Emotional Abuse - Are You Being Abused?
Many people, especially women, struggle to know and understand what is healthy and how they deserve to be treated. Society has not educated us from the onset to understand what our physical, emotional and mental rights are.
To the contrary, it is only recently that society has acknowledged intimate partner violence against women. Traditionally, the world's patriarchal and religious systems condoned men's mistreatment of women and there are many societies where these atrocities still exist.
Unfortunately, too many people have to learn the hard way 'what abuse is' rather than receiving abuse awareness and training in regard to establishing healthy boundaries.
feels draining, confusing or painful, to be able to step back
and look at what is really taking place
with objective eyes - before it is too late.
Please note: men are also subject to abusive behaviour. However, women are more likely to suffer physical and sexual abuse then men. Statistically the great majority of women who do physically abuse usually do so as retaliation to 'battered women syndrome'. Please note, I truly do acknowledge that there are women who are violent and physically abusive towards men - absolutely. Equally men or women may become a victim of psychological or financial abuse. Therefore, this article Is also highly relevant for men who may be suffering relationship abuse.
If you allow an intimate partner, or anyone else to abuse you, you'll suffer the effects of diminished self-esteem. If the abuse continues this may lead to feeling depressed and powerless which may also activate a condition known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Severe anxiety, crippling panic attacks and suicidal thoughts can emerge. If so, every aspect of your life will suffer.
By remaining in the situation without conscious empowerment, you hand over your power and become 'hooked' to this person in a futile sub-conscious attempt to regain your 'stolen self.' You may be trying to achieve love, acceptance, understanding and compassion from the abuser whilst fighting for your rights. This is a dangerous dynamic.
When we learn healthy self-respect and healthy boundary functions, we learn to lose the panic of 'this person not loving us', and we learn to love ourselves enough to stop the pain. Please see article "Co-dependency."
Obviously prevention can help. If you know what is and what isn't abusive, you can clearly identify abusive behaviour when it begins. Then you can make empowered decisions to lay boundaries and leave if necessary to avoid abuse.
If you are in a relationship that is abusive, you'll hopefully realise there is a very urgent need for you to work on self-empowerment, which means taking your focus off the abuser's behaviour, and placing your focus on your own.
abuse-free environment for yourself.
It isn't anyone else's job.
I was a woman who certainly didn't know what constituted abuse, and I previously had absolutely no idea about how to empower and honour myself.
Types Of Abuse
Abuse falls under the following categories:
Wikipedia's definition: Physical abuse is abuse involving contact intended to cause pain, injury, or other physical suffering or harm.
Many people believe unless they are being 'hit' they are not being abused. Physical abuse is so much more. If you are suffering any of the behaviour listed below, be very clear that you are being abused.
- Hitting (striking, punching), slapping
- Shoving (pushing or pulling)
- Kicking, biting, pinching, tripping, kneeing, head butting
- Strangling, cutting, stabbing, shooting, drowning
- Being hit with an object
- Cornering or detaining with force
- Being keep awake (sleep deprivation)
- Exposure to weather elements (being locked outside)
- Taking possessions
- Damaging possessions
- Hitting walls or breaking objects
- Being exposed to a disease
- Withholding food or medication
- Throwing projectiles
- Physical threats
- Forcing into stressful situations
- Reckless driving
- Any physical torture (an act to extract admissions or answers)
- Inflicting any form of physical pain
Wikipedia's definition: Sexual abuse (also referred to as molestation) is a general term defined as the forcing of undesired sexual acts by one person to another.
Sexual abuse is not just physical abuse. Sexual abuse falls into categories of non-consensual and psychological abuse. One of society's myths is that most sexual assaults occur from strangers. Statistically, 75% of all sexual violations occur from a person (generally a man) who is known to the victim.
Sexual abuse is extremely dangerous. It means you are being objectified by this person. Sexual abuse generally leads to very serious consequences and is highly narcissistic.
- Any forced, unwanted or non-consensual sexual act
- Threatening any non-consensual sexual act
- Using guilt, manipulation or threats to procure sex
- Name-calling, (slut, whore etc.)
- Interrogation into sexual history
- Demeaning and degrading comments about sexual history
- Demeaning and degrading comments regarding sexual performance
- Demeaning and degrading comments regarding attire
- Demeaning and degrading comments regarding body language, mannerisms etc.
- Demeaning and degrading comments regarding body type, weight etc.
- Referring to you as your sexual parts
- Pathological jealousy, and all associated behaviours
Psychological abuse relates to mental and emotional abuse, and occurs when one's personal identity, preferences, life and behaviour is being controlled mentally and emotionally by another person. Self-esteem and self-trust erode to a level whereby the victim becomes confused about 'what is real' and loses a sense of 'how to be emotionally safe'. The abusive person may be able to behave totally inappropriately and the victim of psychological abuse will cling desperately to the relationship in order to receive some sort of support, comfort, love or validation from the abuser.
