Jun 7, 2010

Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse
The U.S. Department of Justice defines emotionally abusive traits as including fear by intimidation, threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends, destruction of pets and property, forcing isolation from family, friends, or school or work.
In 1996, Health Canada argues that emotional abuse is motivated by urges for 'power and discontrol', and defines emotional abuse as including rejecting, degrading, terrorizing, isolating, corrupting/exploiting and denying emotional responsiveness, as characteristic of emotional abuse.
Common characteristics of abusers:

  • was verbally abused as a child, or witnessed it in own family

  • has an explosive temper, triggered by minor frustrations and arguments

  • extremely possessive and jealous; experience an intense desire to control their mates

  • sense of masculinity/femininity depends on mate's dependency upon them

  • often have superficial relationships with other people. Their primary, if not exclusive, relationship is with their mate

  • has low self-esteem

  • has rigid expectations of marriage (or partnership) and will not compromise; expects mate to behave according to their expectations of what a mate should be like, often the way their parents' marriage was, or its opposite; demands that she change to accommodate their expectations

  • has a great capacity for self-deception; projects the blame for relationship difficulties on partner, IE: would not be drunk if mate didn't nag so much. would not get angry if mate would do what their supposed to do. denies the need for counseling because there's nothing wrong with them...or agrees to counseling and then avoids it or makes excuses not to follow through. Might not want mate to get counseling because, they reason, mate wouldn't have any problems if she only turned to him/her

  • may be described as having a dual personality - he/she is either charming or exceptionally cruel; selfish or generous, depending on the mood

  • capacity to deceive others. can be cool, calm, charming, and convincing - a con man

  • mate is usually a symbol. The abuser doesn't relate to their partner as a person in his or her own right, but as a symbol of a significant other. Especially true when the abuser is angry. Abuser assumes mate is thinking, feeling, or acting like that significant other
Effects of long-term emotional and verbal abuse on the victim:

  • isolation from others

  • low self-esteem

  • depression

  • emotional problems

  • illness

  • increased alcohol or drug use

  • withdrawal from real life into an Internet alternative reality

  1. Tell yourself the truth. Denial is a hallmark of abuse. Admit you are being abused and recognize the damage it has done.

  2. Seek professional help and guidance. There is no one-size-fits-all prescription for healing. You need a trained professional to assess your situation and your safety, to help you deal with emotional baggage from the past and to help you develop a strategy for change. Healing is a lengthy and sometimes difficult journey fraught with emotional landmines.

  3. Set appropriate boundaries, with caution; it may escalate the abuse, however appropriate.

  4. Find and maintain healthy relationships. It is critical to seek support from friends, family, and ideally your church.

  5. Forgive. Forgiveness is not denying or excusing the damage caused by abuse. When we forgive, we allow ourselves to heal. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Forgive your abuse and yourself, if necessary.
You are not crazy if:
-you miss the person you fell in love with and feel lonely for them, even when they're right next to you
-you struggle to modify your behavior or needs so they'll treat you the way they treats everyone else
-you cant help being scared of them, but you hate feeling that way
-you believe they love you, but just doesn't like you
-you feel confused and inadequate to repair whats broken in your relationship, but you keep trying
-you seem to recall things in a totally opposite way then your mate does
You are especially NOT crazy because he/she calls you crazy.

Do you believe you are defective somehow?
The ramifications of abuse are yours, and the payoff is theirs. If you feel crazy, the abuser is in control. These things add up to an all-around anxiety of being crazy:

  • I often feel disconnected and confused, wobbly.

  • I engage in introverted dissections of our conflicts to figure out what went wrong.

  • I'm wary and distrust my own ability to form friendships.

  • I feel as if an important dream shattered, but I cant remember what that dream was.

  • I have a growing doubt in myself and my self-respect.

  • I feel like the whole world is muffled and out of my reach.

  • Emptiness lingers around me like an endless fog, and I'm afraid to tell anyone.

  • I must carefully edit anything I say because I'm not normal.

  • I used to love doing some activities, now I just cant muster the enthusiasm.

  • I don't know why I'm not happier within my relationship.

  • I'm ill at ease in his presence, but I know I love him.

  • I'm unsure of how others perceive me; funny since I never used to worry about it.

  • I often don't trust that my perceptions are valid.

  • Sometimes my life feels like a movie I'm watching, not something I'm truly living.

  • I have an intense desire to NOT be the way I am (as in "too sensitive").

  • I cant do, or muck up, the things I care about the most.

if you or someone you know needs support or assistance in your area, go to Yahoo's Yellow Pages , input your city and state (upper right side) then click on Community link. Or check the front pages of your phone book for crisis hot lines. They can refer you to help programs and free counseling programs.

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