A Few Ways To Handle Emotionally Abusive Relationships
This post is dedicated to people currently going through various forms of emotional abuse in their relationships.
I hope you find a bit of strength and encouragement by reading this article and look for possible ways of dealing with or summoning up the courage to come out of it; if necessary.
Sometimes, emotional and psychological abuse can be quite subtle in relationships, which makes it very hard for one to recognise and understand the fact that he/she is being abused.
There is, in fact, no current accepted definition of what ‘emotional abuse’ practically consists of, because the term covers such a wide range of behaviours.
The Mosby’s Medical Dictionary defines emotional abuse as the debasement of a person’s feelings that causes the individual to perceive himself or herself as inept, not cared for, and worthless.
Andrew Vachss, an author, lawyer and former sex crimes investigator, offers one possible definition as ‘the systematic diminishment of another. It may be intentional or subconscious (or both), but it is always a course of conduct, not a single event.’
People in emotionally abusive relationships often feel:
- Responsible for the abuser’s feelings
- Anxious as well as guilty
- Inadequate, unworthy and possibly undeserving
Signs To Look Out For In Emotionally Abusive Relationships
There are several signs to look out for in your emotions if you suspect you are in an emotionally abusive relationship;
- Fear is a major issue and it has a way of creating strongholds.
- The constant threats and intimidation from your spouse/partner with a view to getting what they want.
- You always take the blame for your partners anger and failures.
- You always have to take responsibility for everything that goes wrong in the relationship.
- Your partner has a serious drug and alcohol problem.
- You’ve been a victim of violent behaviour and aggression from your partner.
- You feel controlled or manipulated.
- The whole relationship triggers anxiety.
- Your self esteem and self worth is attacked/damaged due to constant criticisms.
- Excessive jealousy is also another strong indication of domestic abuse.
- The use of coercion for sex. If you ever feel forced to have sex, either through threats, intimidation, or the fear of what your partner will do or say if you don’t , the chances are; it’s an abusive relationship.
The fact that the abuse is often subconscious provides extra difficulty for the victim in recognising the behaviour as abusive. The emotional abuser may well have good intentions for the victim. They may even believe that they are ‘helping’ the victim in some way. Because of this, the only real way to recognise emotional abuse in relationships is in the effect one partner’s behaviour has upon the other.
Many studies have been done to identify the personality type of a domestic abuser. They have found that borderline personality types are most likely to exhibit this sort of behaviour, as they have a great deal of difficulty controlling their emotions.
If your partner is very volatile, and you find this makes you afraid or intimidated, you may be in an abusive situation.
Other studies have found that the motivation behind emotional and psychological abuses is most often the abuser’s urge to control their partner.
Borderline personality types have a tendency towards an extreme fear of abandonment, which is another reason they are often associated with jealousy and emotional abuse.
Once again, the aim of the post is to suggest a few ways to deal with emotionally abusive relationships.
PLEASE NOTE, IT DOESN’T COVER ALL ASPECTS OF HELP but it’s certainly worth a try.
Please find below a few ways of handling this issue:
Always Remember, It’s Not Your Fault
First of all, recognise that it is not your fault.
Emotional abuse is the result of the psychological issues of the abuser, not of the victim.
They may seek to control you out of an excessive fear of abandonment.
They may have unrealistic expectations of what a relationship should consist of.
There are many possible reasons for this sort of behaviour, but always remember it is their fault, NOT YOURS.
Always Express How You Feel Constructively.
Some times you may need to modify or change your behaviour constructively in order to change theirs.
You must recognise that you cannot change their behaviour through rational explanation; it is far more deeply rooted than that.
First you must change your reaction to their behaviour, so that they gradually learn how they are hurting you.
If your partner tries to control your life or finances in any way, calmly explain that you don’t want them to do this. If they insult you, calmly defend yourself within reason.
In any event, PLEASE AVOID THE USE OF VIOLENCE.
Gradually Rebuild Your Self Esteem
As time goes on gradually start rebuilding or regaining your self esteem.
Psychological traumas in emotionally abusive relationships can take place over many years, during the course of which a victim’s self-esteem can be completely and disastrously eroded.
I know it’s extremely difficulty but over time try not to let your partner’s insults or perception of you taint your perception of yourself.
Connect With Friends And Family
There is so much to be gained from connecting with friends and family when faced with emotionally abusive relationships.
- They provide emotional support.
- Spending time with them reduces the hours of loneliness and spurs the feeling of acceptance.
- They provide listening ears and offer various forms of encouragement.
- Spending time with friends and family is a great way to get things off your mind.
In addition to connecting with friends and family you could also seek professional help where/when necessary and the services of a counsellor, psychotherapist, may be employed.
Seek Professional Help.
Always seek professional help because you can’t do it on your own.
It can be extremely difficult to deal with an emotionally abusive relationship and its fallout on your own.
Speak to a qualified counsellor or domestic abuse professional.
You can have individual counselling to help you unravel the effects of abuse on your own life, your partner can have counselling to help them deal with the issues that cause them to act this way, and you can have couples counselling to help you find a better way of communicating and engaging with one another.
Using a qualified third party is often the only way a couple can get through this type of situation.
Please click here to find a list of useful resources that could provide you with support through abuse.
Get Out Of The Relationship
As harsh as this sounds, know when it’s time to let go of the relationship.
Unfortunately, sometimes people are unable to change their emotionally abusive ways.
Perhaps their own issues are too deep-rooted. This does not mean that you should have to put up with it.
It may not be their fault (a common reason victims give for staying with their abusive partners), you cannot allow yourself to be abused.
If your partner cannot change, you must find the strength to move on with your own life apart from them.
You Can Be Happy Again
Being happy may probably the last thing on your mind as a result of the diffeicult expereinecs you are faced with but your happiness is important because it improves your mood, alleviates depression and it would take your mind off the broken relationship.
The following tips may help in restoring your happiness:
- Try gaining control of your thoughts; that will help change the way you feel.
- If you’ve got children, spend time taking care of them and watch them grow into responsible adults.
- Make new friends or meet new people.
- Spend time doing things to make you happy.
It’s really tough but I truly hope that someone has been encouraged by reading this article.
I look forward to your comments and suggestions.