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Coming Up For Air

I loved the attention.
After being ignored for so many years I loved that someone thought that I was worth listening to, that what I had to say mattered.
I loved that I felt attractive again, that I felt desired.
I loved that I felt loved.
He never hit me. He rarely said an unkind word.
But he left me suffocating nonetheless, under the weight of his silence.
He ignored me. 
When I was in pain, when I needed a hug, when I begged for reassurance and kindness,
when I fell to the floor sobbing...
he ignored me.
It has taken the breath from me, I can no longer speak, breathe, I can barely muster up the energy to lift my head
so damaged is my resolve.
But wait
I can feel it, a freshness, a breeze. I will find my strength.
I will tell myself that I deserve better, that there doesn't have to be bruises and  broken bones for there to be pain. 
It is real, and it is stoppable. I can walk away.
I will walk away.
I am coming up for air.
I will breathe again. 
Quintesse Quintesse 51-55, F 66 Responses Aug 19, 2011

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This is so true. Walking away takes time and there's definitely a better place, so keep taking deep breaths when you come up for air.

Thanks Joyce,
The fact that so many people can relate to this is scary.

This is beautiful. I can somewhat relate myself. Good job!

When I wrote this I was traumatized. I had never experienced "ignoring" to this degree and with this level of callousness and apparent cruelty. Since I wrote it and I have seen the number of people who can relate--so many people sent me private messages as well!--I have come to the conclusion that it is not as rare an occurrence I as I once thought. I really felt that my suffering was unique. Obviously it was not, as evidenced here.
I am truly sorry that so many people can relate. It is a sad commentary on the state of adult human relationships.
Still, it has been a learning experience for me. Not only do I better understand how to deal with it when it happens to me, I understand the "ignorer" better as well. I have some insight now into the type of person who does this and why. It is not always out of maliciousness. Some people are just very "Ill equipped" to deal with emotions.
Still, I am sorry for all of the pain.

i had that sort of experience too my mate shut me out and i was so angry and felt so disrespected that i behaved badly myself now what i would do is walk away cause why waste time with someone who doesnt want to talk to you

Elandra, Lohla, and 2011 and CrazyWaterSpring
I think for some people who are really emotionally immature ignoring is the best that they can do. And even knowing that they are doing such severe damage to someone else by perpetuating it, they are so self centered and lacking in empathy that they cannot overcome their own needs to satisfy those of another. It may not be malicious but it is an extremely passive/aggressive form of abuse.
I am still trying to understand it all, still trying to heal.
Thanks for reaching out to me and for the understanding and support. It means a lot to me.

It leaves you with very little left in the way of self esteem. And the more you love the person the worse it is.

it is gut-wrenching to be alone in the company of someone that you love.

Princess Diana once confessed to a friend that she threw herself down the stairs for attention.
I wish I could say I didn't understand. I'm sure you get it, too.

Sorry to read this. :(

This sounds like a se xless marriage....Are you free now? I see this is an old story, Quintesse. An update, please.

I can't imagine this. You are one of the smartest, loving and most humane people I've ever had the pleasure to be acquainted with.

Thank you from the bottom...

Maybe you could have your friend come here and read stories from people who have been where she is. Sometimes it is powerful to read about other people's experiences and realize that you are not alone and that there is another way.

Abuse, especially this kind of abuse is hard to to break away from. And people who are victims are often convinced that it is all their fault, that somehow they deserve to be treated the way they are being treated, which then ties into self esteem issues. It is an ugly mess--and it is all VERY hard to walk away from for so many different reasons.
I'm still in pain. Some things you never get over. This is one of those things for me.
I wish you and your friend freedom from this situation. (You are a good friend to try to help her.)

gratitude to take your time to splain me how show her a the reason
i will try and never stop
thank you

You're a good friend. I hope that you can get through to her.

im sorry i dont speak well english so i will try to splain something
if someone have been abuse and he doesn't know it becouse there many people who dont even know what is emotional abuse,where i live i see alldays that womens doesn't have space,they humulhate they bet...i don't even have words to splain
what can i do to show this womens the right thing to do becouse there are addicted to this life

See above

You're right OpenMinded,
but I think that the person who endures this type of abuse does so because they so love the person who is perpetrating it, and they desperately want to make things right-- and honestly, when it is ongoing you are incredulous half the time that it is happening, you wait in vain for it to stop. You think that if you just wait them out that they will snap out of it, and remember that you are a real person, with a breaking heart.

