This is a GREAT article that describes what Emotional Abuse is and how it works. I didn’t write this, but I LIVED IT and I can tell you this is a VERY accurate account of exactly what Emotional Abuse (EA) is. For anyone who thinks it’s “vague and subjective” and difficult to define: It’s NOT. Read on if you want THE definition. I promise you won’t find it difficult to understand.
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by Natalie P.
Emotional abusers are very insidious – some of them are much harder to spot than others, because they mingle their abuse in between acts of generosity, and often employ emotionally manipulative tactics, and passive-aggressive behavior. Not all emotional abusers overtly belittle and verbally harangue their partners – some are much more perfidious and as such, their partners may not realize that the source of their distress and an unease over the relationship has been coming from abuse for quite some time. The longer a woman remains under the grip of an emotional abuser, the more she will start to question herself, her actions and her beliefs. It is the abuser’s goal to make her believe that she deserves his cruelty and that only through her actions can she make it stop. It is his intent to get her to feel that she is the cause of any relationship problems, and that his (abusive) behavior is simply a response to her, and therefore acceptable. It is true, that only through her actions can she make it stop – she must have the courage to leave the relationship and avoid further contact with the abuser.
Abusers, physical or emotional, are abusive because of their own self-hate and internal issues – not because of anything their partner did. No amount of work or attempting to please will stop an abuser from abusing. They have to be willing to recognize and actually work on their own issues before they can stop inflicting cruelty on the people who love them. In many cases, they don’t even love their partners, because they can’t even love themselves, and don’t feel that they deserve love, even though they crave it. Abusers may genuinely feel bad that they committed another act of abuse, not because they have any real compassion for the person they hurt, but because they get angry at themselves for “screwing up” again. This drives them further into self-loathing, and further into a cycle of abusive behavior.
It is common for men who are “called” on their abusive behavior to blame the woman, and claim SHE was the abuser. He may even point to his abusive childhood as proof that he is just an innocent victim. The truth of the matter is that abusers generally DO have a history of abuse stemming from their childhood, with emotionally abusive and/or physically abusive parents. However, it is important to note that though women can become abusers, MOST OFTEN (because of the way we are socialized and the power setups in society), if there has been no *successful* theraputic intervention, MEN from abusive families become “ABUSERS”, and WOMEN who grew up in abusive families become “Abuse VICTIMS”.
Like the alcoholic, an abuser must admit his behavior to himself and others, and seek help. Unfortunately, not all therapy works, and not all people who go into therapy are ready or willing to do the personal work necessary to get better and eliminate their destructive patterns. As such, abusers are not safe people – even after they enter therapy. It can take years of therapy to unravel and undo the damage and self-hate that has driven someone to abuse. During that time, the abuser may actually get worse before his behavior improves, if it changes at all.