Sitting on the couch with my arms wrapped around my knees. Big fears and tall shadows tumble out of memories. Suddenly drowning in a current of panic. It can’t just wash over me, it pulls me down because I’m tiny.
I sit down to work and I feel as though I am falling into an abyss. Did I leave my depression in this chair? I have a communication dynamic with one of my main relationships that is driving me insane(r?).
I know why. It’s not their fault, even though they play their part. But I see character traits of mine mirrored in them. Things that I have conquered or are just being revealed that I want to work on. I look into this mirror they present to me in every interaction. I don’t like how I look. I don’t like how I have to squint through this distorted image of my own issues to try to understand them.
It’s so much easier to be angry at them. But, the anger is really masking the frustration and shame of my “features” shining back at me.
I need a rest from all of the introspection. Maybe later I will go swimming and move through this.
In the last two weeks, I have faced two of my biggest fears: the death of my father and being on stage again in front of members of my old cult. It has been so exhausting. In a lot of ways, I have been so busy planning the memorial and helping my mom transition that I feel like maybe later I can process. Just trying to put one step in front of the other.
Oh mom, what are we gonna do? I have had a lot of business endeavors, but now I am scalp deep in the business of closing down a life. TV is blaring, mom is sleeping and I am writing while trying not to freak out. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to care for my mom in this way. I wish that my brother and E could be here too. Today, I think it kind of hit us that he was over. I can chronicle the growing list of “he will nevers” or “I will nevers”. I make those lists when I can’t sleep. In the few moments where I am alone in the day, I break down.
It helps me to look at the next steps as a business…
Understand and lower expenses
Create emergency systems
I think it is good that my parents don’t live at the same house that I grew up in, there aren’t any ghosts here for me. Unless dad is lurking about, I don’t think he is. I think he would take a few trips before coming home first.
It has been extremely uncomfortable being surrounded by Christianity. I was the “emcee” at my dad’s memorial service and I heard someone say that it was the best church service they had been to. I don’t think they know that it was put together by two atheists. It was quite a balance to honor my dad’s faith and stay true to my boundaries. It was hard to be in a church. I know that it would make my mom happy if I went to church with her on Sundays, but I can’t do that. I won’t trigger and harm myself. Also, I know that she would be self conscious of my experience. In this time where she needs her community and her traditions, I don’t want to put my trauma and discomfort in the foreground. But I will keep myself safe from incurring more.
I am afraid of my boundaries and mental health. I am afraid to leave the house because I want to protect my mom. I should take breaks and take care of myself, but I feel like there is this giant mountain of work to do. I feel like if I don’t get something done every second that there will be peril and further loss. It’s ok to take the time to write this because I am simultaneously hacking into my dad’s laptop because we don’t know his passwords.
Looks like I’ve made some progress on the hack. Write you later.
Not as sexy as it sounds.
So many aspects of my life have come together to create my emotional state.
Super sensitive to noise-especially sudden noise
Loss of hope for future
Worn out and exhausted
Productive because my tunnel vision has to go somewhere. glad it’s productive today.
I was going through an old notebook and I found the table of contents for my book. I’ve been so busy trying to survive in the last few years, that I’ve really neglected that part.
Right now, I just feel like a mass of inadequate treading through a murky swamp of failure.
But, it’ll be fine.
Having witnessed emotional abuse lately, I’ve been thinking about emotional abuse and found this great article… This was written by Richa Pant, Is your partner emotionally abusive?
In any successful marriage, you will find that the partners love, care and respect each other.
When you enter into a marital relationship, you expect your emotions to be respected and nurtured and vice versa.
Most people assume that if they’re not being physically abused by their partner, they’re not being abused. That’s not necessarily true. You might be in a relationship that is draining something from you; you may not even be aware that your partner has eroded your self-esteem and happiness.
“Although physical abuse is thought to be the most obvious form of abuse, emotional abuse has the potential to be even more devastating than physical abuse. This is because it is hard to prove and, thus, difficult to stop,” says psychologist Dr Vandana Mathur. Many people find that emotional abuse is difficult to even talk about, as others seldom take it seriously.
What is emotional abuse?
Abuse is any behavior that controls and subjugates another person by means of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation, etc. “Emotional abuse can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics like repeated disapproval,” says Dr Mathur.
Like other forms of violence in relationships, emotional abuse rests on the premise of power and control. “It eventually brainwashes the victim. It systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, self-worth and trust in their own perceptions,” says Vijay Malhotra (name changed), 28, a software engineer at an IT firm in Delhi, Vijay says he experienced emotional abuse in his marriage due to his wife’s constant criticism and diatribes.
Types of emotional abuse
Rejection: Refusing to acknowledge a person’s presence or worth; telling him/ her that he/ she is useless or inferior; devaluing her/ his thoughts and feelings.