But often they lack the necessary emotional tools to maintain a relationship, so that is why we say we "give up" because if you love the person, even if they are abusing you, you relinquish that love grudgingly.
I actually think that emotional abuse on this level occurs when you have a severely disproportionate couple--one that is extremely nurturing and giving and unselfish and one that is the opposite.
That was certainly the case with me.

Loved the word "incredulous". This is exactly how I felt when the abuse started. I almost thought it was a joke until the penny dropped.

Now I have started using the word sadistic. Knowingly hurting someone is sadistic.

Agreed. I'm in therapy because of my own story and we are also exploring my share of responsibility. It hurts to think that I allow someone to hurt me knowingly but it's also important to aknowledge our role so that it doesn' happen again. I know we all blame ourselves a bit already and feel guilty but it's a necessary step not to see us *only* as victims. Of course this doesn't change the fact that those who hurt someone knowingly are sadistic and dangerous. I think you are a very skilled writer, by the way, very talented. :)

Thank you. I do have to take responsibility for letting it go on. I should have walked away. Instead he walked away from me, the final blow...I wasn't strong enough. He did a number on my self esteem. I am different as a result. Thanks for understanding. You are helping me.

When my husband who was cold and of nearly 3 decades, started to unravel and wanted to abuse me physically, I could hardly believe it. He came from a background where his step-father abused him emotionally and physically. So I could not understand how he could fall so deeply. A police officer who took some time away from his job when I asked him to give me some advice while he visited my work for another matter said this to me: men who are abused often turn this way whether they want to or not. I put a stop to it immediately. I called the police. It was the only way to stop this. My father and mother fought physically. Their backgrounds were harsh. And my father drank for a long time. For many it is hard to stop. One always wants to think it will stop. But it doesn\'t. I feel for you. Learning takes time, Quintesse. And you learned. My ex scares me. He is mentally ill. And he blames me for everything. I am ever-vigilant in case he returns. I am safe once I cross the border. You will do just fine. You are healing and you are loved. Blesssings...

2 More Responses

I don't like the words "I have given up" because it implies that it is something worth fighting for, and you are worth so much more than someone who refuses to see that.

You have to give up, but it took me a long time too, to realize that it was never going to end. A person who is capable of ignoring in that way is a person lacking in empathy and compassion. I learned this the hard way; I suffered through years of disbelief, of thinking that if I was just a little better, a little more loving, if I made it my fault and apologized profusely even though I did nothing wrong, but was instead the victim...I thought if I could somehow redeem myself the punishment would end, but it never did. It was his go-to tactic/weapon. It was a nightmare I won't soon forget, --emotional abuse is the most brutal form of abuse there is in my opinion. Walk away. The person capable of this will not change. I am speaking from experience.

Lesely. I am really sorry for your situation. What is implied in the silence is "you are worthless" because if the person is not even willing to acknowledge you then you have no way to respond other than to feel invisible.
In your case however it seems like there is a lot going on that is not good. I hope that you can contact some kind of outreach agency in your community, even a battered women's shelter (even they recognize emotional abuse--not sure if you are aware of that) and maybe they can steer you in the right direction so that you can find a way to leave.
I hope you and your daughter can find a way. My prayers are with you this day.

I've been in the same sort of relationship for 25 was very suttle in the beginning.But I could see the cracks in the wall,it wasn't right.The thing is it was my house,I asked him to leave a few times.He wouldn't,the police wouldn't even help.Now I'm going through another one,two and te of his games all at once.The main game today is to make sure I understand I'm a bad parent.(but I never said that he said)He well and truly implied it.I were suicidal before xmas,now I feel so dirty, useless,stupid.I have no where to go,no money to get out,no one to help.And I have my daughter.

