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Coping with Verbal and Emotional Abuse

verbal and emotional abuse in family

When there is anger and abuse in any sort of relationship, the key issue is actually blame. Here, one partner blames the other one for feeling bad. Sometimes, the abuser recognizes that they are being abusive, but they will still say that it is because the other party pushes the wrong buttons or does something wrong. More often than not, partners who are abusive are also quite anxious. They often, even as children, had a sense of impending doom.

They try to control their surroundings to stop this doom from occurring, but they fail because they are anxious, in reality, about themselves rather than about external factors. Also it often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because their behavior drives others away.

Silent Abusers
A verbal or emotional abusive relationship doesn’t need to be about constant criticism and shouting. In fact, a partner who completely disengages is just as abusive. They can also stonewall their partners, meaning they won’t consider any perspective but their own.

Interestingly, verbal and emotional abuse happens to both men and women. However, stonewalling is something that, in general, only men do. On a biological level, men can easily switch off their emotions. This is because their corpus callosum, connecting the two halves of the brain, is smaller in men. This, in turn, allows them to switch off emotions. Besides this, men are socially conditioned to be more aloof.

How Abuse Makes You Feel
In relationships with verbal and emotional abuse, the abused partner often feels as if they have no right to existence, nor are they allowed an opinion. They often feel highly unattractive and, if children are involved, they usually feel as if they are a single parent.

All forms of abuse mean that the abusive partner has lost compassion for the other partner. For the other, this feels like a form of betrayal, as the compassion and care was usually there when the relationship first started. Another major problem with emotional and verbal abuse is that the abused partner starts to feel like they are walking on eggshells. They are always watching out to not set the other one off and women in particular often describe a feeling of losing themselves.

Recovery and Repair
Saving a relationship that is verbally and emotionally abusive can be incredibly difficult. The focus should be on healing the inside of both the abuser and the abused. This slightly individualist approach allows both parties to start to understand that they are valuable people, regardless of what anybody else says or does.
Remember that a large proportion of our communication is non-verbal. We use intonation, body language, expressions and so on to communicate. The way we speak to our partners is known as “attunement” and this is what needs to be worked on if a relationship is emotionally abusive.

You must be realistic and understand that emotional abuse is usually far more harmful than physical abuse. It is certainly true that physical abuse is more physically painful and potentially dangerous, but it generally shows itself as a cycle. The partner is violent and then enters an apologetic period, after which it happens again. These apologetic periods are usually sufficient to restore some emotional stability in the abused party. With emotional abuse, however, it tends to be a daily occurrence, grinding both partners down. There is also the issue that with emotional abuse, people start to believe what the abuser says about them, destroying their self-confidence.

Where Does Verbal Abuse Happen?
It must be noted that the signs of emotional abuse do not just happen in partnerships. Indeed, emotional abuse in marriage is very common, but emotional abuse at work also happens on a regular basis. You must be able to recognize the verbal abuse signs, such as being put down all the time and noticing a lot of anxiety and dominance in the abusers. Hopefully, you will be able to stop the cycle of abuse before it becomes to ingrained and the relationship is effectively ruined.

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