What is emotional abuse? Can anyone define this? - Page 2 - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
Go Back   SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information >
Register Blogs FAQ Members List Calendar Arcade Mark Forums Read




Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 06-17-2019, 04:12 PM   #21 (permalink)
Member
 
pdm22's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 206
***ooops correction, the author is Rachael Biggs
pdm22 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2019, 05:50 PM   #22 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 181
You described it and I'm also easily triggered still. I go away from the boards because reading about abuse that people are dealing with just sets me off

Quote:
Originally Posted by OpheliaKatz View Post
So I'm not going to read every post because I don't want to be triggered, but all the symptoms below were things I experienced at some point and then I got an illness I could not and still cannot get rid of.

Anxiety,
Depression,
Post-traumatic stress disorder,
Chronic pain,
Reduced sexual desire,
Gastrointestinal problems,
Increased blood pressure,
And other stress-related health issues.

"And other stress-related health issues" is what I struggle with these days. The thing that bothered me the most though, was not that I had survived the emotional abuse, it's that I now have an overall reduced capacity for emotionally abusive people in other contexts where I can't escape them (like at work). I find it harder to cope with. I have really weird symptoms (some of which are attributable to a stress-related disease and some that are... idiopathic, such as: joint swelling, nerve pain, muscle weakness, fatigue, headaches, blurred vision... and generally feeling as if I am physically 80 years old.) It's as if I had "used up all my resilience". I am happier now, I feel safer now... but I am... tired.

What jolts me awake at night is not all the memories of him gas-lighting me, it is my memories of being in couple's therapy with him and having him gas-light me through the therapist. I later came to understand that he was some sort of narcissist and she was his flying monkey. He manipulated the sessions so it seemed as if I were unreasonable for expecting him to try to find recovery in order to have a respectful relationship not entirely ruled by his addiction. I was told I was too demanding (for example, asking to not be punched in the chest was too demanding because the person who punched you is someone who is "acting that way because they are in mental distress"), and then later I was accused of being "a woman who loved too much" -- as if the problem was mine alone.

I wish that when I asked the therapist, "do you see any red flags in this relationship?" she had not said, "no." She said NO. No red flags.

Since when was addiction NOT a red flag?

Emotional abuse is only one end of the spectrum of abuse. Neither end is worse than the other, although physical abuse can lead to the victim's murder. Emotional abuse can lead to the victim's suicide. Fortunately, I am (so far) a survivor.

There are still shadows on my brain from the way it's been mishandled... but the good thing is that I came away alive, I had the resources to come away from that experience alive.

If not for SR, I would never have started to understand that I needed stronger boundaries. I would still feel terrible for walking away. Not that I don't feel terrible now... but a different type of terrible: I feel terrible that I was in the relationship at all. But it's pointless to regret the past when you can't go back to fix it.

If it takes forgetting ten years of my life in order to move on with the rest of it, I will try to forget, because nightmares are draining. I need my energy for living.

The story where the woman got plates of food for the children, could not find them because her partner had moved them, then was berated for not knowing where her children were... is similar to one of the things that happened to me. I got a plate of food for my ex, could not find him because he had left me by myself, and when I did find him, I was berated for embarrassing him by showing up with a plate of food in front of his friends because this made him look like a "bad husband". I was told that I ruined his day by showing up with a plate of food. I was made to walk backwards out of a room, while he was lecturing me, I was made to sit on the dirt outside while he stood over me, lecturing me about embarrassing him by showing up with food. Later that day, one of his "friends" took me aside and apologized for not knowing I was my ex's wife, because my ex (then husband) had not told them I was his wife... and the last time they saw him, he was with another woman. And to this, our couples therapist said, "if I were withdrawing from a drug and in pain because of withdrawal symptoms, I would have done that too. You are expecting too much."

Never. Ever. Think. You. Deserve. So. Little. That. You. Expect. Nothing.

You know the old adage: if you want to know what your husband/wife will become, look at their father/mother? Well... I didn't think this was true. But I have found it to be true for me. My ex's father was an abusive alcoholic. He was emotionally and physically abusive and he played the victim very convincingly.

Alain de Botton has been interesting to me lately: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCS6t6NUAGQ

It's called "Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person." I wish I had seen this when I was younger.

There are also a few sections in Lundy Bancroft's "Why Does He Do That" that address emotional abuse. That book was a huge eye-opener for me. I basically nodded my head through each chapter and thought, "yes, he did that."
Leelee168 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Leelee168 For This Useful Post:
OpheliaKatz (06-18-2019)
Old 06-17-2019, 06:38 PM   #23 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 24
OMG I HEAR THIS ALL THE TIME



[QUOTE=dawnrising;7205306]

So funny my ExAH always said I was "raising the bar" to a level he couldn't be successful. My bar was - sober, emotionally present, honest - thats it and honestly I expected the sober to be a work in progress I would have taken emotionally present and honest.
pizza67 is offline   Reply With Quote
pizza67 found treatment at None (N/A)
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to pizza67 For This Useful Post:
OpheliaKatz (06-18-2019), SmallButMighty (06-18-2019)
Old 06-19-2019, 01:23 PM   #24 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,375
I think it's important to distinguish emotional abuse from being a jerk. I've known plenty of people who were jerks (no filters, no impulse control, limited ability to empathize, not reflective etc) but who weren't abusive, just ... very limited in their capability for healthy interpersonal interaction. (One of my brothers is such a person). I understand abuse as behavior that is sustained, that attacks the target's sense of integrity and self-worth, and that is maintained even when the abuser knows or ought reasonably to know that their behavior is harmful.

