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BOOK: “Co-dependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls” ~ Robert Burney
REVIEW posts on Emotions
EMOTIONAL ABUSE (E.A.)
How others treat us is about them (their damage or health).
AND – How we react to others is about us (our wounds or Recovery!)
“Emotional abuse is the foundation of all other types. It’s the most damaging part of physical, sexual, mental…. trauma done to our heart & soul, the way we’re betrayed by the people we love & trust. It’s is a devastating, debilitating mutilation of our essence – the deepest lasting wound of any abuse .” (MORE….)
“Co-dependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls” ~ Robert Burney
• E.A. is also sometimes referred to as Psychological or Mental Abuse, divided into Verbal Aggression, Dominant and Jealous Behaviors – by the “Conflict Tactics Scale”.
Unlike sexual or physical mistreatment, which can cause lasting trauma with only one event, E.A. comes from repeated exposure. E.A. is :
— anything that causes fear by intimidation (US Justice Dept)
— motivated by urges for “power & dyscontrol”** (Health Canada)
**Dyscontrol : “A pattern of abnormal, episodic or frequently uncontrollable social behavior, of repeated acts of violent aggression in an otherwise normal person, markedly out of proportion to events that provoked it, which are caused by brain disorders OR substance abuse”
E.A. comes in many guises, obvious or subtle. It’s violence experienced in any relationship which is just as damaging as physical assaults, if not more so, because it goes to the core of who we are as human beings. (Wikipedia)
Many emotional abusers operate under the guise of “teaching, advising, correcting, and/or guiding”, & therefore fly under the radar, spreading their poison year after year.
“Emotional violence is another kind of abuse … not about words, because Perpetrators don’t always resort to using the verbal club, but rather an untraceable poison……
They may in fact, speak very kind words to you, and so – to everyone else – will seem nothing but supportive. Their covert abuse is administered in small, cunning ways over time. So the impact is gradual, not immediately visible.”
~ from “THIS IS HOW” Augusten Burroughs
E.A. can be very difficult to identify because:
a. very often there are no outward signs, such as physical scars or broken bones – ‘only’ breaking of the spirit!
It includes the use of coercion, insults, neglect, threats …. to control another person, who loses (or never gains) self-esteem & the freedom to grow.
Victims of E.A. blame themselves for the mistreatment, & their S-H makes them cling to perpetrators, staying because they believe they have nowhere else to go, & no one else will want them.
b. it’s so common in our culture that we don’t consider it a problem. Alice Miller’s “For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child Rearing & the Roots of Violence” (1980) describes this issue. Read Review .
And her “Banished Knowledge” book is about how we’re taught from early on to ignore being treated badly (T.) & how that feels (E.) Read Review. People who are emotionally hurtful are everywhere, & are usually oblivious to the effect they have on their Victim(s).
Perpetrators (P) includes people who:
• don’t consider our personality when interacting to us (only their own)
• make a judgmental or belittling comment to us in front of others
• only talk & think about themselves (no room for us)
• tease us using things they know we’re sensitive about
• tell us what to do, how to think, how to feel
• try to make us take care of them, make us feel guilty, act needy…..
• try to fix us with action-suggestions, when we only need empathy
ALSO, the people around the P’s target often validate pubic humiliation & thoughtless or cruel remarks by laughing, as if the mean comment was clever & amusing. It’s a way to cheer the perpetrator on – long as it’s not being done to them! This can come from siblings, school mates, co-workers, club members…
When we are the target – we feel terribly alone, hurt & angry.
NEXT: Emotional Abuse (Part 2)