TAMPA, Florida – Domestic violence survivors sometimes take longer to recover from the emotional abuse they experienced than the physical one.
Many people think of horrific physical abuse when they hear of domestic violence, but many survivors quietly suffer verbal and emotional abuse day in and day out.
“I 100% believe that the emotional and verbal will stay with you for a lifetime,” said Elle Longden. “When you are in a vulnerable situation and you are most vulnerable, you already feel down. You are already telling yourself these bad things about yourself, and now you have someone to love you when they say the same things and say, ‘I’m doing this because I love you.’ “
Longden said the first few weeks of their relationship were great. Your friend was charming and charismatic. Then everything stopped. And no matter what, she says she feels it’s all her fault. Over time, Longden said she was isolated from her family and forced to leave social media and check in all the time.
“People told me you lost your trust, you were kind of closed off from us,” Longden said. “So I had thought something was wrong and I had finally given up hope that things will change, it will be better and just like it was in the beginning. The silver lining to this cloud is that I have learned a red flag is enough. There shouldn’t be any. “
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, mental abuse causes long-term damage to a victim’s mental health. Studies show that 7 out of 10 psychologically abused women have symptoms of PTSD, depression, or both. And prolonged abuse can lead to low self-esteem, thoughts of suicide, difficulty trusting others, and poor physical health.
“Someone who tells you that you are stupid or stupid or fat or that you are ugly every day is going to damage that person’s self-esteem and spirit,” said Roseanne Cupoli, program director for Spring of Tampa Bay, said. “When a survivor takes this very bold step to leave the relationship, they think the abuse is stopping, and it usually doesn’t.”
For nearly two decades, Cupoli has been helping survivors regain their lives.
“Lots of survivors that I knew had endured really horrific physical violence, but often the tape that was playing in their head was the verbal abuse and the emotional abuse,” Cupoli said. “The naming – that was the stuff that was played over and over in your head that we would talk about.”
Founded in 1977, The spring of Tampa Bay writes in their mission statement that they “have provided a safe haven and comprehensive support services to more than 60,000 abused adults and their children and we have answered calls from well over 150,000 women in crisis around the clock”.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, studies show that “7 out of 10 psychologically abused women have symptoms of PTSD, depression, or both. Victims of psychological abuse often experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, thoughts of suicide, low self-esteem, and difficulty trusting others. Subtle psychological abuse is more harmful than overt psychological abuse or direct aggression. “
Longden said she sees a therapist regularly and is still trying to pick up the pieces from the emotional trauma she was experiencing.
She urges anyone suffering from emotional abuse to know that it is not their fault and to seek help.
“It depends on whether you want to lose it all or not,” said Longden. “Find whatever gets you out of it, whether it’s courage, be it fear, be it pain, be it your father coming to your house and your father pulling away from their kicks and screams, let it happen . Your stomach knows what’s going on. “