Emotional abuse is a consistent pattern of behavior which results in the eventual demolition of another person's identity and healthy psychological, emotional and physical well-being. Emotional abuse includes a variety of controlling tactics, together with manipulative techniques and strategies.
Emotional abuse underlies all other "forms" of abuse. Labeling different so-called "kinds" of abuse and violence is arbitrary and ineffective. Emotional violation is inherent in every act of incest, rape and physical assault.
Emotional abuse is as least as damaging as any "other form" of abuse. But since there's no physical trail, survivors find themselves feeling totally frustrated and isolated. The unspoken social dismissal of emotional abuse combined with the scarring pain of the abuse itself are two factors that make emotional violence so traumatizing.
Victims of emotional abuse know they're in pain. But they usually can't put their finger on why. They're in a relationship and their partner is sending them one message half the time - the promise of love and affection - and another message the other half - a demeanor of cold disinterest, maybe peppered with manipulative half-truths. When the victim tries to connect with his promise of love, she crashes into a glass wall. She feels battered, bruised, and broken but can't find the cause.
She looks around and her partner is sitting blamelessly on the couch. He innocently lowers the newspaper. "What?" he wants to know. Unspoken is the sarcastic question, "What's your problem?"
He hasn't hit her. He hasn't pushed her down the stairs. He hasn't tried to pin her against the house with his car. But she feels like she's been run over by a truck and usually can't figure out why.
The above scenario describes an emotionally abusive man and a frustrated, victimized woman. We want to be clear that abuse, particularly emotional abuse, is not a gender specific issue. Emotional abuse is a psychological technique of control and manipulation. A person of either gender may be the perpetrator; a person of either gender may be the target. In fact, while victims of emotional abuse in general get little validation by society, when the target is a man, he may find he gets no validation of his problem, at all. The position of HEAL is that no one, in any circumstance, should have to endure control, coercion, manipulation or abuse of any kind.
The techniques of emotional abuse are defined by deception. When you're struck by a 2X4, you know what hit you. When the blow is delivered by a lie, and worse yet, a lie disguised in the trappings of love, you're left thinking you're the problem.
On upcoming pages of emotionalheal.org we'll pull off the masks, the tactics and the strategies that manipulators, controllers and emotional abusers hide behind. top
DON'T BELIEVE IT!
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