Mental Abuse – The 7 Most Important Things To Know

by Annie Kaszina on August 23, 2005

1. Sticks and stones won’t break my bones” – and words won’t leave any measurable physical damage, but they will
cause progressive, long-term harm. Never underestimate the power of words: words are used to
brainwash. 

Being
told you are “stupid”, “ugly”, “lazy” or “worthless” is never acceptable. The first times you hear it, it will hurt,
naturally. In time you “may get used
to” hearing it from a partner. That’s
when you start to internalise and believe it. When that happens you are doing the other person’s work of putting you
down for them. This is why your
feelings of self-worth suffer increasingly over time.

The
good news is that just as words have been used to bring you down, you can learn
to harness the power of words to build you up and restore your confidence and
belief in yourself.

2. You are always told that it’s your
fault. 
Somehow, whatever happens, however it starts,
the ultimate blame is always yours. Notice that we are talking ultimate blame here. The blaming partner will always tell you
that their behaviour was caused by what you said or did. In fact, their argument runs along the lines
that you can’t possibly blame them for anything, because if you hadn’t said what you said, or done what you did
it would never have happened.

3. You’re more inclined to believe your partner
than you are to believe yourself. 
 Have
you ever reeled with a sense of hurt and injustice, or seethed with anger at
the way you’ve been treated? Have you
found yourself asking: “Is it reasonable to feel like this?” “Am I misinterpreting things?” “Have I got it wrong?” 

If
this is you, what it means is that you have become so brainwashed you’ve
stopped trusting in your own judgement. Your mind keeps throwing up the observations and questions because, deep
down, you know that what is happening is utterly wrong. But right now you can’t feel the strength of
your own convictions.

4. You need your partner to acknowledge your
feelings. 
Have you
ever felt desperate to make your partner hear what you are saying and apologise
for the hurtful things they’ve said? Have you ever felt that only they can heal the pain they’ve caused? 

Does your need for them to
validate your feelings keep you hooked into the relationship? 

When a partner constantly denies
or refuses to listen to your feelings that is, unquestionably, mental
abuse. 

5. Your partner
blows hot and cold. 
He can
be very loving but is often highly critical of youHe may tell you how much he loves you,
yet he is short on care or consideration towards youIn fact, some of the time, maybe even a
lot of the time, he treats you as if you were someone he truly dislikes. 

You do everything you can to
make him happy, but it’s never good enough. You’re more like the pet dog in the relationship than you are the equal
partner. Your constant efforts to get
his attention and please him meet with limited success. Sometimes he’ll be charmed, often he’s
dismissive. 

If you find yourself puzzling
about how your partner can treat you that way, it is because you are trying to
live in a love-based relationship, when in reality you are living in a
control-based relationship. The mental
abuser struggles with his own feelings of worthless and uses his relationship
to create a feeling of personal power, at his partner’s expense. 

6.You feel as if you are constantly walking on
egg-shells. 
There is
a real degree of fear in the relationship. You have come to dread his outbursts, the hurtful things that he will
find to say to you. (Maybe the same
anxiety and need to please spill over into your other relationships also.)

Fear is not part of a loving
relationship, but it is a vital part of a mentally abusive relationship. It enables the abuser to maintain control
over you. 

7. You can
heal. 
Mentally
abusive relationships cause enormous emotional damage to the loving partner who
tries, against all odds, to hold the relationship together and, ultimately,
can’t do it, because her partner is working against her. 

Whether you are currently in a mentally abusive
relationship, have left one recently, or years later are still struggling with
the anxieties and low self-worth and lack of confidence caused by mental abuse,
it is never too late to heal. 

But you do need to work with a person or a programme
specifically geared to mental abuse recovery. 

Women who have suffered mental abuse expect radical change
of themselves, and they expect it right away. This is why they often struggle and, not uncommonly, take up with
another abusive partner. 

Mental abuse recovery is a gradual process. Low self-worth and limiting beliefs about
what kind of future the abuse sufferer can ever hope for are the blocks that
can stop women from moving on. But they
are blocks that you can clear very effectively. 

Just as language was once used to harm you, you can now
learn how language can heal you. You
can overcome past mental abuse and keep yourself safe from it in the
future. You can also learn to feel
strong, believe in yourself and create the life and the relationships you truly
want. 

“The Woman You Want To Be” is a unique workbook designed
to accompany you on a year long journey into emotional health and happiness.  To find out more about  "The Woman You Want To Be" click here: www.joyfulcoaching.com

 

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