Emotional Abuse: The abuse no one ever told you about

I find this a very important topic to have a lot more discussion about.   Although we all are raised, and hear all around us, that it is wrong for men to  hit and that is abusive, the topic of emotional/verbal/psychological abuse seems  to be often over looked.  The damage done emotionally can last even longer  than physical abuse, maybe even a life time.

Emotional-AbuseWe always wonder why a woman would tolerate a physically abusive man.   It seems crazy to us…someone hits you – you leave – pretty simple.  What  people commonly don’t know is that physical abusers start as emotional  abusers.  By the time a man becomes physically abusive, he’s torn the woman  down emotionally so bad or for so long, she’s not sure which way is up.  I  know most women think they can spot this guy without any more information and  this goes into the “it would never happen to me” category.  All I can tell  you is I have an engineering degree, held good jobs, always had healthy self esteem, know better than to let a man  treat me bad, and I still woke up one day to find myself in an abusive  situation.

Emotional abuse can be much more complex and devious than just tearing you  down, telling you that you aren’t attractive, stupid, etc.  I’d like to  share a short story with you to better explain how the manipulative emotional  abuser works his ways.

My boyfriend at the time and I planned a long weekend vacation.  I was really excited about going on  vacation with just him and myself.  The day we were set to leave I was  sitting in my boyfriend’s house, with his roommate, waiting on him to get home  so his roommate could drive us to the airport.  I noticed his roommate had  his bags packed and asked where he was going for the weekend.  He looked at  me like I had two heads and said, “I’m going with you guys.” I was shocked,  hurt, and mad my boyfriend hadn’t talked to me about his roommate coming with  us.  I wouldn’t have bought plane tickets if I had known it was a “group” trip.  When my boyfriend got home I pulled him off to the side and calmly  asked him why he hadn’t discussed it with me.  He told me “We discussed it  last Wednesday.  Don’t you remember?  You were sitting right there, he  was sitting here, and I was sitting over there and we all agreed.”  I was  really upset because I still didn’t like the situation and was no longer excited  about the trip, but what was wrong with me that I couldn’t remember the  conversation? It must have been my bad memory that my ex sometimes picked on me  about.  No matter how upset or hurt I was, I only had myself to  blame.  I must have agreed and not remembered.

It wasn’t even until I left him that I realized that conversation with all  three of us never happened and he was just messing with my mind.  It was  always like that.  “I already gave you directions, don’t you  remember?”  “We already talked about this, don’t you remember?”  “I  told you to bring xyz!”  I felt dumber and dumber and dumber in that  relationship.  I thought I had a horrible memory, and sometimes I  can be a little forgetful so I bought right into it.  He made me dependent  because I surely couldn’t depend on myself with how absent minded I had  become!  The entire time I was with him I never questioned it.  He  always put so many details around the lie it never occurred to me that I  couldn’t trust the words of someone telling me that they loved me.  I  couldn’t imagine lying like that and thought abuse was easier to spot, like just  telling someone “you are an idiot”, instead of slowly convincing them that they  were stupid in such a manipulative way.

Your biggest defense against manipulative people and emotional  abusers is to trust yourself no matter what the situation.  Had I  trusted myself and trusted the facts in my head, rather than what he was telling  me was fact, we would have dated around three months instead of ending up  married.  Had I been educated on how emotional abuse really works, I never  would have ended up in that scary situation.

The list below is signs that you may be in an abusive relationship.   It’s a good list to keep in the back of your head for friends, family, or  children too so you can quickly recognize red flags.  This list has been  taken from www.drirene.com:  If you  answer “yes” to more than a few, you may want to take a closer look.

Does your partner:

ignore your feelings?

disrespect  you?

ridicule or insult you then tell you its a joke, or that you have no sense of  humor?

ridicule your beliefs, religion, race, heritage or class?

withhold approval, appreciation or  affection?

give you the silent  treatment?

walk away without answering  you?

criticize you, call you names, yell at  you?

humiliate you privately or in  public?

roll his or her eyes when you  talk?

give you a hard time about socializing with your friends or  family?

make you socialize (and keep up appearances) even when you don’t feel  well?

seem to make sure that what you really  want is exactly what you won’t get?

tell you you are too  sensitive?

hurt you especially when you are  down?

seem energized by fighting, while fighting exhausts  you?

have unpredictable mood swings, alternating from good to bad for no apparent  reason?

present a wonderful face to the world and is well liked by outsiders?

