Words can hurt – Emotional-verbal abuse

Not just physical abuse can hurt in a relationship. Words and emotional manipulation can cause similar sufferings like physical abuse. Words have their own power, they can heal but also can hurt and destroy as well. What kind of signs does emotional abuse have? How can we protect ourselves from it?

index

Verbal/emotional abuse is the most difficultly recognizable abusive form because it can be used indirectly by wrapped into a paper of trifling or by exaggerated manipulative behaviour. The outcome of being emotionally abused is the same, damaged self-esteem and questioning the sense of reality. A lot of people stuck in emotionally abusive relationship because they don’t want to believe it’s really happening with them. Easier to quiet ourselves with thinking that “I’m sure she/he didn’t mean it!” or “Actually he/she means it for my good!”. Abuse can appear not just in relationships, also in friendships, family or working place. Through segregation and suppressing the abuser gets the control and even if the victim feels that the relationship is becoming damaged, often feels scared to break up the poisoning relation.

Invisible wounds

Researches have proved that both physical and emotional pain activate the very same parts of the brain. Doesn’t matter if there are no visible bruises on our body, emotional abuse doesn’t disappear without damage. If the verbal/emotional abuse is serious and continuous the victim’s self-esteem and self-evaluation can get degraded without physical bruises. The suffering person believes she/he is less valued, his/her self-confidence decreasing and in the meantime starting to doubt own capacities and capabilities. After a while critics and negative remarks become part of the victim’s self-esteem and not able to see herself/himself real. Become part of the self-image and the victim become one with the point of view of the abuser. Verbal and emotional abuse ensnare the victim whom can feel that she/he wouldn’t be possibly enough good for anyone else as well and stays in the relationship. The abuse influences negatively the whole social network of the victim because she/he is starting to question everything, like if the others really like him/her or not. This doubting easily segregate the victim from other people. Long-term abuse can cause depression and anxiety, eating disorders and sleeping problems. Often victims don’t talk about their situation because they feel shame and also they still doubt their own situation….what if the other is right?

The most important condition of treating abusive relationship is REALIZATION. Admission is essential after experiencing any aspect of abuse to move on. The victim must honestly have to face with facts and happenings to get back the lead of own life. There are few strategies which can help to move on or at least minimize the damage of an abusive relationship.

  1. Have our mental and physical health the first priority and stop blaming ourselves!

In an abusive relationship we must make ourselves aware of our own needs and their priorities. We must let the compliance go towards the abuser which had been developing in the past. We can look for activities which support the positive mindset and strengthen who we are. It can be a self-knowledge course or hobby which is all about just us. Step by step we can experience that we are able to take care of ourselves and strengthen our self-esteem. In an emotionally abusive relationship we susceptible to believe that the problem is us, we are the bad ones. Why? Because we think there must be a provided reason (our behaviour or simply just the way we are) for our partner who is acting with us on the way he/she does – we give the reason to him/her. (Why would he/she act like this but loves me?) We must stop blaming ourselves because we don’t have control on that part of the relationship. Abusers are masters of making us believe that we provided or provoked their abusive reactions or behaviour. This is not truth! We must be aware of it.

  1. Set up borders and don’t afraid of give abuser the cold shoulder!

Probably the most difficult step to make clear to the abusive partner what she/he can do or what can’t. We must undertake that he/she is not allowed to shout or call us names, not allowed to use insulting labels about us. Can help to ask his/her attention to the possible consequences. We must set up those borders what we can maintain. So if the abuser’s communication doesn’t change, well we must stand up and interrupt the communication. We must acknowledge that not everybody or everything can be “rescued”. In a long-term abusive relationship most probably the attitude of the abuser is not going to change just because we try to fill up his/her expectations, pleasing him/her or bagging or crying. We must remember that we are responsible just for our own actions and not for the abuser’s.