Verbal assaults: Degrading, insulting, ridiculing, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening, behavior that, over time, erodes the identity, dignity and self-worth of the person.
Terrorism: Inducing terror or extreme fear in a person; intimidating; placing or threatening to send a person to an unfit or dangerous environment.
Isolation: Restricting normal contact with others; limiting freedom within the person’s own environment.
Unreasonable expectations: Placing unreasonable demands and wanting a person to put everything else aside to tend to their needs.
Constant chaos: Deliberately starting arguments and being in constant conflict with others. The person may be ‘addicted to drama’ since it creates a sense of excitement.
Denial: Denying a person’s emotional needs with the intent of hurting, punishing or humiliating him/ her. Also, denying that certain events occurred or that certain things were said by saying, “I never said that,” “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” etc. The other person may deny your perceptions, memory and even question your sanity.
Withholding: Another form of denying. It includes refusing to communicate and emotionally withdrawing from the other person as punishment; this is also known as the ‘silent treatment’.
Domination: Wanting to control your every action. They have to have their own way and will even resort to threats in order to do so. When you allow someone else to dominate you, you can lose respect for yourself.
Emotional blackmail: Playing on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, and other ‘emotional buttons’ to get what they want. This could include threats to end the relationship, to totally reject or abandon you, or the use of other fear tactics to control you.
Invalidation: Undermining a person’s perceptions of their world. For example, if the recipient tells the abuser they felt hurt by something he/ she did or said, the abuser might say “You are too sensitive. That shouldn’t hurt you.”
Unpredictable responses: Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts. This is damaging because it always keeps you on edge. An alcoholic, for example, is likely to act this way. Living with someone like this is tremendously demanding and anxiety provoking.
Irresponsible behavior: Thinking every chore and duty in the marriage is the partner’s responsibility. Not assisting in any work relating to the household, family or children. Adding to the burden by making cutting remarks about how poorly you manage the children/ household.
Cycle of emotional abuse
Emotional abuse often follows a pattern.
In the first phase, there is a build-up of tension and a breakdown in communication.
The second phase involves the actual incident of verbal and emotional abuse.
The third phase involves reconciliation. The abuser apologizes, offers excuses, blames the victim, denies the abuse occurred, or says it wasn’t as bad as the victim claims.
Finally, in the fourth phase, there is calm. The incident is ‘forgotten’ and no abuse is taking place.
Then, after some time, the cycle repeats itself.
Characteristics of emotional abuse
~ Emotional abuse accompanies other forms of abuse, but can also occur on its own.
~ No abuse — neglect, physical, or financial — can occur without psychological consequences. Therefore, all abuse contains elements of emotional abuse.
~ Emotional abuse follows a pattern. It is repeated and sustained. If left unchecked, it only gets worse.
~ Emotional abuse can severely damage the victim’s sense of self-worth and perception.
Repercussions of emotional abuse
“Repeated verbal abuse such as blaming, ridiculing, insulting, swearing, yelling and humiliation has long-term negative effects on your self-esteem. It contributes to a perception of uselessness, worthlessness and self-blame,” says Geeta Singh (name changed), 27, a teacher who was a victim of abuse in her first marriage but was fortunate enough to get out of it.
The one-up position the abuser assumes by judging or demeaning the recipient undermines the equality and autonomy that is the foundation of healthy adult relationships. This can result in what is known as ‘learned helplessness’.
“By threatening to physically harm a partner, the abuser dominates him/ her and shows that he/ she is more powerful. The partner feels extremely terrorised, vulnerable and powerless within the relationship. This kind of emotional abuse makes an abused person feel helpless and isolated,” says Dr Mathur.
“Jealousy, possessiveness and interrogation about a partner’s whereabouts and activities are examples of controlling behaviors that restrict a partner’s independence and freedom,” says Geeta.
“Emotional abuse can have serious physical and psychological consequences, including severe depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, isolation from others, increased alcohol or drug use, emotional instability, sleep disturbances, physical complaints, extreme dependence and feelings of shame and self-blame,” says Dr Mathur.
Eventually, emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating emotional scars that can be far deeper and more lasting than physical ones.
Are you suffering from emotional abuse?
Take a moment to consider these questions. They will help you identify if you are being emotionally abused, and provide some ideas on what you can do about it.
- Do you feel your partner controls your life?
- Do you feel your partner doesn’t value your thoughts and feelings?
- Does your partner ever criticise you, humiliate you, threaten/ intimidate you, or undermine your self-esteem?
- Does your partner get angry and jealous if you talk to someone else? Are you accused of having affairs?
- Do you get mixed messages, such as the reason you’re being abused is because he/ she loves you?
