Along with physical violence, studies show emotional abuse by far happens way more frequently that physical abuse.
An emotionally abusive partner will railroad discussions, and will usually have rules or standards for you, that they feel no need to follow or adhere to.
Take a moment to consider these questions. Your partner might have behaved as though these things were okay, even though it’s obvious to you and others that they aren’t okay…:
The Unseen Scars of Abuse
October is domestic violence awareness month, and we all imagine and see pictures in our minds of women beaten, bruised and in fear. But Domestic violence has no gender. The abuser or victim can be either male or female. Domestic abuse also does not always have an exterior appearance. Abuse goes far beyond the physical. It can be emotional and through control and environment. How you may ask? Well let me explain.
When the honeymoon phase of a relationship has peaked, and the world one may live in starts to change, as we all change over time, one can see expectations change. We see one spouse who will have their friends, their job and their world, and none of their actions should be questioned. On the other hand there sits a spouse who is not privilege to have friends without drawing a question as to why they have that friend. One spouse may come and go as they please, while their counterpart is put on a virtual timer so to speak, and must give an accounting of every moment of their time away from the controlling spouse. If any action does not fit into the “picture” painted by the controlling spouse, doubt flares and now the victim of this control is verbally abused or emotionally abused by the actions of the controller.
When one spouse has actions or conduct that isn’t to be questioned, yet the other is drilled like the French Inquisition of every action and behavior, then it becomes a situation of emotional control. This is abusive behavior and can be as harmful to an individual as physical abuse. Control abuses the soul, the will and the identity of the individual. People grow and change over time and unconditional love, which is what a relationship is supposed to be, means we love one another no matter the changes over time. It is a matter of trust, a key to loving someone. If one spouse cannot trust the other, when there is no reason to lack trust, then there is no love.
We get so busy in our work and obligations we forget that we each have feelings. These feelings matter and how we treat each other is important. When we try to control or regulate who or what our spouses are we control them and that’s abusive. When we put ourselves before each other and do not allow each other to reach their full potential, we hamper their will and who they are, and that’s emotionally abusive.
Sometimes our jobs take us away or we are called away often, and while away, we demand a recap of everything our spouses do when we are away. Or we are leave them with a list of expectations, or they do the same to us. We are held accountable for every moment but they are not. If we do make those demands or expect that every time we make contact with them when we are away, that they be where we expect them to be, always ready always available to talk, we are adding control and are pushing them away. Our spouses have lives too, and we should realize although we are working hard to support their job choices we cannot control or own another person or we become and emotionally abusive individual. Or even worse, we are so set on controlling our spouses that we do not allow them the ability to pursue their careers because we cannot be there to regulate them and control their surroundings and we hide this under the guise of “protecting them”.
This is one of the biggest complaints by spouses, emotional control. They cannot pursue their dreams or goals because a soups is so emotionally controlling they feel as if they are set up for failure, before they have had a chance to succeed.
Yes it is hard to let go, but do we own people? Are we not individuals instead of property? We have to understand that they are individuals too and they love and support us in our career choices, we should share the same sentiment. what right do we have to control them?
When I did a survey among 100 spouses, 75% of the spouses felt very emotionally abused by a controlling spouse. Several were in tears, loved their spouses, but wished they had a way out from the emotional abuse. I asked had any of them spoken to their spouses about it, and the majority had, but found their spouses had become very irritated and accusatory as to what their spouse had to hide, when asking for a basic right as a human, to be an individual.
Think about the following:
Do you feel that you can’t discuss with your partner what is bothering you, without them jumping to conclusions?
Does your partner frequently criticize you, accuses you of other motives behind your actions, or undermine your self-esteem?
Is it okay for them to disrupt what your doing, and you must drop everything to give them undivided attention, because your work is insignificant to them, yet you must always give them 200% of your attention?
Does your partner ridicule you for expressing yourself through their actions and blame you for their perceptions of negativity about you?
Does your partner isolate you from friends, family or groups through negativity when you choose to do something they do not want to partake of?
Does your partner limit your access to work, money or material resources because they cannot be there to “protect” or Participate?
Has your partner an addiction to something that wastes money but controls your spending?
Does your relationship swing back and forth between a lot of emotional distance and being very close?
Have you ever felt obligated to have sex, just to avoid an argument about it?
Do you sometimes feel trapped in the relationship?
Has your partner ever hung out with friends and when you did the same questioned you about every moment spent and insinuated your lying through actions?
Are you afraid of your partner, not because he is abusive, but because he is so controlling you comply to keep the peace?
If you feel you can answer YES to at least 5 of these questions, wake up, you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, with someone controlling and abusive.
So in closing, as we think of October being domestic violence month, remember it doesn’t take a fist to bruise the soul, a smack to wound individuality, nor a shove to steal ones worth.
©Copyright protected 2013: JD, NWU Local 1981
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