Many victims of abuse dated or knew their abuser for less than six months before they were engaged or living together. The abuser will often claim ‘love at first sight’, that you are ‘made for each other’, or that you are the only person whom he could ever talk to so openly, feel so at home with, could understand him so well. He/she may tell you that they have never loved anyone so much or felt so loved by anyone so much before, when you have really only known each other for a short amount of time. He/she needs someone desperately, and will pressure you to commit to him/her or make love before you feel the relationship has reached ‘that stage’. He/she may also make you feel guilty for not committing yourself to him/her. The abuser may expect you to be the perfect husband, wife, mother, father, lover, and friend. He/she is very dependent on you for all his/her needs, and may tell you he/she can fulfil all your needs as lover, friend, and companion. Statements such as: ‘lf you love me, I’m all you need’, ‘You are all I need.’ are common. Your abuser may expect you to provide everything for him/her emotionally, practically, financially or spiritually, and then blame you for not being perfect or living up to expectation. The abuser may try to curtail your social interaction. He/she may prevent you from spending time with your friends or family and demand that you only go places ‘together’. He/she may accuse you of being ‘tied to your mother’s apron strings’, not be committed to the relationship, or view people who are your personal friends as ‘causing trouble’ or ‘trying to put a wedge’ between you. He/she may want to live in the country without a phone, not let you use the car, stop you from working or gaining further education or qualifications. http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/warning_signs.html
Don’t judge yourself
by what others did to you.
At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always say the jealousy is a sign of love. He/she may question you about whom you have spoken to or seen during the day, may accuse you of flirting, or be jealous of time you spend with family, friends, children or hobbies which do not include him/her. As the jealousy progresses, he/she may call you frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly. He may be unhappy about or refuse to let you work for fear you’ll meet someone else, check the car mileage or ask friends to keep an eye on you. Jealousy is not proof of love, it is a sign of insecurity and possessiveness. Controlling behavior is often disguised or excused as concern. Concern for your safety, your emotional or mental health, the need to use your time well, or to make sensible decisions. Your abuser may be angry or upset if you are ‘late’ coming back from work, shopping, visiting friends, etc., even if you told him/her you would be later back than usual. Your abuser may question you closely about where you were, whom you spoke to, the content of every conversation you held, or why you did something he/she was not involved in. As this behavior gets worse, you may not be allowed to make personal decisions about the house, clothing, going to church or how you spend your time or money or even make you ask for permission to leave the house or room. Alternately, he/she may theoretically allow you your own decisions, but penalize you for making the wrong ones. Concern for our loved ones to a certain extent is normal – trying to control their every move is not. http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/warning_signs.html
Relationships are like glass.
Sometimes it’s better
to leave them broken
than hurt yourself
trying to put it back together.
A codependent man is a man who is often a high functioning husband with a wife who has a physical, mental, and spiritual need for a mind-altering substance, such as alcohol or drugs. His wife’s extreme need for her substance has caused her for years to manipulate this man by every means known to a woman who has stood up before institutions full of relatives, a respected preacher, and God pledging his total allegiance to her for life “…till death do them part.” Almost all of the literature on codependency is written by women for women, leaving the codependent man basically unstudied. This is for a very simple reason. He is under everybody’s radar screen because he has to be! …the twin diseases of alcoholism and codependency have isolated him. His preoccupation with an alcoholic wife has robbed him of the time and energy to form trusting relationships with other men, and he pays a tremendous internal price for that missing element. It is not only his lack of time to develop relationships with other men that isolates this codependent man. His various defense mechanisms such as perfectionism and over-achievement serve to make other men shun him. There is also his underlying anger, mostly born of fear. Other men sense this. He is so obviously not at ease in his own skin. He over-reacts, especially to any slight criticism. So his ears are either perked in constant high alert, or flattened with anger and frustration. His frustration, though constant, cannot be voiced for an important reason; he cannot identify it! It is called denial. Denial is his most immediate and user-friendly shock absorber against the painful emotional shocks delivered at random from his first family during childhood. Studies show that most codependent men came from highly dysfunctional families that included at least one alcoholic or addicted parent. All he ever knew was this existence, so that feels normal. He just went out and found a wife who would treat him in the same way that the people who were supposed to love him unconditionally always did. A little boy can’t win against big parents, and a beaten-down man can’t win against an abusive addicted wife. http://www.articlesbase.com/mens-health-articles/we-codependent-men-we-mute-coyotes-629880.html
If I treat you
the way you treated me,
then you would hate me.
