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Could you be in an emotionally abusive relationship?

This is an abridged version of an article on Thought Catalog, written by Shahida Arabi and I thought it was a great article.  Please click on the link to the full article in order to give the site the traffic it deserves: 50 Questions You Must Ask Yourself If You Think You’re In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship.

Please remember: When we want to be in love, we sometimes see the person through rose-colored glasses, and all the red flags just look like flags.

What Is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse is a set of behaviors in which a person manipulates, coerces, controls, belittles and terrorizes another person repeatedly. Chronic emotional abuse takes a toll on victims, causing them to struggle with depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and learned helplessness. In extreme cases, long-term emotional abuse can cause symptoms of PTSD or Complex PTSD.

When one person emotionally abuses another, it can include the following behaviors:

  • Calling the victim names.
  • Mocking, shaming or humiliating the victim.
  • Ignoring the victim and emotionally withdrawing from them.
  • Threatening the victim or coercing them into activities they don’t want to engage in.
  • Making cruel remarks towards the victim regarding their appearance, personality, lifestyle, career choices or friends.
  • Verbally assaulting and insulting the victim, sometimes under the guise of “joking.”
  • Emotionally invalidating the partner or pathologizing their emotions.
  • Subjecting them to overt and covert put-downs as well as rage attacks.
  • Using intimidation as a control tactic.
  • Controlling the victim’s finances.
  • Micromanaging the victim’s social life.
  • Isolating the victim from friends and family.
  • Stonewalling the victim during discussions.
  • Giving victims the silent treatment for no apparent reason.
  • Gaslighting the victim into believing that they are imagining things or are oversensitive when they call out the abuse.
  • Repeatedly treating the victim with contempt, scorn and disdain.

There are also many other underhanded and subtle ways in which a victim can be emotionally abused, such as triangulation (bringing in the presence of a third party to abuse by proxy), smear campaigns (spreading rumors or gossip to ruin the victim’s reputation), and hot and cold behavior (pushing the victim away and emotionally withdrawing, intermittently throwing in periods of affection). Emotionally abusive partners may also lie pathologically and lead double lives, causing their victims to invest in a false partnership that ultimately brings harm and devastation.

 

 

How To Tell If You’re Being Emotionally Abused

Here are fifty “loaded” questions you should ask yourself if you think you’re being emotionally abused in a relationship. These questions take into account the fact that you already suspect you’re being abused. Your answers to these questions can give you insight regarding the emotionally abusive behaviors you might be currently experiencing, can help you to identify the red flags of abuse and assess the level of toxicity in your relationship.

1. Does your partner enjoy humiliating you in public?

2. What is the worst way in which your partner has used your own insecurities against you?

3. Do you find that the way your partner treated you in the beginning of the relationship is unrecognizable from the way your partner treats you now?

4. How often does your partner make you feel sorry for them after mistreating you?

5. Are you persistently made to feel guilty for voicing your concerns in the relationship?

6. Does your partner shame you about qualities or traits you have that they once praised?

7. Does your partner shut down conversations about their behavior before they even have a chance to begin?

8. Is your partner nicer and more respectful to others in public than they are to you behind closed doors?

9. When your partner gives you the silent treatment, do they usually explain themselves or do they continue to ignore you and come back only to pretend like nothing ever happened?

10. Does your partner continuously claim that you’re too sensitive when you express your emotions?

11. Do you find yourself questioning your own reality on a daily basis?

12. Have you been made to doubt things that you know for a fact your partner has said or done?

13. Does your partner call you names when he or she doesn’t get their way?

14. Are you afraid to express your true feelings around your partner because of the way they’ve reacted to you in the past?

15. Do you feel like your accomplishments are belittled, ignored or minimized by your partner?

16. How often are you made to feel insecure and invisible when your partner engages in conversations with people of the opposite sex?

17. Does your partner frequently compare you to others in a demeaning way in terms of appearance, personality, success or any other aspect of yourself they like to criticize?

18. Do you feel like you’re always walking on eggshells around this person, careful what to say or do just to avoid “offending” them?

19. Does the way your partner looks at or talks about other women or men (whoever they are attracted to) make you feel uncomfortable?

