Stock photo: Fotolia

Bruno Mars is one of my favorite pop singers. Whenever I hear his music, especially his hit “Grenade” my body can’t help itself. I drop whatever I’m doing and start dancing to the uplifting beat.

Recently, while driving on the Long Island Expressway, “Grenade” began playing on Sirius Radio. With my eyes on the road and foot on the gas, I was all ears. (No body-dancing or fist pumping on the Long Island Expressway.) I had a chance to really listen to the lyrics and, folks, it was anything but uplifting.

Here’s the short version:

“Gave you all I had, and you tossed it in the trash
You tossed it in the trash, you did
To give me all your love is all I ever asked, cause
What you don’t understand is I’d catch a grenade for ya
Throw my head on a blade for ya
I’d jump in front of a train for ya
Oh oh, I would go through all the pain
Take a bullet straight through my brain
Yes, I would die for ya baby
But you won’t do the same.”


Bruno, here’s a news flash: Neither would I. Love your music, but I wouldn’t jump in front of a train or take a grenade for you or for anyone else.

Yet, some folks who are in toxic relationships, metaphorically throw themselves in front of a train or take a grenade for their heartthrobs.

Men and women in all walks of life are victims of physical and emotional abuse. Best buddies, they travel hand in hand, wreaking havoc in the lives of the weak and vulnerable.

Here’s the kicker — one may suffer emotional abuse and not see it as detrimental: If there is no physical abuse, there is no abuse.

Hold on — sure there is!

It’s like taking a bullet straight through the brain as Bruno states in his song. Emotional abuses are just as unacceptable as physical abuse and can leave long-lasting scars.

Emotional abuse can leave its victims with a lack of self-worth. Their independence takes a nose-dive, and consequently, they become too dependent to leave. Victims of emotional abuse suffer from anxiety, depression and a wide range of emotional disorders.

Some iniquitous behaviors of an emotional abuser are:

  • Yelling
  • Name calling
  • Blaming
  • Shaming
  • Controlling

These tactics are designed to manipulate and keep the victim in check while the abuser exerts their power. Yet, many victims do not seek help. I suppose when one thinks that abusive behavior is normal, it’s shrugged off as “this is just the way he/she is”.

The kiss-and-make-up cycle is a biggie. When an abusive situation occurs, the abuser manipulates the victim by doing something nice and apologizing with promises of never doing it again. Only it happens, again and again, perpetuating the cycle.

Some relationships are plagued with infidelity and, folks, infidelity is abuse. The “cheater” will buy expensive gifts and show more affection distracting their partner. Cheaters deceive themselves. Studies reveal that most victims of adultery suspect the deceit. Sadly, they prefer wearing blinders to block out reality. Me? I would kick him to the curb.

Victims of abuse may threaten to leave and never do, or they leave for a short time. They may feel the pressure not to give up or to forgive and forget. Sometimes there is a secondary gain in these behaviors. In this mindset, the victims are elevated to sainthood by the outside world; however, their really-real world is hell.

When a person is abused they are made to feel worthless. In this state of mind, they may feel there is no better option for them. They may choose to stay for fear of being alone or they don’t want their finances to take a hit. Perhaps their religious beliefs prevent them from divorce or the investment of time and family keeps them cemented in place.

When I was gainfully employed (not a struggling writer), I was the administrator of a women’s center. I witnessed firsthand what emotional abuse does. Sometimes when some headway was made, a well-meaning friend may advise the victim to “stick it out” undoing all the healthy work. Folks, a true friend will encourage one to take that leap of faith and leave.

And I am going to take a leap of faith here and advise anyone who is an abusive relationship to seek help. Or, at the very least, question the aspects of your relationship.

Your abusive partner doesn’t have a problem with anger; the problem is your anger. One of the basic rights that is taken away is the right to be angry no matter how you are treated. Swallowing anger causes depression, anxiety and emotional numbing.

We all deserve love and affection. But, first you must value yourself; being bullied into silence is self-abuse.

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