After literally a lifetime of being yelled at, called names, and put down, it was pretty commonplace to me. My dad had always done it, my mom to some extent, and then my ex-husband.
After I started dating John, all that changed.
I remember sitting outside with him one night, after we'd been dating several months, just talking. And I said to him, 'You know, we've been dating since May, and you have never once even raised your voice to me."
And John looked at me, and very simply said, "And I never will."
It made me feel so good, so safe.
And to this day, my husband has never, ever raised his voice to me. On the very rare occasions that we disagree, we simply discuss things like two rational, adult human beings. We never put each other down, call each other names, belittle each other. We have respect for one another.
Being treated with dignity has raised my self-esteem, and I no longer allow anyone to treat me in the way I used to be treated. If they try, I walk away, hang up the phone, or do whatever I need to do to make it stop. Immediately.
Because my husband kept his promise, and made me see that I deserve better.