PREVIOUS: What if emotional abuse
(P. = Perpetrator / V. = Victim)
TYPES of EMOTIONAL ABUSE (E.A.) (cont.)
a. Denying – Perps
• disallow & overrules your viewpoints, or feelings that differ from their own
• dismiss emotional needs, especially when you’re in great pain (of any kind), with the intention of hurting, punishing or humiliating
• refuse to consider your request to be treated better
• withdraw emotionally, refuse to listen or communicate, using the silent treatment as punishment
b. Invalidating – they
• refuse to acknowledge reality by denying specific events actually happened
• negate your observations, memory, even your sanity
• try to distort, undermine & negate your perceptions of the real world
EXP – Perp’s responses to you :
▫︎ when you object to being called a bad name, they may insist :
“I never said that , don’t know what you’re talking about,”…
▫︎ if you indicate you’re hurt by something they did or said, they’ll sneer :
“Geeze, I was just kidding! That shouldn’t bother you. That’s your problem. You’re too sensitive…”
P.S. A possible counter: “Well, you’re not sensitive enough!”
c. Minimizing : a less extreme form of invalidation – they
• may not deny that a particular event occurred, but will downplay the severity of an abusive episode, & question the validity of your emotional experience or reaction
• may say “You’re exaggerating, blowing this out of proportion , You made that up, You’re over-reacting….”, implying you’re “crazy” since your evaluation of the experience is faulty
d. Trivializing : An even more subtle form of denying – they
• underplay their own behavior while telling you that your actions, thoughts & feelings don’t make sense (not important or legitimate)
• suggest that what you’ve done or said is stupid, unimportant & not worth bothering with
UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS – They
• accuse you of being selfish if you don’t do exactly what they want
• demand constant attention, to spend all your free time with them, & expect you to put aside tasks & down-time to focus on them
• indicate that no matter how much you give, you always fall short
• put unreasonable demands on your time, energy, space, money…. then berate you for not fulfilling all their needs
• say you’ve stupid but expect you to be their perfect cleaner, lawyer, doctor, parent, lover….
WITHHOLDING – they
• doesn’t pay attention to or help with everyday ‘little things’
• leave out important information you need
• never gives praise or shows appreciation for your efforts
• never shows concern, won’t offer to protect & never have your back
• refuse your affection, approval, appreciation, love, validation
• won’t say where they’re going or what they’re doing
Some Results in YOU
Overall, long-term abuse creates ‘learned helplessness‘ (MORE…)
• always on edge, anxious, off-balance • become hopeless & depressed
• lose respect for yourself • often get sick • self-esteem erodes
• question & mistrust your own perceptions & opinions – lose all confidence in your most valuable survival tool : your own mind
ANTIDOTES to E.A.
It’s very hard to take in love from others when they’re scared all the time! (See Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). And we won’t ever feel safe if we:
a. choose & then stay with abusers
b. stay emotionally shut down, or over-react to every event
• The best defense is to know what to look for (T) AND then stay awake to your physical reactions that tell how you’re feeling (E).
Being in touch with your intelligence, intuition & every nuance of emotion is vital : Our Es let us know when who or what we’re around is appropriate or inappropriate for us. Then we can act accordingly. That’s up to US!
• As we clean out old pain we clear a channel to our True Self, which includes having legitimate, in-the-moment reactions to our environment.
Like the ‘Ick Factor’ – that little jolt in the gut when we’re with someone who says or acts in away that’s wrong for us. Because it’s subtle, it’s easier to notice it IF we’re not full of anxiety.
Whenever we experience & acknowledge that ICK, we need to ask what that person meant by their comment, or just say ouch!
Whether you’ve spent a few days, weeks or months with an Emotional Abuser, with the correct info you can recognize if they’re unable or unwilling to change. If that’s the reality, it may be time to curtail or eliminate the relationship.
NEXT: Direct abusers #1