards me.” (Jo)
He tells me na wala akong alam, walang kayang gawin. walang kwenta, dugyot, bobo, and just yesterday he said babasagin nya ang mukha ko. I dont know how to deal with this anymore.”(Fatima)
Like Jo, Rana has also been dared by her husband to leave their house.
“Dati nakatira kami sa nanay nya, nag away kami tapos sinabihan nya akong lumayas ako at wag na akong babalik. Sobrang sakit lang, kasi feeling ko parang pinipilit kong makitira sa kanila (Rana)
In the same vein, Baby realized how insensitive, hurtful and uncaring her husband is on her feelings:
“Kapag hindi nasusunod ang gusto nya, tinatawag nya akong frigid woman, which is not true. Ako yong pagiging hot tempered nya. Insensitive, unconcious at masakit magsalita wala syang pakialam kung nakakasakit sya ng damdamin . Mahilig syang makipag argue at pinapalaki ang sjmpleng bagay” (Baby)
These condescending words could tamper the wife’s self-esteem and self-worth. It can lead her to believe false accusations about herself.
2. They were socially isolated
One of the category of emotional abuse is social isolation wherein the wife is prohibited to talk or socialize to anybody even to female friends, as in the case of Baby and KC.
“Ayaw nya ako makipagkaibigan kahit kanino, kahit babae pinagseselosan, di ako pinapayagan pag di sya kasama. Wala akong hawak na pera. Gusto nya sa kanya lang iikot ang mundo ko.” (Baby)
“Ang hirap kasi wala kang masabihan. ayaw na ayaw din ng hubby ko before yung lumalabas with friends na wala sya.. kahit sa mga pinsan nya na girls lang din, dapat kasama sya. (KC)
3. They feel stupid about themselves
At some point in their lives, some emotionally abused women thought that they are stupid for not being able to leave their relationship despite knowing that they have to. To make it worse, they still believe that their husband will still change. This is true for Selina, Baby, and Bella.
“I’m acting more and more stupid. I’ve come to a point where I’ve noticed the more abusive the relationship is, the more dependent I am on him. The more abusive my husband gets, the more scared I am to leave because I feel I’ll never survive without him. OR that who would want me after being separated, worthless, and full of sad stories. The dumbest part of me simply longs for him when I do attempt to leave him. I’m getting to be sooooo STUPID already about this. I understand whats going on but its just sooooooo difficult to break away.” (Selina).
“I do still love my husband and I’ m still hopeful. sadly but true!!!!I keep denying it to family and friends but here I can confess to everyone that I still am hoping. (I know some will call me stupidly in love arrrhg!!) but the “love” I still feel for him is making me hope that he will come back begging and WILLING to go to therapy/counseling and work it out.” (Baby)
Bella, who gave her husband a second chance in their marriage has caught her husband collecting phornographic materials for several times.. She told herself one time:
“I felt so sick about it. Nandidiri talaga ako, I can’t believe I’m still with this person. Iniisip ko nga, tanga ko naman, o ang laki siguro ng deficit ng pagkatao ko bakit di ko pa kayang iwan siya kahit diring diri ako sa mga ginagawa niya.”
4. They feel disrespected by their husbands by humiliating them in public
“The verbal abuse is like non other because he really has a way of making me feel like an animal. He has no respect whatsoever as he will reprimand me in public or in front of our friends. (Selena).
“At first, i thought sadyang wala lang siyang respect sakin dahil kahit sa public sobrang dali nyang mairita at mag snap ang usually kahit hindi towards sakin yung anger nya feeling ko ako yung sobrang nakakaabsorb ng hostility nya.” (Cheska)
“Kailangan ba talaga pag may itatanong ako sisigaw siya? hindi naman ako bingi. Parang sakin nakakawalan ng respeto, hindi rin siya nahihiya kahit marami tao nkakarinig.” (Rana)
This post aims to validate their feelings and give a sense of feeling that they are not alone, that there are also other women who are experiencing the same situation.
5. They feel depressed.
With the kind of situation that they are in, it is very easy for them to fall into depression.
“I have been very depressed lately because my husband has been blowing up at me for very innocent things. Dunno if Im just getting depressed. I dont feel like eating much, I feel like throwing up. If I didnt know any better Id think I was having morning sickness.” (Selena)
To KC and Helen, they’ve gone to the point of resorting to pills and alcohol to abate their depression.
“Sobrang depressed na ako dati lagi. may suicidal thoughts na nga ako eh. tapos everytime i wake up parang “haaaayy.. another day na naman na ewan.” I used to take sleeping pills din. kaso nung talagang sasabog na.. yung gusto ko na talaga umiyak and ilabas na yung sama ng loob ko, that’s when i resorted to alcohol.” (KC)
In sharing this post, I wish I was able to validate the experiences of some abused filipina wives. If you are experiencing the same and is feeling stuck in your situation right now, do not hesitate to seek help and counseling. To read more about the signs of an emotionally abusive relationship, read Signs Of An Emotionally and Verbally Abusive Relationship