At an event promoting her hair care brand Schwarzkopf Gliss on Tuesday, TV personality Jenny McCarthy revealed that she'd survived an abusive relationship. She didn't say who it was with, but she said it lasted four years.
"What I thought was gonna be a typical relationship, turned into a relationship that you would never think you would get yourself into. Especially me. I mean, I really consider myself to be pretty strong-willed and confident, even back then," McCarthy said, according to E! News. "But I did find myself being slowly manipulated in to a very, very dark, abusive — verbally abusive — relationship that could have easily killed me."
Verbal abuse is more common than many people realize. Nearly half of men and half of women have experienced psychological abuse at the hands of an intimate partner, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey.
As McCarthy describes, finding yourself in an abusive relationship can be confusing when you don't think of yourself as someone who would get into one. But the truth is, anyone can, because the signs aren't always evident at first. And no matter how strong you are, the psychological effects can be devastating.
"I no longer had my own thoughts. They were replaced with his thoughts about me," she recalled. "That I was worthless, disgusting, talent-less, ugly, fat, smelled so badly. I was no longer worthy of being kissed."
McCarthy believes she stayed so long because her own parents didn't model a healthy relationship for her. But getting the courage to leave brought out self-love she didn't know she had. "The path to loving yourself requires you to stop putting the blame on others and observe the choices you make that got you there. It wasn't his job to love me. It was mine," she said. "So I chose to finally get the hell out of that relationship. I chose to be powerful not powerless."