“twist” your words, somehow turning what you said against  you?

try to control decisions, money, even the way you style your hair or wear  your clothes?

complain about how badly you treat him or  her?

threaten to leave, or threaten to throw you  out?

say things that make you feel good, but do things that make you feel bad?

ever left you stranded?

ever threaten to hurt you or your  family?

ever hit or pushed you, even  “accidentally”?

seem to stir up trouble just when you seem to be getting closer to each  other?

abuse something you love: a pet, a child, an object?

compliment you enough to keep you happy, yet criticize you enough to keep you  insecure?

promise to never do something hurtful  again?

harass you about imagined  affairs?

manipulate you with lies and  contradictions?

destroy furniture, punch holes in walls, break appliances?

drive like a  road-rage junkie?

act immature and selfish, yet accuse you of those  behaviors?

question your every move and motive, somehow questioning your  competence?

interrupt you; hear but not really  listen?

make you feel like you can’t win? damned if you do, damned if you don’t?

use drugs and/or alcohol involved? are things worse  then?

incite you to rage, which is “proof” that you are to blame?

try to convince you he or she is “right,” while you are “wrong?”

frequently say things that are later denied or accuse you of  misunderstanding?

treat you like a sex object, or as though sex should be provided on demand  regardless of how you feel?

Your situation is critical if the following applies to  you:

You find yourself walking on eggshells, careful of when and how to say  something.

You long for that softer, more vulnerable part of your partner to emerge.

You find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior?

You feel emotionally unsafe.

You feel its somehow not OK to talk with others about your  relationship.

You hope things will change…especially through your love and  understanding.

You find yourself doubting your memory or sense of  reality.   

You doubt your own  judgment.

You doubt your  abilities.

You feel vulnerable and  insecure.

You are becoming increasingly depressed.

You feel increasingly trapped and powerless.

You have been or are afraid of your partner.

Your partner has physically hurt you, even once.

Another great resource is the bookThe Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to  Respond by Patricia Evans.  It is often quoted as the top book on emotional abuse  and may be helpful for you or someone you know needing to educate his or herself  on emotional abuse.

Remember that abusers are often well liked, intelligent, well respected  people and only mistreating their partners while alone.  If you have  someone in your life, who is in a relationship, and seems to be cutting off  contact with you and other friends, have a heart to heart if you are close  enough.  I know I may not have listened right away, but if I had people I  loved telling me “It’s not okay, ever, that he did this or that.” or “You  deserve a man that acts like this or does that.” or even just shown me that  list, I might have woken up sooner rather than later.

Never forget that your life is your choice.  Only you get to decide what  you will and will not tolerate.  Click  here to purchase Hear my Heels bracelets to remember to keep  going towards the life you deserve.  Please forward this information to all  the women you care about.

20% of profits will go to domestic abuse charities.

Molly  Pennington –    About the Author:

Hear my Heels ~ The sound of you walking away, smiling, towards  something better.I am the owner of Hear my Heels.  Hear my Heels creates  products for anyone who has found or looking to find the strength to go after  everything they deserve in life. We donate 20% of our profits to domestic abuse  charities.  No man, woman, or child deserves to suffer at the hands of an abuser  and it is our mission to remind everyone of their value, strength, and self  worth.

About Joanne Wellington

Joanne is: Author, intuitive and founder of a network of sites and blogs dedicated to helping you define, refine and achieve your grandest dreams! For empowering tips, articles and resources, visit https://joannewellington.wordpress.com/ , http://mediumsworld.wordpress.com/ and begin your transformation today! Joanne always says...I don't care how much money you make, what colour your skin is, where you live, what you drive, whether you're gay or straight, fat or thin, tall or short, beautiful or average. If you're my friend, I love you dearly, and that is ALL that counts! Positivity is free for the taking, inspiration awaits only to be recognized and confidence is always encouraged, her mission at Mediums World ,World of Inspiration is to inform, to inspire and empower people to be their best, both personally and professionally.

Posted on August 12, 2011, in Family, General, Health, New age, Spiritual and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I agree with this article completely. I was never physically abused, but I was emotionally and mentally abused. The harassment over nonexistent affairs, the telling me I was less than intelligent, that I couldn’t make it without him – 16 years of this. I stuck it out because of the kids. Now we’re going through a divorce, and it’s not messy (believe it or not) and I can’t wait to be out of here.

    Emotional abuse is devastating. Anyone that says it isn’t has never been abused like this.

  2. Thank you for perpetuating this little known information. Many people don’t realize just how significant this type of abuse really is or how hurtful it can be. It’s just as valid as physical abuse, even if its not recognized that way.

  3. The article is very valid but interesting that it’s focused on men, when I’ve found women are just as much emotional abusers. They can play power games, constantly put a man down for the way he looks, the friends he has, the views and opinions they have. What’s worse is that a lot of men don’t feel comfortable or safe expressing their feelings when it comes to emotional abuse by women as they are quickly and wrongly labeled as the aggressors. I know many men in this plight as it is so quickly to put the blame on an aggressive man, to the point where we can not speak our truths. Emotional abuse is a two way street. And it should be written about people in general and is not any longer gender specific. It is very much a societal phenomenon.

    • Thank you Jack… Your comment is a valid one and very much appreciated. I agree with what you say. It was just in this case as you say that the focus in the article was on men. But yes true there are women out there who emotionally abuse men and I have a male friend who has been through and suffered in this way. Once again Jack thank you for your valid comment.

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