As I was in the shower tonite... I decided it was time I wrote this post...
I was emotionally abused in a past relationship.
What is emotional abuse?
From: Steve Hein http://eqi.org/eabuse1.htm#What%20is%20Emotional%20Abuse?
What is Emotional Abuse?
Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation etc. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as repeated disapproval or even the refusal to ever be pleased.
Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim's self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of "guidance," "teaching", or "advice," the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting that physical ones. In fact there is research to this effect. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim's self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically. She has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Her self-esteem is so low that she clings to the abuser.
Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.
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Types of Emotional Abuse
The other person places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside to tend to their needs.
It could be a demand for constant attention, or a requirement that you spend all your free time with the person.
But no matter how much you give, it's never enough.
You are subjected to constant criticism, and you are constantly berated because you don't fulfill all this person's needs.
Aggressive forms of abuse include name-calling, accusing, blaming, threatening, and ordering. Aggressing behaviors are generally direct and obvious. The one-up position the abuser assumes by attempting to judge or invalidate the recipient undermines the equality and autonomy that are essential to healthy adult relationships. This parent-child pattern of communication (which is common to all forms of verbal abuse) is most obvious when the abuser takes an aggressive stance.
Aggressive abuse can also take a more indirect form and may even be disguised and "helping." Criticizing, advising, offering solutions, analyzing, proving, and questioning another person may be a sincere attempt to help. In some instances however, these behaviors may be an attempt to belittle, control, or demean rather than help. The underlying judgmental "I know best" tone the abuser takes in these situations is inappropriate and creates unequal footing in peer relationships. This and other types of emotional abuse can lead to what is known as learned helplessness.
The other person may deliberately start arguments and be in constant conflict with others.
The person may be "addicted to drama" since it creates excitement.
Denying a person's emotional needs, especially when they feel that need the most, and done with the intent of hurting, punishing or humiliating (Examples)
The other person may deny that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. confronts the abuser about an incident of name calling, the abuser may insist, "I never said that," "I don't know what you're talking about," etc. You know differently.
The other person may deny your perceptions, memory and very sanity.
Withholding is another form of denying. Withholding includes refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, and emotionally withdrawing as punishment. This is sometimes called the "silent treatment."
When the abuser disallows and overrules any viewpoints, perceptions or feelings which differ from their own.
Denying can be particularly damaging. In addition to lowering self-esteem and creating conflict, the invalidation of reality, feelings, and experiences can eventually lead you to question and mistrust your own perceptions and emotional experience.
Denying and other forms of emotional abuse can cause you to lose confidence in your most valuable survival tool: your own mind.
Someone wants to control your every action. They have to have their own way, and will resort to threats to get it.
When you allow someone else to dominate you, you can lose respect for yourself.
The other person plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other "hot buttons" to get what they want.
This could include threats to end the relationship, totally reject or abandon you, giving you the the "cold shoulder," or using other fear tactics to control you.
The abuser seeks to distort or undermine the recipient's perceptions of their world. Invalidating occurs when the abuser refuses or fails to acknowledge reality. For example, if the recipient tells the person they felt hurt by something the abuser did or said, the abuser might say "You are too sensitive. That shouldn't hurt you." Here is a much more complete description of invalidation
Minimizing is a less extreme form of denial. When minimizing, the abuser may not deny that a particular event occurred, but they question the recipient's emotional experience or reaction to an event. Statements such as "You're too sensitive," "You're exaggerating," or "You're blowing this out of proportion" all suggest that the recipient's emotions and perceptions are faulty and not be trusted.
Trivializing, which occurs when the abuser suggests that what you have done or communicated is inconsequential or unimportant, is a more subtle form of minimizing.
Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts. Whenever someone in your life reacts very differently at different times to the same behavior from you, tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, or likes something you do one day and hates it the next, you are being abused with unpredictable responses.
This behavior is damaging because it puts you always on edge. You're always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you can never know what's expected of you. You must remain hypervigilant, waiting for the other person's next outburst or change of mood.
An alcoholic or drug abuser is likely to act this way. Living with someone like this is tremendously demanding and anxiety provoking, causing the abused person to feel constantly frightened, unsettled and off balance.
Berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening
Excessive blaming, and using sarcasm and humiliation.
Blowing your flaws out of proportion and making fun of you in front of others. Over time, this type of abuse erodes your sense of self confidence and self-worth.
A man I was completely in love with did this too me.. I didnt even know what it was.. or that there was even a such thing as emotional abuse... and honestly if someone would have told me about it... I wouldnt think too much of it and say... "oh I would never let it happen to me"... but it did... and I didnt even realize it all that much till it was all over and done with... and the sad thing is... I still love this man...
