Emotional abuse is elusive. Unlike physical abuse, the people doing it and receiving it may not even know it’s happening. It can be more harmful than physical abuse because it can undermine what we think about ourselves. It can cripple all we are meant to be as we allow something untrue to define us. Emotional abuse can happen between parent and child, husband and wife, among relatives and between friends. The abuser projects their words, attitudes or actions onto an unsuspecting victim usually because they themselves have not dealt with childhood wounds that are now causing them to harm others. In the following areas, ask these questions to see if you are abusing or being abused:
1. Humiliation, degradation, discounting, negating, judging, criticizing:
- Does anyone make fun of you or put you down in front of others?
- Do they tease you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you?
- When you complain do they say that “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive?
2. Domination, control, and shame:
- Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them?
- Do they make you feel as though they are always right?
- Do they belittle your accomplishments, your aspirations, your plans
3. Accusing and blaming, trivial and unreasonable demands or expectations…
- Are they unable to laugh at themselves?
- Do they have trouble apologizing?
- Do they blame you for their problems or unhappiness?
- Do they continually have “boundary violations” and disrespect your valid requests?
4. Emotional distancing… isolation, emotional abandonment or neglect:
- Do they use pouting, withdrawal or withholding attention or affection?
- Do they play the victim to deflect blame onto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes?
- Do they not notice or care how you feel?
5. Codependence and enmeshment:
- Does anyone treat you not as a separate person but instead as an extension of themselves?
- Do they not protect your personal boundaries and share information that you have not approved?
- Do they disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?
By Maria Bogdanos http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/02/20/signs-of-emotional-abuse/
She will cry and get over it,
she will hate you
then love you again,
but one day she will leave
and won’t come back.
There are people who are never content, never appeased, forever dissatisfied; who continually look to what escapes them, convincing themselves that if only they could attain that one desire outside of reach, they would be happy. It seems almost pointless to give to these people because their eyes immediately shift from the gift to stare miserably at the portion held back. Their wants, demands, expectations, appetites are never satiated, thus, they refuse to be happy. And you cannot make them so. Richell E. Goodrich
Millions of couples out there practiced the art of sadomasochism every day, without even realizing it. They went to work, came back, complained about everything, insulted their wife or were insulted by her, felt wretched, but were, nonetheless, tightly bound to their own unhappiness, not realizing that all it would take was a single gesture, a final goodbye, to free them from that oppression. Paul Coelho
The only thing that feels worse than being stuck in a situation that makes you unhappy is realizing that you are not ready or willing to change whatever it is. Ashly Lorenzana
For a torture
to be effective,
the pain has to be
it has to come
at regular intervals,
with no end in sight.
If we find ourselves… feeling trapped or clung to by our partner, we may want to consider how much we were intruded on as kids. Did we have a parent or caretaker who was overbearing and imposed on us for attention or reassurance? Are we now reacting (or overreacting) to our partner, because he or she is looking to us for similar qualities? While we aim to find partners who complement us in a positive way, we often wind up finding people whose opposing traits can rouse negative dynamics between us. For example, how many couples do we know, where one person does the talking, and the other stays quiet? While one person tells the stories and attracts attention, the other acts as a listener and falls into the background. We frequently choose people who fill out our personalities, then resent them for the very traits that make them our “other half.” Even when we choose partners who complement us positively, we run the risk of eventually distorting them or provoking them to become someone who we are less compatible with. This is often not the case when we first get involved with someone. In the beginning of a relationship, we naturally step out of our comfort zones, forcing ourselves outside our own heads and into an interaction with someone unfamiliar. The scenario of getting to know a stranger forces us to push ourselves, to be our best selves, and to treat the other person with respect and interest. As we get closer, our defenses start to arise. We start to feel more vulnerable, and influences from our past start to seep in. We must be wary in this stage of how we can distort our partners. We may start to insert hidden meaning into their words that suit a way we feel about ourselves. We may start to project qualities onto them or exaggerate characteristics they possess. Dr. Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/relationship-advice_b_824879.html
What you see is only half of what I am.
I have a hundred different faces,
a million different personalities.
Only a part of me is what I show you.
I display a fraction of my true self.
Everything is just a façade.
It’s not the truth of me.
You don’t know me.
You never will.