20. Has your partner reminded you of how lucky you are to have them, usually after an outburst?

21. Does your partner have frequent rage attacks when their ego is threatened?

22. If you call out your partner’s behavior, do they become excessively angry?

23. Are you allowed to ever point out your partner’s mistakes, even in a light-hearted manner?

24. How often does your partner make you feel ashamed about qualities and accomplishments you used to be proud of?

25. Do you find yourself apologizing for things you’re not at fault for in the relationship?

26. Has your partner ever made you feel as if you were in ‘competition’ with other people for their attention and love?

27. Do you find yourself apologizing for the mistakes that your partner made but refuses to own up to?

28. How many times has your partner accused you of having flaws that they themselves possess?

29. In what ways has your partner turned the things you used to enjoy doing into things you dread doing?

30. How does your body react when you’re around your partner?

31. Do you feel overly anxious when you think about how your partner treats you?

32. How many ways have you wasted time trying to please your partner, only to learn that they are never satisfied with anything you do?

33. In what ways do you feel you have to ask permission from your partner before you do something?

34. Have you ever gotten the sense that your partner is envious and hateful when you’re happy and successful?

35. Does your partner seem happy when you’re in pain?

36. Does your partner often comfort you, come to the rescue and ‘play the savior’ for the pain that they themselves caused?

37. Do you find that your partner gives you more negative feedback and criticism about yourself than they do encouragement?

38. Has your partner punished you for making choices independent of their opinion?

39. Have you ever felt limited in your ability to see your loved ones because of your partner?

40. How frequently does your partner call or text you to “check in” when you’re not with them?

41. Has your partner ever coerced you into sexual activities you weren’t comfortable with?

42. Has your partner ever made you feel guilty for not having sex with them?

43. Do you fear leaving your partner, out of the fear that they might harm you or harm themselves?

44. Does your partner discourage you from pursuing dreams or goals that would make you independent of them?

45. How often do you feel like you’re pleading for your partner’s affection or attention?

46. How many times has your partner insulted you and made you feel terrible, all while claiming “it was just a joke”?

47. Have you been told you’re too sensitive when you start setting boundaries with your partner?

48. When your partner is acting kind, does it seem out of place with the way they usually act?

49. Does your partner treat you tenderly and affectionately one second, only to pull back and coldly withdraw?

50. When your partner tells you they love you, do you have a hard time believing them because the way they act is anything but loving?

The Impact of Emotional Abuse on the Survivor

When emotional abuse takes place in childhood, it wreaks havoc on the mental architecture of the brain, affecting areas such as the amygdala, the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. These areas of the brain help with emotional regulation, learning, memory, focus, cognition and planning.

Many survivors of emotional abuse, whether they suffered it in childhood, adulthood or both, struggle with a sense of powerlessness as they are repeatedly put down. As a result of these adverse experiences, they may turn to self-destructive behavior, become trauma-bonded to their abusers and find it difficult to leave the toxic relationship.

 

 

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To my Sons, Aiden and Seth

Seth and Aiden, I hope one day you stumble upon this and read it, and realize that what you are going through is not your fault. You were always both good kids, and you are both growing into strong and intelligent young men with good hearts, and I am very proud of you.  Your sister Haley misses you both very much, and she hopes very much that she can be reunited with you one day.

As for me, I am broken. I can’t fight anymore. You have both been on my mind and in my heart every single day.  While I cherish my memories of you, missing you has been almost unbearable.  My grief and longing for my sons has consumed me, every single day.  I can’t go on like this anymore. I have to try to put it away and focus on other things. I have to learn how to accept that you are gone, and get back to living my life.  My door and my heart will always be open to both of you. Please believe that I don’t blame you for any of this, and I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to go through.  I am also sorry for the mistakes I have made along the way, and I hope you can find peace and healing from the hurts I have caused by failing you.

Remember to be kind and forgiving to each other.  The turmoil, strife, and distance between you two is not because of who you are, but because you have been played against each other. Don’t let the fact that you are treated differently drive a wedge between you. You are brothers, and you are both my sons, no matter what.  I love you both – yesterday, today, and always.

With love from your father,

Walter Singleton

PS:  Should you ever decide to see me, I will be in Orlando, like always, and not hard to find.  You can look me up on the Orange County Clerk website, https://myeclerk.myorangeclerk.com/Cases/Search , and find the name of my lawyer, who can put you in contact with me.  Also, if you ever find yourselves in trouble, please seek me out.  My door will always be open to you, and I will do whatever I can to help you.

https://goo.gl/photos/r3FXaGpdyCs1N5Mg6

PPS:

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Our family gathered at Scott’s house in Hampton, NH

This is the family that is waiting to be back in your life again. They are:  (Top row)  Me, Uncle Willey, cousin Ernestine, your Uncle Scott, Julie, cousin Barbara, Haley, Grandpa John (Bottom row) Grandma Jane, cousin Thomas, Panda, your Aunt Amanda, and Aunt Trice.