I could never imagine treating someone like that. I'm glad you (and many other women) are out of those hateful relationships. You really are a smart, kind and gentle lady.

I cannot imagine it either. It shocked me. Thank you for this.

Thank you for your compassion. No one should have to go through this, but there are those whose egos are so huge, that I believe they actually derive some kind of sick pleasure from treating others like this. It gives them the power and they somehow feed off of the other person's desperation and weakness.
At least that is how it was explained to me. It helped me to understand the mindset of the perpetrator. There is something seriously lacking there mentally/ emotionally. It is an emotional game.
Show them your strength and they crumble.
Walk away.

It´s exactly how I feel. Thank you for sharing your story and I`m so sorry you had to go through that.

This story makes me so sad, and just as I can feel happy when I revisit joyful stories, when I come back here my breath sort of catches in my throat and I can feel the pain that was inflicted so heartlessly on me, and the tears still come as if it is still happening now.
If he had had a whip I would have preferred it I think.
For all who suffer from this humiliating and brutal form of abuse my heart goes out to you. I've been there. There is hope though, if you can find the strength to pull yourself up and out. Deep breaths and baby steps perhaps. I wish you all well...

You have no idea how those words went through me as I read this! I cried and thought of my life exactly as this and the changes and the long road I have ahead of me!! Thank you for posting this! I am on the road to breathing again!!!

Take deep breaths. It is freeing. Then, if you can, walk away. This is, in some ways, the worst kind of abuse there is in my opinion.

I love your story I feel me in it!

I'm sorry that you see yourself in this, but then again it helps to know your are not alone with your pain I hope. I've been there. It is brutal.

Beautiful and courageous story

Thank you so much.

Here, here. That is good advice LuninousOne. It is hard to believe in yourself when you are treated as I was, but it can be overcome. I am living proof of that. Thank you sincerely for your kind words of encouragement.

Oh my, Sandi, that is the saddest thing I can think of, but I know that it is fairly common. I like to think that as women we would kind of bond, especially when it came to children and grandchildren. I never alienated my mother in law although at times we had our differences. I respected that she was my husband's mom and that he loved her and I grew to love her too. That is how it should be. <br />
But I have a sister who suffers as you do, her grandson does not know her at 3 and it breaks her heart. Again, as sisters...we should all be on the same page... But the husbands's bear part of the blame. I get wanting to keep things calm at home, but alienating your own mother? <br />
Being ignored is always unbearable, but in your case, the sense of hopelessness must be more painful than I can imagine. I am truly sorry. It is hell, definitely. And being forced to live with that, being forced as I was to "accept that which I cannot change" must be particularly hard in your case because you suffer not only for yourself but for the children who are minus a grandparent. God, I am tearful. I am sorry. This is all very hard. You have my prayers.

This past year of not being allowed to see or even talk to my three grand kids has been the biggest challenge of my lifetime. I became a "single" mom in 1983 and we hit rock bottom financially but my youngest son and I had a very strong and loving relationship until he met my daughter in law. She was rude the day we met and let me know to keep my distance...and after 13 years nothing changed except to get worse. I've tried everything I know to try and I keep praying for them as the kids always get hurt the most.but zero commuication has brought about very sad results. A couple of my friends are also having these types of issues. Their son's act scared to death of their wives too and when a son marries a woman that doesn't "like" her husband's mom, brother, or family .... but dotes on her family...and the son allows is simply put ~ Hell.

Crazy,<br />
Sorry for your pain. I know it well. It is a horrible place to be. I am a talker too, a lot like you. Problems get understood and solved with talking. Nothing good has ever come from ignoring and silence. It creates a chasm that often cannot be crossed. Thanks for your comment.

EarthArtist.<br />
It nearly killed me.<br />
Coming up for air is the only way--claw your way up and then run like hell.