Every individual is diverse and complex and carries with them a unique set of baggage from their past that impacts and informs their close relationships. Given this complexity, one is often left to wonder, “Why do I keep choosing the same partner? Why, no matter how many new criteria I mentally create, do I keep winding up in a slightly varied version of the same, not-so-great relationship?” The answer for every person is to first look at ourselves. The experiences that make us who we are also influence who we look for in a partner. While most of us claim to be looking for true love, real compatibility and no drama, there are often unconscious influences — thoughts and behaviors leading us to just the opposite. One influential factor is that many of us seek partners who help us stay within our comfort zone, even if that zone turns out to not be all that desirable. People seek what is familiar. If our past were filled with feelings of rejection or inadequacy, we are likely to seek scenarios in which we feel the same way as adults. Often, we look for partners who reinforce existing views we have of ourselves. For example, if we had a parent who was not always emotionally available to us, or who was inconsistent in offering us warmth and affection, we may think of ourselves as unlovable on some level. When we look for a partner, we may be initially drawn to someone whose attention makes us feel good about ourselves. Eventually, we may start to notice that this person is resistant to getting close and can be disregarding. Even as we are tormented by feelings of rejection, we often fail to realize that the very reason we were so drawn to this person may be because we sensed that they support those all-to-familiar feelings of being inadequate and undeserving. Dr. Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/relationship-advice_b_824879.html
Humans have a knack
for choosing precisely
the things that are
worst for them.
J. K. Rowling
Most of us who grew up in families affected by the disease of alcoholism never did really grow up in many ways. Sure, we grew up physically — but emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually many of us are still stuck back there in early childhood. We never learned a “normal” way of thinking, feeling or reacting. As long as things are going smoothly, we’re fine. However, when we experience conflict, controversy, or crises and we respond with less-than-adult-like reactions. Over the years, those who have studied the “adult child” phenomenon have compiled a list of common characteristics which many people who grew up in dysfunctional homes seem to share. The following characteristics were developed in 1983 by Dr. Janet G. Woititz. You may recognize some of them.
…guess at what normal is.
…have difficulty in following a project through from beginning to end.
…lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
…judge themselves without mercy.
…have difficulty having fun.
…take themselves very seriously.
…have difficulty with intimate relationships.
…overreact to changes over which they have no control.
…constantly seek approval and affirmation.
…feel that they are different from other people.
…are either super responsible or super irresponsible..
…are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that loyalty is undeserved.
…tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsivity leads to confusion, self loathing, and loss of control of their environment. As a result, they spend tremendous amounts of time cleaning up the mess.
These characteristics are, of course, general in nature and do not apply to everyone. Some may apply and others not. http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/adult/a/aa073097.htm
Wine hath drowned
more men than the sea.
If the alcoholic has more or less continued to hold down a job, he is politely called a “functioning alcoholic.” But he is an alcoholic nonetheless. He works much below his potential, he neglects or abuses his family and he may not live very long if he continues the self-abuse. Like all addicts he lies (bold-faced lies, lies of omission, cover-ups, minimization), he makes excuses, he blames others for his drinking, and he continues to seek out and use alcohol regardless of consequences. If there are children present, they copy the lying, justifying, blaming behavior which they see modeled. They also learn to keep family secrets and to cover for their alcoholic parent. In other words they join in the “dance of alcohol” and participate with their parents, learning how to be alcoholics or how to live with them when they grow up. If you are living with an alcoholic, there are steps you can take too. Perhaps more importantly at first, there are things you can learn to avoid so that you don’t further your partner’s alcoholism. Making excuses for him, for example, only makes things worse. By Neill Neill http://ezinearticles.com/?Youre-Married-to-an-Alcoholic—What-to-Do?&id=930249
That’s the problem with drinking,
I thought, as I poured myself a drink.
If something bad happens you drink
in an attempt to forget;
if something good happens
you drink in order to celebrate;
and if nothing happens
you drink to make something happen.