 

#whyIstayed

Reading this seemed like an echo of my own life and thoughts. Sometimes I even ask myself, “WHY did you wait nearly 20 YEARS before finally getting out of your abusive marriage??”. This blog posts puts my answers into words that I haven’t been able to find for myself.

https://divorcinganarcissistblog.com/2016/11/22/whyistayed/

Divorcing a Narcissist Blog

I came across someone on Twitter who is doing some research on narcissistic abuse and struggling with understanding why victims of narcissistic abuse stay in the abusive relationships. I reached out and recommended that they read the #whyIstayed hashtag where victims in all types of abusive relationships summarize the reasons why they stayed… and I also recommended that they read this blog. The researcher reached out to me still having a lot of confusion on the topic and asked me outright… why did it take 8 years for you to leave?!?

It’s actually a little surprising to me how complex this question is to answer, and I think that reflects the complexity within an abusive relationship. There are so many layers to why I stayed, and that is because there are so many layers to the manipulation and abuse that I withstood at the hands of The Narcissist.

So, in an…

View original post 1,122 more words

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is an uncomfortable reality, a social taboo. As such, it is the least talked about yet most common form of abuse. It is insidious and subjective in nature….Read more here: Emotional Abuse

Here is a list of some of the behaviors that constitute emotional abuse of children.  I hope my boys take a good hard look at this list, and maybe pinpoint some of the treatment that they have experienced, or that they’ve seen their sister subjected to:

– harsh criticism, belittling, labeling
– name-calling
– yelling, screaming or swearing at children
– humiliation or demeaning jokes
– shunning the child from the family (or parts of the family)
– locking kids out of the home to discipline or punish
– denying medical or health care, and safe, clean environments
– unpredictable, unreasonable or extreme reactions
– hostility among family members
– inconsistent or unreasonable demands placed on a child
– ridiculing or humiliating a child in front of others
– threatening to reveal personal or embarrassing information
– leaving a child alone or unattended for long periods of time
– not permitting a child to interact with other children or maintain friendships
– keeping a child from appropriate social and emotional stimulation
– requiring a child stay indoors/in their room or away from peers
– keeping a child from playing with friends and activities s/he enjoys
– not permitting a child to participate in social activities, parties or group/family events
– excessive or extreme punishment for typical childhood behaviors
– encouraging a child to reject friends or social contact/invitations
– encouraging or rewarding unethical or illegal behavior (stealing, cheating, lying, bullying)
– allowing or encouraging children to engage in behavior that is harmful to them or others.
– having expectations beyond the developmental stage of the child
– using blame, shame, judgment or guilt to condemn child for behavior of others
– unreasonable expectations to perform chores or household duties

Characteristics of Emotionally Abusive Mothers

http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Emotional-Abuse-from-Your-Parents-(for-Adolescents)

9/20/16 – Being Stuck

Well, today I feel stuck. Just absolutely stuck. The pain of missing my children is always there to some degree, but today more than anything I feel completely FRUSTRATED. Helpless. I know where my sons are. I’ve known the address for almost a year. More than anything I want to just jump in my truck and go there. To finally see them, and hug them, and tell them I love them. But knowing their location is not the problem. Getting there is not the problem. There are actually two problems, and they are huge.

The first problem is the law. Restraining orders are handed out like candy, but they are enforced stronger than any law out there. The one issued on me was based on a pack of lies, but getting it removed seems impossible. Everything I’ve done in my life proves I’m not a violent person, but none of that matters. I’ve served my country in the military as a Medic, worked in a prison with ZERO uses of force for nearly ten years, subjected myself to psychological evaluations and taken several classes on parenting. But until the judge says it can come off, I cannot see, speak to, or write to my children, or I will go to jail.

The second problem is their own belief. The last time I spent any time with them, our relationship was great. They wanted to spend time with me. Aiden was sick and still insisted on coming with me. But after the retraining order, their mother started lying to them. Telling them I was dangerous, that I wanted to hurt them, that I’m a bad person, and they’re all better off without me. After years of hearing that, and only that, they believe her. What choice do they have? She’s their mother, and their only source of shelter, food, clothing, and information. When you hold that kind of power over someone, you can make them believe whatever you want, even the complete opposite of the truth.

I wish their mother loved them enough to share them with me. I know that they need their father in their lives, just as I need them in my life. I wish she could see that. I know she hates me, and I can live with that. But to manipulate my children into hating me is not just cruel to me. It’s cruel to them. To separate children from a loving parent is child abuse, pure and simple. And it’s also cruel to their sister, who misses them as much as I do. Aiden and Seth, if you ever get a chance to read this, please know that you mean everything to me, and I will NEVER stop fighting for you.

Aiden-Seth-Haley-Singleton