Sushan R Sharma
According to a Penn professor who studies these things, every American man has about a 28 percent chance of being struck by a woman at some point in his life (in related news, the number of girls ages 10 to 17 arrested for aggravated assault has doubled in the last 20 years). And yet no one seems to take the phenomenon that seriously. Maybe it’s because men, generally speaking, are bigger and stronger, and we assume there’s a real limit to the physical damage women could actually inflict. We don’t picture these scuffles resulting in bloody noses and black eyes or a trip to the station house. Furthermore, pop culture has made the idea of a pretty girl whaling on a guy a wacky comedy staple — Angelina Jolie smashing wine bottles over Brad Pitt’s head in Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Cameron Diaz cold cocking Edward Burns in The Holiday were both played for laughs. But the reality of getting hit by your girlfriend isn’t so sexy or hilarious. A male friend of mine — let’s call him Tom — was hit several times by his. “We’d get into these exhausting fights,” he tells me. “Like, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., where nothing would turn the volume down except sex and sleep. With her, everything was fine in the morning, but I was upset for days. She actually seemed to think it was sexy. I remember her showing me finger-shaped bruises on her arms where I had restrained her from swinging at me — and she raised an eyebrow, made a saucy comment. But I was petrified. I was doing stuff like putting the knives up on the very top shelf. For me, it wasn’t fun at all.” But what, really, does it feel like for the guy? First, there’s the shock of betrayal and a palpable urge to hit back. Second, there’s outrage at the presumption that this won’t happen. This is all perceived through a haze of humiliation at the fact that, yes, you got hit by a girl — and it hurt. The experience tends to bring some deep-tissue change to the relationship. “The second time [she hit me], I started to feel threatened by what she could potentially do,” says Tom. “Not just physically but emotionally. I started not trusting her.” In the end, the best reason not to hit your guy is also the most empowering: You don’t have to. You can hurt us way worse with a withering glance and some choice words. Or by banishing us to the couch, where we sometimes belong. From an article by Chris Norris http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/relationship-issues/abusive-women
All violence is the result of people
tricking themselves into believing
that their pain derives from other people
and that consequently those people
deserve to be punished.
Douglas Besharov states in Recognizing Child Abuse: A Guide for the Concerned, “Emotional abuse is an assault on the child’s psyche, just as physical abuse is an assault on the child’s body”(1990). Children who are constantly ignored, shamed, terrorized or humiliated suffer at least as much, if not more, than if they are physically assaulted. Danya Glaser (2002) finds that emotional abuse can be “more strongly predictive of subsequent impairments in the children’s development than the severity of physical abuse.” An infant who is severely deprived of basic emotional nurturance, even though physically well cared for, can fail to thrive and can eventually die. Babies with less severe emotional deprivation can grow into anxious and insecure children who are slow to develop and who have low self-esteem. Although the visible signs of emotional abuse in children can be difficult to detect, the hidden scars of this type of abuse manifest in numerous behavioral ways, including insecurity, poor self-esteem, destructive behavior, angry acts (such as fire setting and animal cruelty), withdrawal, poor development of basic skills, alcohol or drug abuse, suicide, difficulty forming relationships and unstable job histories. Emotionally abused children often grow up thinking that they are deficient in some way. A continuing tragedy of emotional abuse is that, when these children become parents, they may continue the cycle with their own children. Some children may experience emotional abuse only, without ever experiencing another form of abuse. However, emotional abuse typically is associated with and results from other types of abuse and neglect, which makes it a significant risk factor in all child abuse and neglect cases. Emotional abuse that exists independently of other forms of abuse is the most difficult form of child abuse to identify and stop.
There is no greater evil
than those who willingly
hurt an innocent child.