  1. Build safety net and always have escaping route!

After we have recognized the problem, we must start to talk about it with someone even if it hurts. We can feel shame and humiliation but if we don’t speak about it our situation is going to be just worse. Very important to find somebody who we can share our situation with. It can be a friend, a family member or an expert. We should spend as much time as possible with those people who love and support us. Our social network can reduce our isolated and lonely feeling. Really very hard to leave someone who we love even if that relationship is poisonous. We must see that clearly most of the times abusive people don’t look for help or clearly see that what they do is destructive, so they don’t ask help to change. Face the facts that if she/he is not able or willing to change we must break up and leave. Emotional abuse can cause the same damage as physical ones. Every situations are different but there are cases where the only solution is to leave.

Very important to know one thing, there is always a solution to get out from a destructive relationship, always even if we haven’t found it yet!

 

Picture: twitter.com

7 principals to have a stable and well-balanced relationship

John M. Gottman American clinical psychologist and relationship researcher has been studying this area since decades. He defined 7 principles to build up and maintain stable and well-balanced relationship. His main focus is to study dynamics of marriages and the transformation of them. According to his research results he is able to predict if the relationship is going to be stable or the partners are going to be separated. His principles also can help to prevent our relationship from breaking up.

images

  1. Deep friendship

The ideal relationship is based on a deep, accepting and loving friendship. This feeling can be a kind of a stable base for the future development. If the attraction, sexuality and intimacy were based on this friendship the relationship would face and deal with difficult times easier. There are also critical communication characteristics and if they are used in conflicts, they can be a bad sign for the future development of the relationship. These communication characteristics are, critic, contempt, defense and building up walls. If we can see these communication characteristics are appearing, becoming used, that can show the frailness of the relationship, which also can show that the mutual strong respect – the friendship might have suffered a damage. The problem with using critics is it doesn’t tend towards the conflict, it’s aimed at our partner. Contempt is very destructive because its aim is to humiliate the partner, its message is that we don’t consider our husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend as our partner and equal anymore. With using defense the problem is that it’s a kind of covert counter-attack and usually just rouses the conflict. When we build up walls around us, when we don’t even consider to react on to our partner’s arguments that can make him/her to feel or think like we don’t have more energy or motivation to care of the relationship. According to experts these four communication elements are able to shake the relationship and worth to keep eye on it and to avoid or resolve them.

  1. Love map

Love map means a deep and detailed knowledge of our partner. The secret of the good relationship is to be able to “read” our partner’s small fleeting emotions. We must be curious without judgement to know our partner, discovering his/her vulnerabilities, negative and positive characteristics, desires and fears and goals. Very useful often just staying in silence and listen to our partner, just observing.

  1. Not just observing, also listening!

We must give time to attune to each other, like sharing our day with each other after a difficult day, being an active listener. When we listen and react curiously it has a kind of a reward emotional effect in our partner. Common experiences and rituals are able to strengthen our connection and deepen our relationship.

  1. Let it go!

Before we get into an argument, consider that is it really worth to get into a conflict or argument about it? Often we slip into disproportionate fights because of small things and also into those where there is no objective truth. For instance, our partner forgot to replace the empty toilet paper roll. Is it really the end of the world? To let things go is not a sign of being weak, it’s respecting the other’s rights and accepting the other on the way she/he is.

  1. Do if you can!

   Professor Gottman divided upcoming problems in the relationship for two groups. The first group includes all of the resolvable problems and conflicts. If we worked on those together that would strengthen the relation and increasing the satisfaction of a stable relationship. For instance if a conflict is becoming too harsh they are able to break off the argument when they are feeling that they are losing their temper. In this case can help if they share their feelings with each other, if they are able to apologize and showing their love. Here I must mention that, very important also to keep in mind that “we actually love each other” in difficult times or during an argument.

  1. Don’t want to change the partner!

There can be factors in a relationship which on there is no control of the other. This is the second group which includes the unsolvable problems. If a fundamental difference appears between a couple, where is impossible to find the common consensus, to maintain the relationship they must accept this difference and being able to see it from the partner’s point of view. Happy couples are able to build in each other’s goals into their common plans and supporting each other to reach them even if it requires sacrifices.