I'll never forget the highlight/lowlight of my experience with marriage counselling - when ex was talking to me in the session just like he normally talked to me, reminding me in a very reasonable way that I was insignificant, that being married to me made him want to drink and that he didn't really care what happened to the marriage because I was so defective (exhibit A: I was such a mess that I didn't even realize what a writeoff I was). To me this was same old same old, but the marriage counsellor started crying and managed to choke out "you should never, never speak to anyone like that!".

In that moment I realized, hey, maybe this really is bad. Maybe it's not just me. Presumably the marriage counsellor has seen just about everything so if she thinks this is unacceptable ...
Sasha1972 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Sasha1972 For This Useful Post:
AnvilheadII (06-19-2019), hearthealth (06-19-2019), LovePeaceSushi (06-21-2019), OpheliaKatz (06-20-2019), SmallButMighty (06-20-2019), trailmix (06-19-2019)
Old 06-20-2019, 06:36 AM   #25 (permalink)
"O you must wear your rue with difference".
 
OpheliaKatz's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 1,185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasha1972 View Post
I'll never forget the highlight/lowlight of my experience with marriage counselling - when ex was talking to me in the session just like he normally talked to me, reminding me in a very reasonable way that I was insignificant, that being married to me made him want to drink and that he didn't really care what happened to the marriage because I was so defective (exhibit A: I was such a mess that I didn't even realize what a writeoff I was).
Yeah that is what happened to me at home: I was defective, I caused him to drug... therefore it was my fault etc... . Before it was my fault, it was his parents' fault. Or the fault of society. Being married to me made him want to do drugs. I didn't do enough for him... . He would say insulting things to me... then say that ME being unhappy with him made him want to do drugs... etc... .

In front of our couple's counselor, he would become really quiet and whenever she asked, so what has been going on? And I would say, "well, I wish he would stop doing this or that and stop lying to me..." he would then grab his head and start moaning about how he felt like an invalid because of his depression and how I expected too much from him. Then he would say, he was feeling too upset to continue talking. Sometimes he would cover his eyes and make crying noises. Then I would be told by the counselor that my criticisms were having a bad effect on him. So I would leave the office thinking of how to have even less personal boundaries and how to be even more selfless. I was given advice on what foods to buy him... what to do to make him more comfortable... etc. I started to think that it was okay to simply never be happy as long as I was making someone else happy because then at least I would have a reason to live (since clearly I was incompetent in all other areas). It should be noted that I avoided "making him look bad" in the meetings because I was afraid of how he would react later. So instead of saying, "he frequently shakes me awake at 3:00am to pick fights and then shouts at me to keep me awake", I would say, "I don't get enough sleep because he's awake and I suppose I worry too much so once I'm awake, I can't go back to sleep".

If I did attempt 100% honest disclosure, as soon as we were far enough from the counselor's office that he wouldn't be heard, my exAH's demeanor would suddenly change and he would start hissing abuse at me -- really awful things, there was swearing. He would get really close to my face and start saying these things about how worthless I was. He could go from seeming upset to totally calm yet oddly enraged... with smiling eyes. It was a cold, controlled rage -- the kind that comes out of contempt. Even before I knew he was going to become physically abusive, I instinctively started hiding all the knives in the house. His general demeanor started to scare me. In retrospect, there were things at the beginning of the relationship that gave me pause, that I thought were creepy. But I would second-guess myself and say to myself, "that's ridiculous, all he's doing is just standing there with a slightly odd facial expression... it's not as if he has said or done anything reprehensible... he's just a bit... different." And because different = not boring, it kept me interested long enough to make the giant mistake of becoming "trapped".

I am now no longer "trapped", thank you SR.
OpheliaKatz is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to OpheliaKatz For This Useful Post:
hearthealth (06-20-2019), LovePeaceSushi (06-21-2019), SmallButMighty (06-20-2019)
Old 06-20-2019, 06:39 AM   #26 (permalink)
"O you must wear your rue with difference".
 
OpheliaKatz's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 1,185
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawnrising View Post
My bar was - sober, emotionally present, honest - thats it and honestly I expected the sober to be a work in progress I would have taken emotionally present and honest.[/left]
Yes, so familiar with that bar (no pun intended).
OpheliaKatz is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to OpheliaKatz For This Useful Post:
LovePeaceSushi (06-21-2019), SmallButMighty (06-20-2019)
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:26 PM.