The desire to be part of a loving family; to have parents who are loving, supporting, and caring; to have siblings who love you and care for your well-being; to have family members who listen to you, who share themselves, who make your life happier by being in it (and who are happy in your being in their lives)…. All those are very human desires. Everyone wants those. Who doesn’t want to be loved well and loved for who they are? … not everyone gets that family. Yet abused children will do anything to convince themselves that, yes, they do have that family. Myriad children, for the sake of being able to survive to adulthood, have to convince themselves that their family is loving…. even if the children are being routinely cut into shreds emotionally. Abusive parents, knowing this on some level, often tell their abused children that they deserve such verbal takedowns, that the parents are only being honest or caring, that the parents need to correct their children, etc. The abusive parents often cling to an idea that they are fantastic parents and, as emotionally abused children often experience a type of brainwashing, children repeat what they hear. “We are a loving family,” a child will repeat, even if bearing emotional scars from distant, selfish parents. “My parents are great parents,” a boy will repeat even if he has been treated harshly and been abused routinely. The child’s mind needs to believe that the loving family is true… because the truth of the matter is very difficult for a child to accept. But it’s also difficult for an adult survivor to accept the fact. However, an adult has the ability to break away from the abuse. And one way to make sure they stop engaging in relationships that are abusive is to remember the truth of the relationship. Remember the facts of what really have happened. Unfortunately, many adult survivors of emotional child abuse—-longing for family, longing for parents, hating how judgmental society is regarding estranged family members—hurry back to the fold almost as quickly as they told their abusers to stop it. The adult survivor’s deeply rooted desire for what could be makes them return to the fold in the very foolish, heart-breaking hope that everything will be different now… By Veronica Maria Jarski http://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/tag/adult-survivors-of-emotional-child-abuse-2/
There are many
who don’t wish to sleep
for fear of nightmares.
Sadly, there are many
who don’t wish to wake
for the same fear.
Richelle E. Goodrich
There are four common traits found in adults who have been abused as children. A person who has experienced severe sexual, physical, or emotional abuse will usually have all four. A person who experienced limited abuse will probably have only some of the traits, and those that are present will interfere with this person’s life in only a limited number of situations. The first trait is the tendency to be triggered by specific events, which has been called time tunneling… The second trait is difficulty modulating emotions. This means that it is easy for a person to become anxious or angry, and, once angered or frightened, it is difficult for this person to calm down. An adult who had to suppress many emotions as a child may also find it difficult to feel emotions at a low-level because the tendency to suppress emotions has become automatic. The third trait is a tendency to view oneself and the world negatively. The three key areas affected are the ability to trust, feel safe, and believe that it is possible to bring about desired outcomes. Two key areas in terms of one’s self image are whether or not one is normal and whether or not one is lovable. The nature of the abuse can greatly affect the form of these negative views. For instance, if a person was abused by a stranger, he or she may feel a sense of safety when close loved ones, and a sense of danger when far away from them. However, if a person was abused by someone who was supposed to protect and give love, the identification of what and who are “safe” becomes confused. The fourth trait is a reduced ability to understand events. People with this tendency find that they often go into a daze or become confused, especially when they are stressed, dealing with conflict, or emotionally upset. When a child is being abused and cannot escape physically, the child often takes the only other form of escape possible: dissociation. The more frequent and severe the abuse, the greater the tendency to remove oneself mentally from the painful experience. …people with abusive childhoods often find it difficult to distinguish unhealthy individuals from healthy ones. Their childhood experiences taught them to ignore the important indicators that to those raised in healthy families became danger signals. Instead, they “numb out” or use an old response pattern that causes them to walk into harm’s way without even knowing it. In addition, an abused child often develops a self-concept that contains beliefs about being dirty, inadequate, guilty, or responsible for what happened. As a result, a person like this often makes up a “cover story” and tries to hide who he or she really is… From article by Reneau Peurifoy http://rpeurifoy.com/Articles/TraitsinAdultswithAbusiveChildhoods.aspx
Not all scars show,
not all wounds heal.
Sometimes you can’t
always see the pain
that someone feels.
There is no universally accepted definition of emotional abuse. It is commonly defined as “systematic attacks on a child’s emotional well-being and sense of self-worth.” Think of emotional child abuse as a pattern of behavior that attacks a child’s emotional development, sense well-being and trust in the world and others. These attacks can include overtly violent verbal acts or simply chronic, excessive, aggressive or unreasonable demands that place expectations on children that are beyond their developmental capacity. Often, parents unknowingly place inappropriate expectations on children. Three-year-olds, for example, can not be expected to sit quietly for an extended length of time. They just do not have the physical control of their bodies yet, nor the coping skills to always manage “listening” to requests to “behave.” Even an overly cooperative child is at-risk for being dominated and controlled through a system of praise and rewards which can be emotionally damaging, as the child feels pressured into a constant race to keep up with the expectations of others. Expectations that do not consider a child’s needs and feelings do more harm than good. The end result: a child who has less ability to organize his thoughts, relate in healthy ways, manage his emotions or resolve conflict peacefully. Violence in our words can manifest in a variety of ways including: verbal attacks, judgments, shame, blame, guilt, comparing, criticizing, teasing, name-calling insulting, rejecting and evaluating children’s behavior. Any time children are exposed to verbal abuse or violence, it chips away at their sense of self-worth and lays a foundation of hopelessness. Sometimes it’s just a scratch and other times it’s a whole chunk of self-esteem that falls off. It is not always the severity of the event but the attention, intention, and follow-up reactions of adults that determine whether or not these disconnections in our relationships (which happen and are normal) become healing moments of growth or moments which undermine healthy development. The child who feels heard, and emotionally supported will grow from negative experiences, learning to cope and strengthening his capacity for empathy. The child who experiences criticism, isolation, punitive consequences, negativity, shame, blame or guilt does not develop in the same ways. From an online article by Lori Petro http://www.teach-through-love.com/emotional-child-abuse.html
I wanted to tell you
all my secrets
but you became
one of them.