Abuse: Touching someone’s body without their permission, hitting, punching, pinching, slapping, tickling, pulling hair, hitting with objects, banging the head, so that marks are left on the person…Punching someone to the point of knocking them off their feet, slamming them into walls or hard objects, strangling or choking someone…Intimidating someone with the threat of violence, punching walls or throwing objects. …you might think that because some other member of your family was receiving the blows you are not a victim of physical abuse, but (you were) if the underlying fear is, “When will it be me?” Physical sexual abuse is bodily sexual activity with a child or touching in a sexual way. It includes: intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, an adult masturbating a child or having a child masturbate an adult, sexual hugging, sexual kissing, and sexual touching. Many people who have been molested or incested feel responsible for what happened, feel that they caused it to happen or wanted it to happen. I have also heard clients express acceptance since it was the only kind of attention that they received. You are not responsible and it is not acceptable behavior. A child will not seek out sexual encounters except what may be age-appropriate sex play with other children. It is the adult’s responsibility to set appropriate boundaries and protect the child. Taken from “Adults Abused as Children” by Licia Ginne, LMFT http://www.latherapists.com/articles.html
The consequences of your denial
will be with you for a lifetime
and will be passed down
to the next generation.
Break your Silence on Abuse!
Patty Rase Hopson
One of the reasons for this jealousy is insecurity. A man may be paired with a very beautiful woman and feel that he is not quite handsome enough to be with her. The male may feel that she’ll dump him for somebody else. Even if he feels, quote, unquote “handsome enough”, every time she smiles and looks at somebody else-he will still feel insecure about himself and his relationship with his partner. Insecurities can be the heart and soul of every jealousy: insecurity about appearance, relationship status and such. Through such feelings, comes a loss of trust, faith-never mind self-esteem. In the vast majority of all cases, the jealousy is simply not warranted. But say that to an insecure man. First, he’ll deny it. But when it becomes very apparent, he’ll say that she probably is cheating on him-wants another man. You may stand there, in deep consternation and befuddlement over these illusory jealousies. But he will still feel jealous, and may not be able to stop it. The wife or girlfriend in question ends up feeling insecure over her own relationship. She feels restricted or under a tight leash because she may have a number of male friends and her male partner cannot handle it. Jealousies have torn apart many a relationship over the years. It verges on and has easily crossed the lines of paranoia and obsessive behavior. By bukisa.com http://www.modernghana.com/lifestyle/2170/16/why-are-men-so-jealous.html
A woman never forgets
the men she could have had;
a man, the women he couldn’t.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
(A) child’s unconscious adaptation to a dysfunctional family interferes with his or her adult relationships. Because the real self is safely tucked away, the adult must “invent” a different one that will appear as normal as possible and be able to negotiate the day-to-day interactions of adult life. Invented selves, however, have no interest in true intimacy. Instead, they exist as a kind of interface between the true self and the outside world, carefully monitoring and controlling what is allowed in and out. As a result, passion and empathy have to be manufactured–while the person may take the time in the early/romantic phase of a relationship to “act” this out, many soon tire of the effort. Often partners notice the “wooden” nature of their response or their obliviousness. It is not unusual for these people to be particularly accomplished. They channel all of their energy toward a particular pursuit, and away from everything else that is happening around them. . Workaholics often fit this category. From “Why Can’t Some People Maintain Intimate Relationships?” by Richard A. Grossman, Ph.D. http://www.voicelessness.com/intimacy.html
The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational
until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction
and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.
It is always striking when a bright, attractive and otherwise accomplished person cannot maintain an intimate relationship. Most of the time the person appears in my office as the bewildered half of a distressed couple. Their spouse’s/partner’s complaints are legion: the offending partner doesn’t listen, they’re in their own world, they have little or no interest in sex, they prefer to be alone, they are unable to intuit or understand emotion. The spouse complains that the marriage consists of two people sharing the same living space, splitting chores. The person’s childhood usually provides clues to the problem. Sometimes, people tell terrible stories of abuse and neglect: in these cases one can easily understand why intimacy is avoided. But other times people depict a non-eventful childhood, devoid of conflict or even moments of common unhappiness. When pressed they remember few specific details positive or negative–and this is the rub. When their full story is revealed, it becomes clear the person dulled the abrasive experience of day-to-day family life by paying little attention. In doing so, they successfully pushed people away and retreated to the safety of their own inner world and preoccupations. This unconscious strategy reduced conflict and guaranteed their emotional survival. From “Why Can’t Some People Maintain Intimate Relationships?” by Richard A. Grossman, Ph.D. http://www.voicelessness.com/intimacy.html
It is not a lack of love,
but a lack of friendship
that makes unhappy marriages.