Now I am not saying he is all bad or anything like.. and I dont completely put the blame on him... I believe a lot of how you act as an adult is how you were raised as a child. This man didn't have the best situation growing up... He wasnt raised by either parent and never see a "happy marriage" and how a relationship works. He was raised by an aunt who was single and never dated. He didnt see how a man was to treat a woman... but.. he is also not completely innocent in the whole ordeal... He is still a grown man and can see how his actions can cause hurt and pain.. and he still does them time after time...
I am not writing this to get sympathy or anything like that.. I am writing this for a couple of reasons... one to help me with my healing proces.... I still have a lot of scars that havent healed and they are still reopened from time to time and I still deal with the pain of all of it.. Two, just so that my story is out there.. maybe someone else is dealing with it and doesnt even realize what is going on.. or knows someone... or even is the person that is doing this to someone else and doesnt even realize that what they are doing is hurtful and abusive...
I met this man years ago... and he came into my life exactly when I needed him too.. but I have learned that God seems to work like that... I fell in love with this man... whole heart and all... I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man... and of course he told me the same thing... eventually we moved in together... and as I look back... things just kinda went down hill from there... now dont get me wrong.. there was a lot of wonderful times with this man... and I think that is why I delt with it all as well as I did.
The first thing about this man ... he was possessive... and at the time I didnt realize it... (there are a lot of things that I didnt realize at the time). after me and him started dating... I pretty much stopped talking to most of my friends and a lot of my family... the few family memebers I did still talk with... he always thought I was going to leave him because of what they might tell me... He always thought I was going to cheat on him, find someone better than him, or leave him for whatever other reason... I would get calls/text/emails all day long while we both were at work asking me if I was going to do any of those things.... I of course constantly told him no and tried to reassure him... I understood why he might have some of those thougts because i did cheat on my husband before i met him.... but I was bound and determined NOT to be that person I would not do that again... so in order to prove to him this... I stopped talking and hanging out with most of the people in my life...
The rare times that I see my friends... he gave me the 3rd degree to find out what we did, what was said, etc... and the entire time I would be gone, he would be texting me something...
another thing was that he didnt like to make love to me... becuase of this.. I was always thinking that there was something wrong with me... he didnt find me attractive... he didnt love me... i wasnt good enough... making love to me is more than just the sex... its about the connection.. its about becoming one person... its about having a intimate way to express the love and devotion you have for another person.. so if i had to practically beg for him to make love to me.... it made me feel less of a person. but also.. when we did finally make love... it was so incredible. I would just feel so much love that I would forget about having to beg him... it made me feel like it was worth me feeling like nothing just for that moment of "oneness and love" with him..
He wasnt a lovey touchy feely type person... at least not as much as I wanted him to be. I am. When I am in love with someone I am constantly wanting to show them, express to them, how I feel... if its a hug, a kiss, holding their hands, a look, anything to remind them I love them... When I would try and do this to him... He would push me away... turn his head... or something... now it wasnt all the time... but it was often enuf that it hurt...
Then theres the guilt... The guilt that he didnt have the freinds i did. The guilt of my past.. the guilt of the people in my life (coworkers, family etc) The guilt that I might one day leave him and find someone better. The guilt that I had a life before him... That I shoulnt have ever slept with anyone else.. the guilt that I shouldnt have drank and partied... the guilt that I want to still have part of the life that I had before him... as in going out with my friends and having a good time...
Now again dont get me wrong... he wasnt like this all the time... we had our wonderful moments where he would suprise me with little gifts, or emails or text messages saying how much he loved me and how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me...
And I think that is the part I am still stuck on at time.... the part that makes me still love him...
The part of him that is the man I want him to be... but in reality... its not...
I think that is part of the whole emotional abuse.... its the times that a person shows you that they love you unconditionally.. and maybe in their hearts they love you as much as they can... but then the "bomb" is released and your heart, your emotions, and your self esteem are slowly destroyed... but its the love, the "im sorrys" , they u r the only person I want to be with, that makes you love that person so much that you cant see or choose not to see all the warning signs and makes you want to be with that person regardless...
Because of those lows... It makes the Highs... so much more than you feel in a "normal" relationship with any other person... I believe the longer the emotional abuse goes on... the harder it is to have a long lasting normal relationship.. because you compare the highs in the normal relationship to the HIGHS in the abusive one... and it dont compare because you don't have those same lows to go along with it...