Sunday, August 3, 2014

Emotional Abuse: What is it? Signs and Symptoms

Info I put together from some great articles :
Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mental abuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Such abuse is often associated with situations of power imbalance, such as abusive relationships, bullying, and abuse in the workplace.
Emotional abuse is "based on power and control", and defines emotional abuse as including rejecting, degrading, terrorizing, isolating, corrupting/exploiting and "denying emotional responsiveness" as characteristic of emotional abuse.

Signs You’re In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship, but not limited to:


You often feel afraid of your partner. You avoid certain topics for fear of angering or upsetting your partner.
You feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner.
You believe you deserve to be mistreated.
You wonder if you’re crazy.
You feel emotionally numb or helpless.
Your partner yells at you or humiliates you.
Your partner criticizes you and puts you down.
Your partner manipulates you into doing things you don't feel are right.
Your partner gaslights you (the denial that previous abusive incidents occurred).
Your partner treats you so badly that you’re embarrassed that your friends or family might see it.
Your partner ignores or mocks your opinions or accomplishments. ( "Well it wasn't THAT great" , "Oh well you messed up on that" etc)
Your partner blames you for his or her own abusive or negative behavior. (Ie. "If only you would/wouldn't do ____ then I wouldn't have done it")
Your partner sees you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person. Your partner is jealous and possessive. (Even with the time you spend with friends)
Your partner controls where you go or what you do.
Your partner is passive aggressive and it feels like your walking in egg shells .
Your partner says he will hurt himself or commit suicide if you leave him.
Your partner keeps you from seeing your friends or family.
Your partner limits your access to money, the phone, or the car.
Your partner constantly checks up on you
Your partner threatens physical harm to themself, you, children, or partner's family or friends.
Your partners actions are arbitrary and unpredictably inconsistent as a way to get back at you.
Your partner withholds love, attention, and affection as a form of punishment
Your partner tease's you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you. When you comment or pretest, they say stuff like “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive.
***
According to the University of Illinois counseling center, ″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 intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased. Emotional abuse can take many forms. Three general patterns of abusive behavior include aggressing, denying, and minimizing'.  Blaming the victim for his or her behavior, shaming, and name calling are also a few identifiers of verbal abuse. The victim's self-worth and emotional well being is altered and even diminished by the verbal abuse and the result is an emotionally abused victim. The victim may experience severe psychological effects similar to brainwashing, which can fall under psychological abuse as well but emotional abuse consists of the manipulation of the victim's emotions. The victim's emotions are being controled by the abuser to the point the victim can no longer recognize how to feel towards anything for themselves so they no longer can trust their own judgement. Their self-concept and independence are being `systematically taken away and erodes a person's self-esteem, confidence and can cause a victim to question reality and their own sanity, which leaves them at the mercy of relying on the very person who is abusing them.
In many ways, emotional abuse is more psychologically harmful than physical abuse. There are a couple of reasons for this. Even in the most violent families, the incidents tend to be cyclical. Early in the abuse cycle, a violent outburst is followed by a honeymoon period of remorse, attention, affection, and generosity, but not genuine compassion. (The honeymoon stage eventually ends, as the victim begins to say, "Never mind the damn flowers, just stop hitting me!") Emotional abuse, on the other hand, tends to happen every day. The effects are more harmful because they're so frequent.
The other factor that makes emotional abuse so devastating is the greater likelihood that victims will blame themselves. If someone hits you, it's easier to see that he or she is the problem, but if the abuse is subtle - saying or implying that you're ugly, a bad parent, stupid, incompetent, not worth attention, or that no one could love you - you are more likely to think it's your problem. Emotional abuse seems more personal than physical abuse, more about you as a person, more about your spirit. It makes love hurt.
My Take:
I believe sometimes as woman we can't help but "check out", or feel hopeless and depressed because its a natural response to feeling unsafe. I think sometimes we put ourselves down too much because we feel guilty that we aren't better wives or better mothers during this trauma. As if we need to HANDLE all of this better or be more positively. But we can't always control our bodies natural response to pain.
Analogy : If a man hit his wife in the face, and the next day goes to hit her again......if the wife flinches, is that HER fault ?
Some of us have reacted the same way as a woman flinching. Its an involuntary reflex to any abuse we have experienced.
But there's hope. We may not be able to always control "flinching" and being traumatized after someone emotionally abuses us, but we sure can make the choice to say NO MORE and set clear boundaries to keep ourselves safe. The more we learn and understand who we are, how God sees us, and the truth about our situation the better we can set our boundaries, stay FIRM on them, keep ourselves safe, and see an abusers actions for what they are:
NOTHING TO DO WITH US.
More info here:
http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/02/20/signs-of-emotional-abuse/
AWESOME Quizzes:
http://www.heart-2-heart.ca/women/quiz-woman-am-i-abused.php
http://www.mynewdirections.org/teen-dating/quiz-is-my-relationship-abusive/
http://susankriegler.blogspot.com/2011/11/walking-on-eggshells.html?m=1

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