Be very aware high-level psychological abusers begin relationships with the use of charisma and charm. These individuals have magnetic personalities, and may create an image that the victim cannot resist. Many women, who have not established their own personal sense of self and healthy boundaries, are at risk of falling head over heels in love with a charming narcissist.
Unfortunately many women idealise their men, and when you add that to the fact that she was swept off her feet by a guy she believed was 'the one', it's easy to understand the stripping of her self-esteem (in the face of abuse). This will lead her to try to recapture the 'amazing man' she met and gain his love regardless of how he treats her. (Please realise I, as well as many, many women, know this destructive state intimately.)
Men, can also idealise a narcissistic partner, believing this woman is his 'dream partner' and rationalise away abuse. Additionally many good men will turn themselves inside out trying to make his narcissistic partner happy - which of course is a bottomless pit.
Psychological abuse is a cruel dynamic and a very purposeful tactic employed by narcissists. This form of abuse is a common factor in many relationships.
Both men and women commonly report that the scars of psychological abuse take much longer to heal than the effects of physical abuse. Many individuals who don't access core level healing solutions, remain mentally and emotionally damaged.
Psychological abuse can be very difficult to define, and can insidiously penetrate your life if you don't know what to look out for.
The following types of behaviour all constitute psychological abuse:
Financial abuse is also a common occurrence within relationships. Financial abuse is any act that affects the material security of another person against their wishes.
This form of abuse includes the following:
- Irresponsible use of money, such as gambling, risk taking, excessive spending
- Employment prevention
- Denying housekeeping
- Demanding account of all money spent
- Stealing money
- Hiding money
- Making you responsible for debt
- Not permitting spending for necessities
- Coercing or manipulating credit cards or loans in your name
- Demanding pay
- Forcing you to commit criminal or demeaning acts for money
The Effects of Abuse
If you have some or many of the following symptoms you are likely to be an abuse victim:
Fear, grief, nervous anxiety, 'walking on broken glass', Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, paranoia, dread and anger.
Loss or increase of.
- Loss of creativity and joy
Depression, no interest in personal goals, loss of enthusiasm, loss of zest for life, possible loss of will to live.
- Inhibited self expression
Loss of interest in appearance, not comfortable in public, wishing members of the opposite sex didn't exist, fear of what you say and do around people, agoraphobia, social disinterest, fear of body image, decreased libido.
- Self-destructive behaviour
Abuse of alcohol or drugs, promiscuity, feeling 'addicted' to abusive partner, suicidal thoughts or attempts.
Rarely see family or friends, mostly stay home, not allowed to go out on own, panicking if held back at work or running late for home.
- Decreased coping skills
Loss of decision-making ability, feel despair, rage or panic. Being overwhelmed. Bursting into tears, feeling numb.
- Physical problems
Adrenaline rushes, lowered immune systems, continual body aches, exhaustion, hyper-vigilance, hormone imbalances, migraines, backache, having accidents etc.
- Sleeping patterns
Insomnia or over-sleeping.
- Focus on abusive partner
Obsessing over what he's thinking, feeling and doing, and formulating how you can employ tactics to reduce the abuse.
No longer knowing what to believe, doubting the reality of your life and environment.
- Loss of faith in self
Letting yourself down by continually forgiving and allowing abusive behaviour, losing boundary function, false hope, other people losing faith in you, inability to provide yourself with safety and stability.
- Irrational behaviour
Trying to control the uncontrollable, hysteria, feeling and acting manically, 'losing your mind.'
Highly abusive behaviour leads to deterioration of self and often death by homicide, suicide or the contracting of a terminal illness. This is a serious matter.
If you know your mental and emotional health is suffering - something needs to change. The more you lose yourself, the harder it is to recover. You may be risking all that is dear to you and even your life.
As the personality specialist said to me in the midst of my abusive breakdown,
Especially when they are the one killing you."
I will never forget those words!
Please forward this article to any person (discreetly) who you suspect is suffering relationship abuse. Also forward this document to any female you know who is near the age of dating. It may save her self-esteem and even her life.
Please know there are solutions for relationship abuse.
These begin with FACING THE TRUTH and then working hard at regaining yourself.
- The abuse behaviour
- The apologies
- The build up (walking on broken glass)
- The abusive behaviour
And the circle continues...WHEN THE ABUSE IS OVER ... ITS NOT OVER
The effects of the abuse linger for a very long time
even when the abuse is finalised.
Recovery from the psychological, emotional, mental and spiritual abuse of narcissism is imperative for an individual to put themselves and their life back together. Specific healing and procedures do produce the results necessary for an individual to create an empowered life where they will not be susceptible to narcissistic abuse again. In many cases the recovery from narcissism has been necessary for an individual to outgrow co-dependent childhood scripts of poor boundary function and victimisation.
Love, happiness and success are possible after suffering the effects of narcissism.
Read about the relief and healing others have achieved »
See the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program »
2 ebooks that provide the vital first steps to get your recovery started.
An invitation to experience my healing method in a 2 hour Webinar.
A video that explains the 4 things that changed everything I knew about abuse recovery.