My favorite site about emotional abuse, hands-down, is this one at EQI.org. The topics on that site cover everything from verbal abuse to invalidation to passive-aggressive behavior to emotionally abusive parents. It's where I first learned that there was, indeed, a name for what I'd been put through.
The definition that this website provides for emotional abuse reads as follows: Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, coercion, manipulation, etc. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as repeated disapproval or even the refusal to ever be pleased.
The site goes on, but perhaps the most important part of its definition of emotional abuse is this: Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting than physical ones. I know that my own therapist recently told me that he believes my emotional abuse history hurt me far worse than any physical or sexual abuse I subsequently endured (if only because the emotional abuse set me up for those situations). But emotional abuse is ridiculed so much by the general public and by our abusers--the ones employing it for self-gain--so much that it's often hard to wrap my head around how much it impacted me as a human being.
Emotional abuse is a deep, intense subject that affects so many people. I hope that approaching the topic as a Thought-Stirring Post might help us to process some of our own deep scars and figure out how to recover in a way that works for us.
This week's questions:
- How has emotional abuse affected you?
- What particular forms of emotional abuse were most difficult for you to recognize as abuse?
- How does the way you view/treat/talk to yourself compare to the way your emotional abusers view(ed)/treat(ed)/talk(ed) to you?
- What further questions do you have or what further areas of emotional abuse would you like help with?