- Does your partner tell you no one else would want you, or that you’re lucky he/ she takes care of you?
- Does your partner use the children against you in arguments or threaten you’ll never see them again if you leave?
- Does your partner blame you for whatever goes wrong?
- Do you do anything you can to please your partner or not upset him/ her?
- Have you noticed changes in your eating, sleeping or alcohol usage?
- Do you feel sick, anxious, tired or depressed most of the time?
- Have you lost self-confidence and are unable to make decisions for yourself?
- Does your partner isolate you from friends, family or neighbors?
- Do you sometimes feel trapped in the relationship?
- Does your partner refuse to share household and family responsibilities?
What can you do about it
- Realize that emotional abuse is a serious problem, and can be as bad or worse than physical abuse.
- Emotional abuse can lead to physical abuse. Take the issue your own safety and the safety of your children (if any) seriously.
- Know that you are not to blame for your partner’s abusive behavior and that no one ever deserves to be abused.
- Find people to talk to, who can support you. Consider going for counseling. If possible, convince your spouse to go as well. Take the help of your near and dear ones.
- Know that you have the right to make your own decisions, in your own time, and that dealing with any type of abuse may take time.
- Trust yourself and your own perceptions. Believe in your strengths.
Remember that you are not alone and help is available.
Getting your self-esteem back on track is a priority. Often, we allow people into our lives who treat us as we expect to be treated. If we are willing to tolerate negative treatment from others, it’s quite possible we treat ourselves the same way.
What sorts of things do you say to yourself? Do thoughts such as “I am no good” or “I never do anything right” dominate your thought process? Learning to love and care for yourself increases self-esteem and makes it more likely you will have healthy relationships.
Is your partner emotionally abusive? by Richa Plant
Abuse is a cycle. Many times victims become abusers and abusers become victims. Children who are powerless while being abused, learn that abuse is how you get power and control and adopt those behaviors.
Emotional abuse was not an element in my last relationship and it was interesting and difficult to see how I expected abuse and would still play the part of a victim in my head.
I found this great article on it.
What is emotional abuse?
There is no universally accepted definition of emotional abuse. Like other forms of violence in relationships, emotional abuse is based on power and control. The following are widely recognized as forms of emotional abuse: Your spouse…
- Frequently blames or criticizes you
- Calls you names
- Ridicules your beliefs, religion, race class or sexual preference
- Blames you for “causing” the abuse
- Ridicules/makes bad remarks about your gender
- Criticizes or threatens to hurt your family or friends
- Isolates you from your family and friends
- Abuses animals
- Tries to keep you from doing something you wanted to do
- Is angry if you pay too much attention to someone or something else (children, friends, school, etc.)
- Withholds approval, appreciation or affection
- Humiliates you
- Becomes angry if meals or housework are not done to his/her liking
- Makes contradictory demands
- Does not include you in important decisions
- Does not allow you to sleep
- Repeatedly harasses you about things you did in the past
- Takes away car keys, money or credit cards
- Threatens to leave or told you to leave.
- Checks up on you (listens to your phone calls, looks at phone bills, checks the mileage on the car, etc.)
- Tells people you suffer from a mental illness
- Threatens to commit suicide
- Interferes with your work or school (provokes a fight in the morning, calls to harass you at work, etc.)
- Minimizes or denies being abusive
- Abuses your children
- Breaks dates and cancels plans without reason
- Uses drugs or alcohol to excuse their behavior
- Uses phrases like “I’ll show you who is boss,” or ”I’ll put you in line”
- Uses loud or intimidating tone of voice
- Comes home at late hours refusing an explanation
Emotional abuse can have serious physical and psychological consequences for women, including severe depression, anxiety, persistent headaches, back and limb problems, and stomach problems. If you are concerned about the abuse level you are experiencing, please call 1−800−799−SAFE (7233).
There’s a really cute picture of me when I am five. Recently, someone looked at it and said that my smile looked fake and my eyes looked sad. I have looked at that picture many times since then and it has brought back a lot of memories. I was abused in a lot of ways, but emotional abuse is always at the core. I wish I could have helped restore that girl’s trust, but it was broken so many times.
The silent abuse… There are no physical bruises or scars. The pain is hidden deep into the heart and soul, where no one can see. Emotional abuse can only be felt. When we have love for people, especially children, we automatically want to help heal any pain. I am blessed with one thing, for sure. That is the ability to see pain through the eyes of the hurting.
I wanted to share some signs that you could look for if you suspect that a child is being emotionally abused. Just so you know, I am a counselor in training. I am working towards a Bachelors in Psychology, but I am no counselor as of yet. What I share are my own experiences and observations.
