by Haily Friedman

Emotional roller coaster of abuse

The scars may run deeper than they are perceived

Emotional roller coaster
The scars of emotional abuse may run deeper

Emotional abuse is damaging to the soul. It often leaves a vague feeling of pain, a sense of something wrong that is hard to identify. Since it is so difficult to define, the victims often doubt their own perceptions. The emotional abuse of someone keeps the partner on an emotional roller coaster. They keep their partners off balance so he/she does not trust their own sense of reality. 

Through the eyes of the abuser, even the victim's own opinions are seen as opposition. Thousands of battered people have said that the hurt of verbal abuse lasted longer than the bruises of physical abuse. Verbal abuse is an act of violence that creates such a deep emotional pain and mental anguish that it can be immobilising.

If you find yourself in a situation like that, or know of someone in a similar situation, there is help. If you cannot find the support you need through friends and family, there are various support groups and professional organisations, such as POWA, FAMSA and Lifeline, who can steer you on the right path. Like other forms of violence in relationships, emotional abuse is based on power and control.

Examples of emotional abuse
* Isolation
* Limiting involvement with others
* Control of finances
* Playing mind games

The man will strongly discourage contact with friends and family. He will insist upon a move to an area far from these people, possibly rural or remote if they are city dwellers.

Limiting involvement with others
He will deny the woman access to a car, not allowing her to go to school or work. If she is employed, he will harass her on the telephone or turn up at her workplace and cause trouble so that she loses her job.

Control of finances
He will take her money, give her an allowance or make her ask for money. She will have to account for all her expenditures and will have no knowledge of the family finances.

Putting her down
The man will call her names, ridicule her, imitate her, tell her she is 'stupid', yell at her, downplay her accomplishments, degrade her dignity and self-worth, make her feel useless and inferior.

Playing mind games
He will deny the abuse ever happened, say 'she caused it', or make light of the abuse telling her 'she has no sense of humor'.

Using the children
He will threaten to take the children away from her.

Anger and jealousy
The man will get angry and jealous and accuse her of having affairs if she even speaks to another man.

Verbal and mental abuse attacks one’s spirit and sense of self. It is so controlling that some women who have left a verbally and sometimes physically abusive relationship twenty or more years ago still find themselves wondering, "Maybe there’s something I could have done...," or, "Maybe if I’d tried to explain just one more time my relationship would have gotten better." Very often the people who find themselves the target of controlling behaviours can’t comprehend that anyone would want to control them so they try to be nice. This doesn’t work.

You do NOT deserve to be treated this way. Take back your power

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Issue 16


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