Emotional abuse of a child is commonly defined as a pattern of behavior by parents or caregivers that can seriously interfere with a child’s cognitive, emotional, psychological or social development. Emotional abuse of a child — also referred to as psychological maltreatment — can include:
– Ignoring. Either physically or psychologically, the parent or caregiver is not present to respond to the child. He or she may not look at the child and may not call the child by name.
– Rejecting. This is an active refusal to respond to a child’s needs (e.g., refusing to touch a child, denying the needs of a child, ridiculing a child).
– Isolating. The parent or caregiver consistently prevents the child from having normal social interactions with peers, family members and adults.
– Exploiting or corrupting. In this kind of abuse, a child is taught, encouraged or forced to develop inappropriate or illegal behaviors. It may involve self-destructive or antisocial acts of the parent or caregiver, such as teaching a child how to steal…
– Verbally assaulting. This involves constantly belittling, shaming, ridiculing or verbally threatening the child.
– Terrorizing. Here, the parent or caregiver threatens or bullies the child and creates a climate of fear for the child.
– Neglecting the child. This abuse may include educational neglect, where a parent or caregiver fails or refuses to provide the child with necessary educational services; mental health neglect, where the parent or caregiver denies or ignores a child’s need for treatment for psychological problems; or medical neglect, where a parent or caregiver denies or ignores a child’s need for treatment for medical problems.
While the definition of emotional abuse is often complex and imprecise, professionals agree that, for most parents, occasional negative attitudes or actions are not considered emotional abuse. What is truly harmful, according to James Garbarino, a national expert on emotional abuse, is the persistent, chronic pattern that “erodes and corrodes a child”. Most parents want the best for their children. However, some parents may emotionally and psychologically harm their children because of stress, poor parenting skills, social isolation, lack of available resources or inappropriate expectations of their children. They may emotionally abuse their children because the parents or caregivers were emotionally abused themselves as children. http://www.americanhumane.org/children/stop-child-abuse/fact-sheets/emotional-abuse.html
The difficult child is
the child who is unhappy.
He is at war with himself;
and in consequence,
he is at war with the world.
A. S. Neill
The brains of children raised in violent families resemble the brains of soldiers exposed to combat, psychologists say. They’re primed to perceive threat and anticipate pain, adaptations that may be helpful in abusive environments but produce long-term problems with stress and anxiety. “For them to detect early cues that might signal danger is adaptive. It allows them to react, to try and avoid the danger,” said psychologist Eamon McCrory of University College London. However, “a very similar neural signature characterizes quite a few anxiety disorders.” In a study published Dec. 5 in Current Biology, McCrory’s team used functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to measure blood flows in the brains of 43 children exposed to violence at home as they looked at pictures of sad or angry faces. Previous studies have shown that abuse affects kids’ brains; as they grow up, abused children become adults with high levels of aggression, anxiety, depression and other behavioral problems. But according to McCrory, the new study is the first to use fMRI to study the form of those changes. “Understanding the neural mechanisms might give us clues as to how someone’s future might be shaped by their experience,” McCrory said. His team compared fMRIs from abused children to those of 23 non-abused but demographically similar children from a control group. In the abused children, angry faces provoked distinct activation patterns in their anterior insula and right amygdala, parts of the brain involved in processing threat and pain. Similar patterns have been measured in soldiers who’ve seen combat. Another recent study found that depression in people who were abused as children is especially difficult to treat. McCrory hopes future work will give a more complete picture of abuse’s neurological effects — and, perhaps, the effects of interventions that help children heal. “Can children change in response to an act of intervention? To a better home environment? We’re quite optimistic that’s the case, that this is reversible. But that’s something we need to test,” McCrory said. By Brandon Keim http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/12/neurology-of-abuse/
The difficult child
is the child
who is unhappy.
He is at war
and in consequence,
he is at war
with the world.
A. S. Neill