Jayne Giese
JRNM 151

“It is better that I share my story.  I don’t want anyone to feel alone,” said Whitney Hamlin who is a 25-year-old LCCC nursing student who struggles to break down the wall she has created in order to protect herself from ever being hurt again.  Hamlin has had more than her fair share of emotionally abusive relationships in her life.

After getting out of one bad relationship Hamlin would unknowingly continue the same toxic cycle over and over again.

“I have had three serious and really toxic relationships.  I started to associate love with abuse after being in a five-year relationship that was nothing but me being used and emotionally abused,” Hamlin said.   

The emotional abuse Hamlin experienced in all three relationships were similar to each other.  Hamlin said that each one of her ex’s would use her for money and feed negative thoughts into her head.  By using her insecurities against her, they would make her feel worthless. 

 Hamlin was constantly being cheated on, being put down with words, and falling into credit card debt from her ex’s.  “I finally decided that enough was enough.  I don’t have to stay in these relationships.  I know I deserve better, but I gravitate towards emotional abuse,” Hamlin said.

“I am at a point in my life where I am really numb from everything that has happened to me.  I will continue to move forward, but it is hard,” said Hamlin.  

Warning signs

There are many warning signs to look out for in an emotionally abusive relationship, according to PsychologyToday.com.  The signs include constant criticism, insults, punishment and threats of punishment, isolating them from friends and family, and never accepting blame for anything.  

“Emotional abuse is a painful and serious pattern of abuse in which the primary effort is to control someone by playing with their emotions,” according to PsychologyToday.com. 

 Virginia Beckman, president of Lorain county Safe Harbor/Genesis House, wants men and women to know that emotional abuse is treated the same as physical abuse.  “We provide safe shelters for women and men who want to escape an abusive household.  Most of the victims suffer from both physical and mental abuse, but it is the mental abuse that always has the lasting impact on people.

People become scared emotionally from the mental abuse, and becomes hard for them to cope,” Beckman said.  

For any additional information regarding emotional abuse or to get help from an abusive relationship, call Genesis House at (440) 323-3400. 

What do victims say?

– Fear — Fear is the number one reason victims stay.  The victims are afraid of what will happen.

– Shame — The victim is embarrassed to tell anyone. 

– Love — The victim feels love for their abusive partner.  They only want the abuse to stop not the relationship.

– Lack of money/resources — victim may be financially dependent on their abusive partner. Without money, access to resources or even a place to go, it can seem impossible for them to leave the relationship. 

– Disability — When someone is physically dependent on their abusive partner, they can feel that their well-being is connected to the relationship.

– Cultural/Religious Reasons: Traditional gender roles supported by someone’s culture or religion may influence them to stay rather than end the relationship for fear of bringing shame upon their family.

(The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233)