I work every day with women whose self-esteem and whose very sense of competency has been eroded, day by day, over many years by remaining with an emotionally abusive partner. “Little things” — like “gaslighting“, criticizing, controlling in subtle ways — are emotionally crippling. Each day the self-worth of woman on the receiving end of this behavior disintegrates a little further, leaving her ever less capable of leaving. And yet, when she talks about these experiences, she feels guilty, disloyal; feels like she is “making a mountain out of a mole hill.”
What has suddenly become obvious to me, partly from talking with girls and partly because some very wise moms have recognized the warning signs in their daughters, is that learning to recognize and reject emotional abuse needs to start at a very young age. It starts with moms refusing to accept abuse, and with both moms and dads teaching their daughters that they do not owe their well-being to anyone — and that anyone who would compromise it is not “one of the good guys”.
The frequency that the issue of relationship abuse is part of my day suddenly hit critical mass and triggered me to really search the internet for resources to educate women and girls, and to empower them to walk proudly away from those who do not have their best interest at heart. While the tips, quizzes and information here were created for adolescents, they are equally valid for adults. Read them with both yourself and your daughters in mind. You’ll find those resources below — beginning with the promised 10 warning signs that you — or your teen — may be in an abusive relationship.
A High School Student’s Nightmare — story from People magazine
www.dosomething.org— this is a really interesting organization that allows high school students to connect with some amazing causes and be a part of the work.
- http://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/content/features/detail/1801/ — this is a way teens can speak out about abuse through texting and social media
As time allows, browse these websites. They’re full of supportive information; I’ve only pulled out some of the highlights.
The raison d’etre for my work with clients can be found in the credo, Your Voice, Your Self. I strive to create a place where each woman and girl — so that you — can know, with utter certainty that:
You are a separate, defined entity in spirit and in body;
you exist as such and belong to yourself alone.
No one can have any legitimate claim on your identity or your physical self;
you can not owe to anyone the debt of being other than who you are.
You can create your niche in this world.
That is the potential that lies within you.
Copyright 1988, Fran Hendrick. All rights reserved.