By Caitlin Kelly
This is a must-read for anyone who has suffered repeated abuse, verbal or physical, from anyone in their life.
Abuse doesn’t always manifest as a black eye or a bloody wound. The effects of psychological abuse are just as damaging.
I entered counseling and was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, andPTSD. The psychological abuse kept me fearful, the depression and anxiety left me incapable of taking the steps necessary to get out.
Although I initially thought PTSD was a bit extreme, it’s been almost three years and certain noises or situations still trigger difficult memories for me.
When my male boss was angry and yelling at the staff one day, I became physically sick. I felt like I was right back where I was years ago, sitting and cowering on the garage floor, trying to placate the anger of a man towering over me.
It creates PTSD — post-traumatic stress disorder.
It’s real and it’s serious and you don’t have to be a combat soldier or get your nose broken by your partner.
Just getting yelled at a lot is quite sufficient.
It’s not “just words.”
For reasons I will never fathom, my father does this…and I’m no longer a child nor have I lived under his roof since I was 19.
In 2013, prompted by what he felt was my rudeness, (failing to clear the breakfast table), I was subjected to yet another volley of vicious verbal abuse — in front of my husband and my father’s partner.
He has money and health and, to my mind, no reason to ever be that angry with me, ever. This pattern has been going on for decades. I still remember, years later, other altercations with his ego.
I shook all day. I shook for a long time after that.
Last summer — six years later — a brat of an editor for a major magazine decided I was out of line when I dared to disagree with her scathing opinion of my story. She refused to let me even finish my sentences.
I hung up on her.
And shook for hours.
A best-selling author recently emailed me to say he’s included some of my USA Today essay about being bullied when I was 15 at my Toronto high school.
That was an unexpected honor.
But it’s why I took the risk of writing it — in a culture of “suck it up, buttercup”, as though being told what a piece of garbage you are is somehow…useful.
People must understand what effects this has, often for life.
I’m a confident, successful woman with a great life in most respects.
But the minute someone starts verbally abusing me now, that’s it.