Bruises You Can’t See

My momma told me that if my husband ever hit me, I should pack my bags, leave and never look back. I believed her — I was certain I would never let anyone physically hurt me.

He never raised his hand and he never raised his voice. His words were delivered with quiet precision, like clenched fists in soft suede gloves.

You’re ugly, selfish, ignorant and stupid. You’re lucky I married you because no one else would put up with you. You’re difficult to love.

There was nothing I could do right — the food I cooked was tasteless, the bathroom floor was covered in my hair, and my clothes took up too much space in the wardrobe. When he was tired of reminding me of how I should behave, he lapsed into silence.

For days.

When I tried to apologise, to change the subject, to fix what I had broken, he brushed me away with a sweep of his hand, his eyes never leaving the computer screen or the television. He took to wearing his iPod most of the time, shaking his head when I approached. The air grew thick and sluggish, like stagnant water in the bottom of a pond.

Later, strange things started to happen. My shoes weren’t near the front door but in another room, the bracelet he bought me for my birthday went missing, the bottle of rum he professed he would never drink was almost empty.

When I asked about these mysteries he looked at me as though I had lost my mind. “You need psychiatric help,” he sneered.

I tried to tell him once about my eating disorder. Half way through the first sentence he rolled his eyes and laughed. “Stop being a drama queen,” he said. “You’re pathetic.”

It took me weeks to muster up the courage to tell him I thought our marriage needed help. The words caught in my throat before emerging choked and jagged. “Could we go to counselling?” I asked. The answer was no.

I forgot who I was, I forgot I had choices, I forgot I was strong and smart and beautiful. He held his hands over my eyes so I could no longer see the truth.

My momma told me that if my husband hit me, I should pack my bags, leave and never look back.

But she didn’t tell me about the bruises you can’t see.

bruises you cant see T

October is domestic violence prevention month.
Click here if you or someone you know needs help.

About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

44 thoughts on “Bruises You Can’t See

  1. I”m sending you virtual hugs. Can you feel them? Yes? I sure hope so. You are such an incredible woman and I can’t believe how one human being can treat another. You are a gem, Katie. I want you to know that. I think you do. So, do you feel my hugs yet? xoxo

  2. Pls can u write on the meaning of love? How can I recognize love when it comes to me? Who knows d meaning of love? I was abandoned and unloved by my parents my marriage did me worse. I intend to do better for me but somehow I have realized that I run from any form of attention or love emotions anyone shows me and I’m Worried about my future

  3. Powerful post that hit home to me – I once dropped a boyfriend who once raised his fists – physical violence I knew to walk away. Mental abuse is a different kettle of fish. With my first marriage it was a slow disintegration of me – no fists but snarling comments, controlling behaviour, belittling me – for 15 years it wore me down so when I found out he had an affair it was a relief to actually have something solid to finally retrieve me and finish our marriage. I now know that isn’t how a marriage should be. I’m glad my current husband has proved that as this past 15 years have been totally love fuelled. I’m sending virtual hugs & am glad you’re now out of the nightmare of silent bruising too..

  4. Powerful! Sometimes our mammas never prepare us for the ‘real world’, do they?
    I’m sorry you went through all this – I have no words to ease your pain – except to tell you that I get how draining a dead relationship is, especially when you’re made to feel it’s your fault.
    Grateful to be out of it, as you are too. But the scars – they remain.

  5. I know well the bruises of verbal abuse and gaslighting. I don’t know why they never tell you that those aren’t OK. They should. I’m glad you did.

  6. You are amazingly strong for telling your story. I know about those bruises, the invisible ones. It’s hard to know to leave because in the beginning it doesn’t start that way and then there you are caught in it. A beautiful post reminding others that abuse comes in many forms.

  7. Verbal abuse is perhaps the most dangerous kind of abuse because it cuts deeper than any physical mark. You are brave to share your story. Thank you! Visiting from #blogsharelearn

  8. Katie, you obviously (thankfully) not only survived but thrived. Good for you–and for us as you lift the curtain on your experience oh-so-eloquently. I grew up with an abusive stepfather (physically abusive toward my mother, verbally/emotionally toward me), so I understand the insidiousness of it. No woman–no person–deserves to be treated that way.

  9. Beautifully written and powerful. And a story that, although painful, needs to be told so that all our daughters don’t forget what it’s like to be strong and smart and beautiful. Thank you.

  10. What a powerful post. It is true that the invisible bruises are sometime worse causing us to doubt who we are as a person. I am just glad you were able to get yourself out of the situation. Visited from #blogsharelearn

    xo, Tina

  11. So beautifully-written. I hope (and am assuming) you left this man who was clearly bad for you. Its scary sometimes what women will put up with, either from low self-esteem or for feeling they can’t make it on their own. And yet so many are better off when they finally draw the courage and go. Sounds like you were one of them.

  12. I went through the exact same thing in my first marriage – including the silent treatment. I’m still not really over it. And you’re so right – it’s easy to recognize that hitting is wrong but it can take forever to even realize something isn’t right about the other stuff. We really do have to make we educate our daughters.

  13. I’m a little afraid to post but I am going thru almost the same thing .. I try to explain to everyone who I think doesn’t seem to believe me (because my BF is so nice to everyone else and also to me in front of everyone else) but I tell them ..that just bc he isn’t screaming when he calls me a stupid B*tch or worse doesn’t make it hurt any worse and things only escalated when I got pregnant …thank God I have made it thru this hell and my due date is 2 weeks away…worse 9 months of my life sadly … But MY QUESTION TO ALL OF YOU IS WHY AM I PUTTING UP WITH IT .. I’m allowing myself to be treated this way …why?? Help???

  14. I am very sorry for what happened to you, it’s terrible to be put down like that. However, I am glad that you channelled that sadness into such a beautiful text! I hope your life is better now.

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