  1. Find common goals!

In a balanced stable relationship there is always a common principal, a central conception or value which connects the couple even deeper. To establish it, we can create own habits or traditions. If there is something which is important for two people in the relationship that has an incredible cementing force. Shared experiences and traditions can remind us of this force even if we are going through a difficult time period.

According to Professor Gottman a couple’s happiness mainly depends on if they are matched well or not. Not enough to learn and use effective communication or conflict management techniques. The essence of a long-lasting and satisfied relationship is based on if those two people are match well and depends on if they are able to care of their relationship well and accepting each other’s unsolvable differences.

 

Picture: http://www.aestheticsofjoy.com

Positive psychology – repression

„Keep eye just on the positive things!” „Close out negative things in your life!” Catch-phrases nowadays, we repeat them almost daily. Positive psychological confirmations are very fashionable to reach a “good life”. Very often I experience how people would love to wipe out every negative emotions from their daily life. Even though they are part of us since we are humans. They want to wipe out anger, sadness and stress which is almost impossible. The key is to learn and being able to handle them on a healthy level.

Really is it a good/happy life without negative emotions?

Positive psychology – like tendency – appeared around 20 years ago. Its principia is being focused on positive things and our best attributes and with this view/mindset we are able to live a much better life. Definitely it’s a better approach than the old illness focus.

Our world is fast, there are solutions for everything, analgesia instantly as well. Immediately when we experience a grain of negative feeling, we find something what with it can be relieved. However there are eternal human basic emotions which are not going to disappear just because we have a faster internet and they will not stop existing just because we drive a more comfortable car. My personal and professional experience is the main problem of people nowadays is to tolerate trouble. Their tolerance level of taking negative things or emotions is decreasing. They can’t do anything with something which can’t be changed just accepted and taken.

Taking? Come on! That takes so much time, energy and patience! – Most of the people say. They are frightened of it.

So the solution is to run away from it or rephrasing, thinking of other things or don’t acknowledge it. Besides lying to ourselves one of the most popular solution (Number 1) is to push away and trying to forget it. There is just only one problem with forgetting and repressing, nobody never could have done it successfully 100%. The human psyche always remembers and wants to heal, even if it has to push through the ego protection mechanisms.

The price of repression

Being focus just on positive things (elimination of negative) for a long time has a huge price. Generally this is the time when unexplainable illnesses appear, when the body hurts but the psyche is sending messages – most of the time with screaming symbols in the symptoms. For instance a panic attack on a bus, which mostly not caused by public traffic. Appears generalized anxiety and depression just to remind us for our previous losses what from we are keep running away. Some people dig deeper and deeper daily to deepen their own mines just having more and more space for upcoming repressed things.

This is the “right” time when the concerned person is left alone, even if he/she acknowledge that having a problem, how can she/he share it with someone, in a time when it’s not fashionable to have negative feelings and sadness? The fear of not being a good member of a group is evolutionary coded in us. To belong to somewhere or to someone is the key of survive. Our life, emotions and self-esteem is strongly influenced by social media where thousands of pictures, posts and positive life coaching messages (they are my favorite-empty words) show how others are (seem) so happy. In this “society” it’s very difficult to undertake that Yes, I’m not okay and I might not being well for a while. It doesn’t fit the superficial picture perfect. So many people ask help when they are already broken down completely.

The beginning of solution

Still there is a delusion if someone goes to a therapist few times, that person will fill him/her up with happiness again and being able to hold on again for a while. The good and bad news are the same: it’s not happening in therapy which is successful in a long-term. The therapist doesn’t solve our problem, but coming down into its depth, can take our pain and hold us. In the real process first the clients must find those words what with can talk about those things which hurt most. If she/he has found the words, then those negative happening can be put into timeline.

But to be able to face with our problems and difficulties, one thing is definitely necessary: accepting life as it is – doesn’t matter how it is. Don’t rephrase it, not using rationalization and justification, just accept it. Releasing our faith in justice which says bad things happen just with bad people. Accepting that loss is part of life, which will happen with all of us and it doesn’t matter if we think of it or not. Inevitable. Loss is one of our mutual experience but how we react and handle it depends on us. We actively can do for our own well-being and this is our personal responsibility.