What a subject!
Let's be Clear
Most people wield emotional power and are totally oblivious of it's effect, they know not what they do. Many of them don't even notice the emotional currents they cast out. They are blind to the suffering they cause. Our laws have only just changed, now people can be convicted and imprisoned for severe psychological abuse. This page is about emotional abuse, it is subtler still and more invisible than psychological abuse, but has the same long term and devastating effects. Often it is the children who suffer, when their parents act in these ways. The same children then go on to either repeat, or get into a relationship with people, who act in these ways, and the cycle continues.
We all repeat the emotional and spiritual ways of being that we learned in childhood, we are often un aware of the potential destruction that some of our words, tones and repeated actions can have on peers, colleagues and loved ones.
The Drama Triangle
At Higher Effect we are concerned with change and healing, not vilifying and blaming. We may use words such as perpetrator or victim as descriptions of behaviours, but they are not who people are. We avoid identities, unless they are positive.
It is important to remember, most of us have acted in these ways at some points in our lives. If we keep repeating, despite protests from those who are close to us, we are acting emotionally abusively.
The Drama Triangle opposite, shows the patterns we repeat and although it uses the words we'd rather avoid, it describes perfectly the cycle of abuse that most humans today travel around.
It takes a vast amount of personal development, self awareness, meditation and mindfulness, perseverance and discipline to break this cycle. It can be done and we know how, remember you are never alone and help is available.
Emotionally Unavailable People
To prevent entering into a relationship with a person who is likely to negatively use their emotional power inadvertently, we can learn to spot the signs in advance and avoid them completely.
This article summarises the traits. It says men, but women too can behave in these ways.
Example of incongruence
Incongruence in words and actions can be emotional abuse. If I say I value you as a human, and then devalue you in how I act, then I am going to create confusion, doubt, drama and dilemma within you.
If this kind of behaviour is repeated over a period of time, eventually you will doubt your own experience and your mental health will deteriorate, your self esteem will fall and you will loose confidence and self belief.
We are known by our deeds. If the words and actions of someone close to you are out of alignment, trust what they do to communicate the truth.
These final text messages, kindly donated by one of our clients, gives examples of mis-matched words and behaviours. The person concerned tried for many years to get the other to change, they mistakenly believed the words over the actions and lived with the promise of change as described in one of the worksheets following the boundaries link. It is futile to attempt to change another human being.
The repeated denial of the actual reality, combined with their experiences of stonewalling, gas lighting, invalidation and the dismissal and minimisation of their inner torment resulted in self medication and low functioning in life.
Eventually it all led to this person being destroyed inside and suffering a breakdown, it was then they found the inner strength and determination to leave the relationship and embark upon a new journey of evolving and breaking past patterns.
Denial of the abusive behaviours, followed by more of them, with further excuses constitutes extreme emotional abuse. If your space is not safe, change it.
There are plenty of other example of emotional abuse on the internet, mental health diagnosis such as narcissistic, sociopathic and histrionic personality disorders may explain the behaviours, however, it is your responsibility to protect yourself once you become aware of the abuse.
People are like flowers, we deserve to flourish and bloom. Emotional abuse stops us from outgrowing our environment. It keeps us trapped.
What is Emotional Abuse?
It is emotionally abusive when people whom you share personal space with repeatedly hurt your feelings or make you feel uncomfortable, damage your self esteem and worth, make you doubt your experience and continue to do so, even after you have asked them to stop. Accidently hurting someone's feelings happens all of the time, if you have communicated your concerns, and the person does not change and they keep repeating the behaviour, it is emotional abuse.
It is emotionally abusive to dismiss your words, invalidate your experience, point score, compete when you are on the same side, interrogate to get information you do not want to disclose, marginalise and isolate you from support, over rule your decisions and views, control you by making you do something you don't want to, manipulate or coheres you, use demeaning facial expressions and sighs, tuts and eye rolls., withhold praise, encouragement and support, give advice, solve your problem or offer help without first seeking your permission, communicate with your gender rather than you.
It is emotionally abusive to make fun of you without you feeling amused, over use sympathetic tones and gestures, frequently use pity or speak to you like you are a helpless child, interrupt or talk over you, down play your experiences, minimise them, gas light and deny previous words or actions, ignore you and withdraw love or support, shut down and refuse to communicate withdraw affection, kindness and attention, shout, scream, yell or get angry when you raise issues, stone wall, use one upmanship, deflect the discussion points that you are making, avoid communicating around certain subjects, turn the blame on to you when you attempt to raise concerns, repeatedly say one thing and do the other, promise to change but never do, promise to stop the abuse but don't, call you names or make remarks that put you down, use drugs or alcohol around you after you have raised your discomfort, use drugs or alcohol around children, use guilt and shame to manipulate the situation.
There are always more examples. This list is pretty thorough.
This page is to educate only.
Emotional abuse is everywhere and because it involves denial, gas lighting and relies on unconscious habitual patterns, it will most probably continue unseen for decades.
If you suspect you are receiving emotional abuse, you have a responsibility to move away from it and gain a more objective view. We can help you heal and overcome the effects, break childhood patterns and build firmer and more healthy boundaries to prevent repetition..
At it's worst emotional abuse destroys self esteem, kills personal belief, murders mental health and, to the HSHA human, the pain can be experienced as torturous violence, leading to self medication or suicide.
The brain does not know the difference between physical pain and emotional pain. Healing can take months and even years. (Unless we help, then it can be quicker) Usually emotional abuse is so invisible, people don't know it's happening and stay within it's pattern, sometimes for a life time.
If you act emotionally abusively (and most of us do and have done) by acting in the ways described in the examples below, have self compassion, patience, tolerance and loving kindness. It is not your fault, but it is your responsibility to change. We can help you too.
So that we may protect ourselves and prevent the inner torment of emotional abuse, it is vital we maintain clear and healthy boundaries.
The below link gives examples and activities to build and strengthen these.
We are a Community Interest Company, leading a new way to healing, evolving and sustaining. We offer Multidimensional Perspectives, Explorations, Solutions and Transformations, inclusive and outside of Belief and Traditional Paradigms.