Although there is no universally accepted definition of emotional abuse, it is largely based on the need to use power and control over the life partner or relative.
- Emotional abuse follows a pattern; it is repeated and sustained. Left unchecked, abuse only gets worse over time.
- Emotional abuse is a serious problem that continues to linger and effect much longer than desirable.
- Continued emotional abuse can cause many victims to develop chronic anger and mistrust issues, which sometimes detach from the abuse and appear as different symptoms.
- Like other forms of violence in relationships, the ones who are most often emotionally abused are also the ones who hold the least power in society, for example, women and children;
- Emotional abuse can severely damage a person’s sense of self-worth and perception;
- Emotional abuse can also affect a child’s social development and may result in an impaired ability to perceive, feel, understand and express emotions. In the future, this stunted development of the capacity to feel empathy could make of the former victim a new abuser of others, perpetuating the circle.
Usually, the victim thinks that to recover from emotional abuse, they have to make the abuser understand his/her point of view, believing that a misunderstanding is at the root of the problem. But there are deeper reasons for the emotional abuse, as well as elements intrinsic of the mindset of the abuser and pertaining to his model of a relationship.
The victim especially needs to understand that the abuser will only change if he/she decides to do so, and not just because the victim needs him/her to change.
To truly recover from emotional abuse, we must choose to stand for our rights and demand to be treated with the respect we deserve. Otherwise, we choose to accept an unhealthy relationship and agree to pay the price. One price is an imaginary sense of support from the abuser that is never reliable.
Often, it is not possible to find a solution because an abuser is not cooperating. Thus, it’s important to stop participating in an emotionally abusive relationship. This means letting go of the victim’s role and starting to work on personal issues and self esteem, in order to strengthen our interactions and relations with others. Without this, recovery from emotional abuse cannot start.
Some elements of this transformation are to:
- Become aware. Acceptance of the situation is the very first step.
- Avoid self-deception: give up the hope that he will change.
- Learn as much as you can about emotional abuse.
- Learn how to use assertive techniques when confronting.
- Use community resources as help in planning a better future.
- Seek help and share your case with others who can provide different solutions. Seek professional case whenever needed.
Ultimately, these will facilitate recovery from emotional abuse, while promoting your self-esteem and happiness.
Nora Femenia, Ph.D is passionate about supporting women’s recovery from emotional abuse once and for all. Nora has created a powerful set of tools for helping women break out of the mind-set that keeps them in a toxic relationship by first discovering unconscious beliefs and family blueprints. To know more about her latest book “Recovering From Emotionally Abusive Relationships” please visit http://www.healingemotionalabuse.com