CRUELTY COMES IN MANY FORMS –
& 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!
UNDER – No matter how much we know 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, 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 separate 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 only ‘stepped on your toe’;
It feels like the foot has been cut off & we’re left bleeding life, 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 –
• double check if something was actually an abusive situation – or are we reading into it (projection) because it’s so similar to what was repeatedly done to us as kids.
⚙︎ ASK: :Did this 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’’, didn’t say hello , told me what to do…..
⎈ ‘Checking’ includes 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. It’s important to ask.
We Can also:
• identify unpleasant or inappropriate words & actions that did actually happen, instead of ignoring the event or how we feel. 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 ones 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 has drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts – WITH
— unpredictable, irrational changes in reaction to you or your normal behaviors
— will say one thing one day & the opposite the next,
— like what you do one day & hate it the next… SO:
• 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
• often starts arguments, disagreement, creates conflicts
• are ‘addicted to drama’ causing endless upheaval for everyone
• make promises you depend on, but rarely follow thru
• change plans or ‘rules’ at the last minute, without informing you
• keep you off-balance, never knowing what’s real or ‘safe’
NEXT: Emotional Abuse (Part 3)