Emotional abuse: drawing the line in the sand
Are you living in a relationship where you no longer know who you are? Does your partner disrespect you, invalidate your opinions, marginalize you, blame you for everything, or constantly criticize everything you do? Does your partner try to keep you isolated from your friends and family and wants to know what you do every minute of the day?
If you answered yes to more than two of those questions, then you are most likely in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Emotional abuse is abuse of the worst kind because it is insidious. It’s like a snake that coils around its prey and slowly sucks the life out of it before consuming it methodically and very, very efficiently. It is hidden, out of sight, and is one of the most destructive forms of systematic manipulation and control by one person over another.
Emotional abuse starts small in the early stages of a relationship. Abusers will test limits and boundaries to the point where they control, manipulate and threaten every aspect of the victim’s life. Because the abuser teaches the victim that this is acceptable behavior, she can no longer see it objectively.
It’s hard to understand why a loved one would treat us this way. A very real possibility is that they do it because they can. It provides them with power, a sense of importance, the satisfaction of getting their way most of the time, and an accommodating partner who works hard to please. However, it could also be due to a psychological or medical disorder such as narcissism. This and other disorders are well documented, with much information available to help the person with the disorder and those affected by their behavior.
Take the time to research this complex and destructive disorder. Understanding why your partner is behaving this way will instantly free you from the burden of believing that you are the problem.
If you think you are being emotionally abused, here are some things you can do right away to start taking back control of your life:
Talk to someone you trust. Let them know what is going on. This will help put your situation in perspective. Understand that the abuse is not your fault. Regardless of what you have been led to believe, your partner is solely responsible for the abusive behavior. Realize that you are unlikely to be able to change your partner’s behavior, but you can do a lot about how you react or respond to that behavior. Take responsibility for allowing the situation to happen to you and start taking steps to reclaim your freedom, one step at a time.
By staying in an emotionally abusive relationship, you are telling your partner that it is okay. For those who don’t want to talk because they fear causing waves, peace at any cost is simply allowing your partner to continue on a destructive path.
It takes a lot of courage to take the first step to regain control of your life. When you feel the time is right, you will find that inner strength to make the necessary changes in your life to stop the abuse. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Get help. Recognition and acknowledgment of what is happening is only the first step. Emotional abuse is complex and deep seated, and answers and solutions take time and patience to arrive at.
There are many ways to find help. If you google the words “emotional abuse” Prayed “emotionally abusive relationshipsYou’ll find hundreds, if not thousands, of links to articles, books, advice and information on the many faces of emotional abuse and emotionally abusive relationships. If you don’t have access to a computer, join the library – they have a great self-help section .
Many, many strong, intelligent and self-confident people, normally so resolute in other areas of their lives, have been and continue to be in situations similar to the one you are in now. It may have taken them a long time to realize they were in an unhealthy relationship, or it may have become apparent very quickly. They choose to stay in those relationships for a variety of reasons; fear of leaving, doubts about whether they are really in an unhealthy relationship, embarrassment that they have to admit what is happening or maybe they love their partner, so they continue to put up with unacceptable behaviors.
The first step in regaining control of your life is recognize that emotional abuse is real. The second step is to understand that you don’t have to dismiss the feelings you have of isolation, degradation, or manipulation. It’s not personal paranoia or, in fact, it’s blown out of proportion.. It’s real, but you can stop today.
Tony Robbins put it so aptly: If you don’t set a basic standard of what you will accept in life, you’ll find it easy to fall into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that falls far short of what you deserve.
When will you draw your line in the sand?