The first thing that an emotionally abused child has lost is trust. What happens is as a baby, a child learns to trust their care takers. They have no choice, because they are born to be nurtured therefore they need to have trust. Over a period of time when a child is being torn down emotionally, they begin losing trust. When this happens, they bottle up and become distant. You may find that an emotionally abused child is distant and not very trusting of you. They won’t easily talk to you or they will put up a guard in efforts to “protect” them self. Until that trust is built back up (by you) they will never trust you, even if you have done nothing to abuse that trust. They had it once and lost it… it is up to us to find it again.
An emotionally abused child is bitter and cold. If they aren’t sad, they are snippy. An emotionally abused child may have constant mood swings from sadness to anger. They won’t show emotion for others who may be sad or hurting. For example, if another child gets hurt, they won’t show emotion or care towards them. It’s as if they have completely shut down their emotions to those around them.
Emotional abuse is the core for all abuse. There are many things that are involved in emotional abuse. Some examples are inconsistent tendencies, cruel behaviors towards others, being ignored or rejected. A lot of times these may come across as insignificant behaviors, but these are signs of an emotionally abusive situation.
A child needs constant nurturing in order for them to strive. It is an essential part of their development. They need it to build confidence and esteem. If they are ignored or rejected, they are being deprived of a necessity and therefore being abused. This is all too prevalent in today’s society.
There is a sad reality in how an emotionally abused child is cared for in today’s world. The simple fact is that they are not. Unfortunately, a child who isn’t physically abused cannot find help through intervention, like CPS. Often times the children are left in this living environment and they grow up, suffering from emotional neglect and abuse.
We can be a light for them by gaining their trust, listening to them and making them feel like they are worthy. It make take time, but sometimes we are their only hope. Look for the sad and lonely or stand-offish child. Most likely they are being emotionally abused or neglected. Sometimes it just takes a hug or smile to make their day.
I see it right in my own neighborhood that there are children who are constantly neglected by their parents. They are brought down to feel low, they are cursed at and always rejected. The cycle continues and parents don’t realize that they need to be the one to break that cycle. We cannot take our own hurts and pain and pass them down to our children.
Emotional abuse hurts deep within, causes pain, bitterness, strife and is detrimental to our children who should be loved and nurtured on a day to day basis. Let’s do our part and love a child who may be hurting today.
Complete depression and paralysis…
I feel absolutely paralyzed. I found out about another potentially huge financial setback last week. I have been seized by panic and now paralysis. I am trying to work as I have deadlines all week. Big ones. And I doubt myself, fear and am unable to make progress.
I have promises to keep and they are very important to me.
And I feel like I am staring up at a tidal wave that is building and building and about to crash down and destroy me.
This panic has triggered my ptsd so much and I have to force every inch of work that I am sure I am capable of doing. However, in this emotional obstacle course I have to hurdle the panic and then swim through the self loathing.
And I wish I could wish this away, the ptsd and paralysis. And I know that I have to get more work, but I fear that more deadlines will cause more fear, more paralysis and am I setting myself up for mental harm again.
I wish I could go back to the days before my nervous breakdown, when I didn’t know I was so fragile.
I hate being fragile.
I’m trying to make peace with and space for my gray area. I’m trying to figure out what to do and where to go next and how to pay for it. Life wasn’t easier when there was a rule for everything, but it was more clear.
I’m trying to figure out how to live well and work on the things that I need to and stay consistent.
Right now the focus is money and weight management. I have plans and goals for working on both and I hope it works. But I feel really wonky and depressed. It could be the detox, it could be the impending hormonal fluctuation, it could also be that I am living with someone I love dearly and am separating from.
I really don’t want to separate, but it’s the right thing for now. No matter what happens with this dear relationship, I still want to grow and be self sustaining. I am so grateful that I had the huge gift of being with someone who supported me in a lot of ways, while I was going through a pivotal reconnoitering. His emotional, mental and financial generosity has been a deep well and I have to learn how to stand on my two feet again.
I feel like the biggest fool and ingrate in so many ways, I think that standing on my own two feet is the right thing no matter what. I regret that I felt that I had to be alone to do it. But, that is my journey as what happens next happens.
I am starting a new program to help me get my financial well being under control. It’s good to work with others to bring clarity and accountability for me. I hope that this will help me create a balance for my financial world and I can do it for myself. It feels better to hold myself accountable than to have a partner enforce it. Sitting with discomfort and fear is an important part of this program. I am trying to have compassion for where I was a month ago, when I left E.
I feel like a slowly melting candle. I feel like I am dripping hot remorse, regret, shame and grief as the reality of my breakup becomes more real. It’s easy to think it’s not real, especially since we are still sharing a living space. But then there are times like today where there are things that aren’t right to say and boundaries that must be maintained.
It’s a confusing time, I am so full of hope and grief.