Let me flashback a case of emotional abuse grabbed from The Oprah Winfrey Show: Oprah investigates: Emotionally Tortured Wife. It happened in 2004 yet, but I feel it worthy to recall some tales of emotionally tortured wives because it would appease me that mine is not an isolated case.
This is the story of Kim and Eddie.
Kim and Eddie have been married for five years and have two young boys. They admit they need help. The name-calling, the degrading insults—Kim has hidden the emotional anguish she says Eddie puts her through on a daily basis. Kim says she has often wished it would get so bad that Eddie would turn physically violent—so she’d have “a reason to get out.” How does she feel about herself?
“I feel like the ugliest, most stupid person,” Kim says. “I feel like the worst mother in the world. I feel like I don’t deserve my children. I don’t feel like I’m worthy of love by anybody.”
Kim says she had been in previous abusive relationships, so when Eddie came along, she thought he would keep her safe.
“When I met him, I was happy,” Kim says. “I got a good job. I worked for two years and then everything went downhill after I miscarried. I think I felt like a failure.”
Eddie says that he did not believe that Kim was happy when she met him, and that she’s always had self-esteem issues.
We put cameras inside Kim and Eddie’s home. After watching the videotape of how he acted toward Kim, Eddie was nearly brought to tears. He had no idea his words were that devastating or that his wife was in so much pain.
“I love you, Kim,” Eddie says. “I’m sorry for hurting you and breaking your heart time and time again. I honestly didn’t realize. Thank you for pointing it out to me.”
Kim says she’s leaving the show not completely convinced Eddie will change. “I want him to take me seriously that I won’t put up with it anymore,” Kim says. “If I see on the plane ride home or in the hotel that he’s the same way, then I don’t know how it can be fixed.”
Dr. Susan Weitzman is a psychotherapist who specializes in emotional abuse and the author ofNot to People Like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages. She says that emotional behavior like Kim’s and Eddie’s is often kept a secret because the two usually have a “silent agreement” about the abuse.
“First, [the woman] buys into what the guy is saying,” Dr. Weitzman says. “She buys into [the emotional abuse], and it’s like a systematic erosion of self-esteem. He says she’s bad, and she says, ‘I guess I am.’ Ironically, that bonds them in some crazy kind of way. They both agree that it’s her fault. There’s the feeling of being ashamed and embarrassed, or maybe she’s hooked on hope, as I call it. She’s hoping he’ll change so if she doesn’t talk about it, maybe it will go away.”
I don’t know if Kim had gotten over the emotional abuse and “lived happily ever after” with Eddie.