Are you a victim of emotional / mental abuse? This article offers guidelines that may help you determine the answer.
So often I find that emotionally wounded people land up choosing controlling, abusive partners. I have wondered at this but it seems clear to me that the abused seem to be drawn to abusers because this is all they know. It is a manifestation of their internal self belief. Most victims come to believe that they are at fault and that they must be doing something to deserve the treatment that is meted out. The truth is that their only fault is to make poor choices when it comes to their partners and in enabling bad behaviour. Howerver, to spend time in self condemnation really is a waste of time. It's important that you stop the 'Coulda, shoulda, woulda...' talk and forgive yourself. The only way to break the pattern is to see it and then to make different choices.
How to recognise abusive behaviour
Do you hear the following from your partner?:
...'I'm really only doing this for your own good.' (Remember that line from your parents? If you hear this from your partner, beware!)
...'I'm tough on you because you need to toughen up.'
...'Do as I tell you.' or 'Just listen to me and you'll be ok.'
...'You're stupid, crazy, .....(fill in insulting adjectives)'
...'What's wrong with you?'
Does your partner:
... constantly find fault and criticizes you for any given reason? Most people criticize at times but when someone harps on and on about your faults, watch out.
... play the blame game? Example: 'You make me do this...' etc.
... lay on the guilt trip? Example: 'If you are going to go out. I'll just stay at home all alone and do nothing.'
...bargain with you or give you conditions? Example: 'If you this then I'll do that.' Even worse, 'If you do this, I'll love you.' Offering rewards in this way is manipulative and controlling.
...blame you for their own faults? Example: 'I only drink because you drive me so crazy.' or 'I'm in this position because you...' etc.
... measure your worth in terms? It would be wrong to say 'I do all this and what do I get from you?' but at the same time victims of abuse will often try to justify their existence by their actions. They may feel like they need to work for the love they get. The abuser will often trivialize their actions by saying things like, 'If I wanted my house cleaned, I'd get a maid.' or will make their victim feel insignificant by saying, 'I support you financially. What have you done for me?' Any attempt at justification will be met with derision.
Be careful not to label a person as an abuser if they display out-of-character behaviour in a heated argument. We can all be verbally abusive in a given situation. When having an argument it is all too easy to slip into making accusations that begin with, 'You always...' or 'You never...' We shouldn't do this because it is damaging to a relationship but we are all human and in a stressful situation may attack. This doesn't excuse bad habits. Once you recognize destructive behaviour, you can work on correcting it. It is far better to say, 'I feel hurt when you...' Spotlight the behaviour, rather than denigrate the person. You will never motivate someone by pointing out their flaws and telling them how they are failing. Motivation comes from encouragement and support. Also remember that abusive behaviour never warrants abusive behaviour in return. If you get onto that nasty little merry-go-round you will find it extremely difficult to get off. It becomes a vicious cycle that only leads to further destruction.
Mental and emotional abuse if far more damaging in many respects than physical abuse. You will recover far faster from physical wounds than from those deep inner wounds. This is not to say that you should ever accept physical abuse of any sort. One of the main reasons why emotional / mental abuse is so difficult to deal with is that it is so insidious. The abuser will make you think that the problem lies with you. They will excuse their bad behaviour by claiming that you provoked it or deserved it. Don't fall for this.
There is NO excuse for abuse!!!
I've offered this up so that those of you who have fallen prey to abuse will recongise it. I have not offered solutions in this article but may follow up in another article if others find this helpful. There may be some who will read this and recognise their own abusive behaviour. It is extremely hard for an abuser to admit that they have a problem. They are often so caught up in the 'blame game' they cannot take responsibility. Abusers are often victims of abuse at some point in their lives themselves. The only way to break these destructive habits are to own up to them. Destructive behaviour is brought about by deep seated insecurity or by fear. Many abusers feel guilty about their actions but inevitably try to justify them. To own up means to make yourself vulnerable and it takes a huge amount of courage.
On both sides. The first step is to see the situation for what it is and take responsibility. It is important that you recognise the behaviour and take steps to break destructive patterns.
© Chanti 2006
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|Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
|The tears running down my face: I heard these, and more...growing up, in my marriage: no excuse to make someone feel worthless, less than zero: a potentially life saving write, Chanti. Well done.
(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
|Reviewed by Regis Auffray
|A most informative and timely article, Chanti. Thank you for sharing it. Love and peace to you,
|Reviewed by Linda Wells
|Sometimes, when you have heard these comments all your life, you think this is the way life is suspose to be. You don't feel like you are worthy of anything more. I have felt this way many times, it took me a long time to realize this, maybe that is why I have been married 6 times! I was always attracted to men that treated me inferior. Now I know better, and I am happy just being by myself for now.|
|Reviewed by Chuck Keller
|Wow! You're not only a wonderfully talented poet, you're a brilliant writer of non-fiction too! Great job. I never understood why "abused" people choose such partners. Once I tried to stop a man who had slapped a woman outside a restaurant and she screamed at me to leave him alone! He had a right. Unbelievable! But it happened. At least he stopped hitting her.
Thanks for writing this. I hope it can stop just one person from being this kind of "victim."
|Reviewed by Tinka Boukes
|Thanks for sharing sis!!
|Reviewed by Jennifer Butler
|Absolutely. I remember in college, we took a life drawing class, and they snuck in a nude model. Of course, there was nothing sexual about the art work, more of an anatomy course, but nevertheless, this world is full of low thinking people who use such items to abuse. Why would the college be so careless with its students? Don't they think of the implications that could be made toward a young person by basically forcing them to particapate in nude art for no requested purpose? You've heard the accusations. They say so-n-so, that world famous artist was, you know, limp at the wrist. What a load of B.S. The abuse is always there, especially for women.|
|Reviewed by Morning Star
|Very Interesting subject you have touch on
Verbal and mental abuse is a big problem
That you can't see like you can see physical abuse
You have described the exact behavioral pattern to look out for!
I hope this article helps those people that are being mentally
Abuse and don't recognized the warning sings!!
Love And Peace To You...Morning Star
|Reviewed by Felix Perry
|Interesting and informative write Chanti that I am sure will benefit many who are in abusive relationships.
|Reviewed by Rusty Daily
|It is good to see a competent article on emotional abuse. When I read the title, I assumed, as most people might, it was about physical abuse. Having had the benefit of studying why and how we use the words we do, I was pleased with the accuracy of this article. Well done.