Going Deeper: Relationships

L&L Pre-OrderToday I pushed the button to launch the pre-order for my next book, Love and Libations. It’s the second in the Holiday and Heroes series. But that’s not exactly what this post is about.

No, this post is about the relationships in Love and Libations. One relationship in particular: an abusive one.

When the book begins, readers meet Lilah. She’s in her late twenties and she’s been dating one man for the past four years. He is not a good man. But she stays because he’s never hit her.

That’s not exactly what this post is about either, though it’s closer. I’m going out on a limb here. Because talking about this means my mother could find out and that scares me. Mom, don’t read this, okay? Yeah, right. That practically guarantees that she’ll read it.

My ex-husband was abusive. He never touched me. Let’s get that out of the way right now. He never raised a finger to me. But he told me I was untalented, a bitch, and by the end of our marriage, a whore. He drove away many of my friends. He made me feel like every success I had was because I had boobs or because I got lucky, not because I was talented or smart or strong. Every time I got a raise I did it to put him down or make him feel unworthy, it wasn’t because I was good at my job. Every time I wanted to talk, I was being whiny. When I told him I was leaving him, he took to threatening. He broke into my computer, read through my messages, and accused me of cheating, said he’d ruin me.

It was a bad time. A very bad time.

I left him, ultimately, because I’d started to self-harm. Hey, another admission I never thought I’d make. Mom, I really hope you’re not reading now. I fell. Really. This isn’t an excuse for my ex hurting me, I really did fall. I injured my wrist. It wasn’t a terribly bad injury, but it was painful. A minor sprain at the most. Two days later, I moved wrong and pain shot up my arm. It hurt. A lot. But it also made me feel alive and I hadn’t felt that way in a very long time. I took to moving my wrist a dozen times a day, preventing the injury from healing at a normal rate. When it healed (in spite of me), I purposely slammed my fist into the wall.

And that’s where it stopped. I don’t know why slamming my fist into the wall stopped me. Maybe I scared a cat and regretted it? I don’t remember. It was a long time ago. Once I left, friends came out of the woodwork to tell me how my ex made them feel (it was never good) or how they hated coming over to our house because he was immature, crass, and dismissive. Most of them couldn’t stand him. The few that could didn’t understand why I’d married him in the first place. I was young. Very. I should have known better. But I didn’t.

I’m telling you all this because writing Love and Libations reminded me how horrible I felt at the time. It brought up all sorts of feelings I hadn’t felt in ages. And it drove home the one thing I didn’t know how to put into words back then. I didn’t leave sooner because I didn’t see what he was doing as abuse.

Emotional abuse is abuse, pure and simple. Unfortunately, it’s also a lot harder to diagnose. If your partner doesn’t tell you that you’re pretty, ever, is that abuse? If he (or she) tells you that you did something stupid is that abuse? If your partner calls you a jerk is that abuse? A bitch? If he only wants to associate with his friends (or not at all) is that abuse? What if he controls all of the money? Or if he hates your family? Most of those things alone don’t constitute abuse, but taken together?

There are plenty of instances of one person calling another stupid that aren’t really abuse. Mean-spirited, perhaps, but not abuse. I can’t tell you whether X, Y, or Z is abuse. I can only tell you that if your partner is constantly telling you that you’re not good enough or that you’re failing, or if he’s isolating you from your friends, or if he (again, or she) constantly puts you down, you might want to talk to someone.

In many cases, you need a trained professional to help you understand whether you’re the victim of emotional abuse. It’s easy to know when someone hits you. It’s not always easy to understand an emotional blow.

I’ve listed a few websites here that might help you if you think you’re being abused, emotionally.

The emotional abuse I suffered was minor compared to many. I left still believing that I was a good person and worthy of love. I didn’t know who I was, but I knew I was worth love and respect. Now, a decade later, I feel like I’m the person I was always meant to be with a partner who loves and respects me. I wish the same for all of you.


  • Ashlynn Pearce Posted January 5, 2015 7:01 am


    Abuse, in all its myriad of forms, is still abuse. I’m proud of you for finally recognizing it and getting out. Life is way to short to put up with that sort of thing.

    I can relate to a lot of what you said here. I get it. Not for all the same reasons, but I’ve been in that place. It’s ugly. And its painful. *cheers to your girl*

    And be proud you were able to get it out through writing. There are ugly pieces of me in every one of my stories. 🙂 It’s healing.

  • Darcy Posted January 5, 2015 7:35 am

    Yes, like that. Thank you for speaking up. My situation wasn’t as bad, but it was abusive and I didn’t realize it until I’d been out of it for a year. The put-downs, isolation, lack of trust… And when it was over, the friends who asked what took me so long. <>

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