What is EMOTIONAL Abuse? (Part 2)

& they all hurt my feelings!

PREVIOUS: Emotional Abuse (Part 1)

SITE: Types of Emotional Abuse 

EMOTIONAL REACTIONS to Emotional Abuse (E.A.)

✶ The most important thing to remember is that ALL categories of abuse cause emotional damage. We need  to notice how those actions or words make us feel emotionally – as in – NOT happy!

– No matter how much head knowledge we have about our issues, without doing deeper FoO work many ACoAs have a hard time even recognizing familiar abuses as they’re happening, much less feeling an emotional sting. If we’re still numb from old pain & lack of self-care, it’s very hard to connect depression & S-H with being exposed to E.A.

• It’s as if we were wearing that huge white medical collar that vets sometimes put on dogs/cats – we can see over the top, but not the knife in someone’s hand as they stick it in our gut – especially if they’re smiling!
We may feel some pain, but don’t understand that it’s truly coming from outside of ourselves. As trained victims from childhood, we always assume that – if we’re hurting – it a sure sign there’s something wrong with us. NOT SO!

OVER – When we do over-react emotionally to a person or event, the tricky part is being able to over-reactseparate what just happened in the present from the accumulated suffering of past abuse. Often it IS a combination of the two, in layers – like when someone’s only ‘stepped on your toe’

Instead, it feels like the foot has been cut off & we’re left bleeding, because of all the times our family did the same thing to us.
Whenever we have an intense reaction we know “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”. We can validate our fear, outrage, sadness…. while still staying in the present moment & seeing reality.
SO,  we can:
• double check** if something was actually an abusive situation – or are we reading into it (projection) because it’s so similar from the past.
⚙︎ ASK: “Did this current event call for such an intense reaction?
Do I feel like I’m being stomped on, discarded like garbage or my life is being threatened – when all someone did was not text immediately back, looked at me ‘funny’’, not say hello , told me what to do…..

** ‘Checking’ may include asking someone we trust for an evaluation of the event, or going back to the original person & asking what they meant by ___?, or why they did ____?.
Whether they tell us the truth or not, many times their answer will be surprising – it’s not what we thought they meant, because it had nothing to do with us.  So we could not have guessed what they actually meant!  It’s important to ask.
work abuseWe can also:
• identify unpleasant or inappropriate words & actions that did actually happen, instead of ignoring the event or how we feel. They weren’t just in our imagination.
For some ACoAs this may take outside validation too, including comparing lists of ‘My Rights’ against Abusive Behaviors.

✶ All Over & Under-reactions come from our WIC or PP. Appropriate responses (not reactions) come from our UNIT.
Learning to tell the difference between actual abuse & our projections or paranoia comes from internalizing the healing of Recovery work + accumulated information about present-day reality + validation of our feelings & experiences – via meetings, reading, healers & therapists.

a. Their Reactions
Perps have drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts –
✓ with unpredictable, irrational changes in reaction to you or your normal behaviors
✓ who will say one thing one day & the opposite the next, &
✓ will like what you do one day & hate it the next…
SO: mood swings
• being maddeningly inconsistent, you never know what’s expected of you
• you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop
• you have to stay hyper-vigilant so you know when to ‘duck’

b. Constant Chaos – THEY
• are ‘addicted to drama’ causing endless upheaval for everyone
• change plans or ‘rules’ at the last minute, without informing you
• keep you off-balance, never knowing what’s real or ‘safe’, so they have all the power
• often starts arguments, disagreement, creates conflicts
• make promises you depend on, but rarely follow thru

NEXT: Emotional Abuse (Part 3)

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