Emotional and Verbal Abuse

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by TeaBisqit, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. TeaBisqit

    TeaBisqit Member

    Since I'm being abused, I thought I'd look up some sites on Emotional Abuse, and I came across this one that lists so much of what I've been going through. So many of us who are disabled with CFS/FM/Lyme/ME are usually victimized in this way.

    This was taken from a site called Emotional Abuse:

    What is Emotional Abuse?

    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.

    Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim's self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of "guidance," "teaching", or "advice," the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting that physical ones. In fact there is research to this effect. With emotional abuse, the insults, insinuations, criticism and accusations slowly eat away at the victim's self-esteem until she is incapable of judging the situation realistically. She has become so beaten down emotionally that she blames herself for the abuse. Her self-esteem is so low that she clings to the abuser.

    Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.

    Types of Emotional Abuse

    Abusive Expectations

    * The other person places unreasonable demands on you and wants you to put everything else aside to tend to their needs.
    * It could be a demand for constant attention, or a requirement that you spend all your free time with the person.
    * But no matter how much you give, it's never enough.
    * You are subjected to constant criticism, and you are constantly berated because you don't fulfill all this person's needs.


    * Aggressive forms of abuse include name-calling, accusing, blaming, threatening, and ordering. Aggressing behaviors are generally direct and obvious. The one-up position the abuser assumes by attempting to judge or invalidate the recipient undermines the equality and autonomy that are essential to healthy adult relationships. This parent-child pattern of communication (which is common to all forms of verbal abuse) is most obvious when the abuser takes an aggressive stance.

    * Aggressive abuse can also take a more indirect form and may even be disguised and "helping." Criticizing, advising, offering solutions, analyzing, proving, and questioning another person may be a sincere attempt to help. In some instances however, these behaviors may be an attempt to belittle, control, or demean rather than help. The underlying judgmental "I know best" tone the abuser takes in these situations is inappropriate and creates unequal footing in peer relationships. This and other types of emotional abuse can lead to what is known as learned helplessness.

    Constant Chaos

    * The other person may deliberately start arguments and be in constant conflict with others.

    * The person may be "addicted to drama" since it creates excitement.


    * Denying a person's emotional needs, especially when they feel that need the most, and done with the intent of hurting, punishing or humiliating (Examples)

    * The other person may deny that certain events occurred or that certain things were said. confronts the abuser about an incident of name calling, the abuser may insist, "I never said that," "I don't know what you're talking about," etc. You know differently.

    * The other person may deny your perceptions, memory and very sanity.

    * Withholding is another form of denying. Withholding includes refusing to listen, refusing to communicate, and emotionally withdrawing as punishment. This is sometimes called the "silent treatment."

    * When the abuser disallows and overrules any viewpoints, perceptions or feelings which differ from their own.

    * Denying can be particularly damaging. In addition to lowering self-esteem and creating conflict, the invalidation of reality, feelings, and experiences can eventually lead you to question and mistrust your own perceptions and emotional experience.

    * Denying and other forms of emotional abuse can cause you to lose confidence in your most valuable survival tool: your own mind.


    * Someone wants to control your every action. They have to have their own way, and will resort to threats to get it.
    * When you allow someone else to dominate you, you can lose respect for yourself.

    Emotional Blackmail

    * The other person plays on your fear, guilt, compassion, values, or other "hot buttons" to get what they want.
    * This could include threats to end the relationship, totally reject or abandon you, giving you the the "cold shoulder," or using other fear tactics to control you.


    * The abuser seeks to distort or undermine the recipient's perceptions of their world. Invalidating occurs when the abuser refuses or fails to acknowledge reality. For example, if the recipient tells the person they felt hurt by something the abuser did or said, the abuser might say "You are too sensitive. That shouldn't hurt you." Here is a much more complete description of invalidation


    * Minimizing is a less extreme form of denial. When minimizing, the abuser may not deny that a particular event occurred, but they question the recipient's emotional experience or reaction to an event. Statements such as "You're too sensitive," "You're exaggerating," or "You're blowing this out of proportion" all suggest that the recipient's emotions and perceptions are faulty and not be trusted.

    * Trivializing, which occurs when the abuser suggests that what you have done or communicated is inconsequential or unimportant, is a more subtle form of minimizing.

    Unpredictable Responses

    * Drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts. Whenever someone in your life reacts very differently at different times to the same behavior from you, tells you one thing one day and the opposite the next, or likes something you do one day and hates it the next, you are being abused with unpredictable responses.

    * This behavior is damaging because it puts you always on edge. You're always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and you can never know what's expected of you. You must remain hypervigilant, waiting for the other person's next outburst or change of mood.

    * An alcoholic or drug abuser is likely to act this way. Living with someone like this is tremendously demanding and anxiety provoking, causing the abused person to feel constantly frightened, unsettled and off balance.

    Verbal Assaults


    Berating, belittling, criticizing, name calling, screaming, threatening

    Excessive blaming, and using sarcasm and humiliation.

    Blowing your flaws out of proportion and making fun of you in front of others. Over time, this type of abuse erodes your sense of self confidence and self-worth.

    Understanding Abusive Relationships

    No one intends to be in an abusive relationship, but individuals who were verbally abused by a parent or other significant person often find themselves in similar situations as an adult. If a parent tended to define your experiences and emotions, and judge your behaviors, you may not have learned how to set your own standards, develop your own viewpoints and validate your own feeling and perceptions. Consequently, the controlling and defining stance taken by an emotional abuser may feel familiar or even conformable to you, although it is destructive.

    Recipients of abuse often struggle with feelings of powerlessness, hurt, fear, and anger. Ironically abusers tend to struggle with these same feelings. Abuser are also likely to have been raised in emotionally abusive environments and they learn to be abusive as a way to cope with their own feelings of powerlessness, hurt , fear, and anger. Consequently, abusers may be attracted to people who see themselves as helpless or who have not learned to value their own feelings, perceptions, or viewpoints. This allows the abuser to feel more secure and in control, and avoid dealing with their own feelings, and self-perceptions.

    Emotional abuse victims can become so convinced that they are worthless that they believe that no one else could want them. They stay in abusive situations because they believe they have nowhere else to go. Their ultimate fear is being all alone.

    Understanding the pattern of your relationships, specially those with family members and other significant people, is a fist step toward change. A lack of clarity about who you are in relationship to significant others may manifest itself in different ways. For example, you may act as an "abuser" in some instances and as a "recipient" in others. You may find that you tend to be abused in your romantic relationships, allowing your partners to define and control you. In friendships, however, you may play the role of abuser by withholding, manipulating, trying to "help" others, etc. Knowing yourself and understanding your past can prevent abuse from being recreated in your life.

  2. yellowrose1952

    yellowrose1952 New Member

    Im sorry to hear your in anykind of abuse. Been there, done that, and everything your article says is so true.
    I do believe that abuse does help along with the pain of fibromyalgia, but also NOT knowing how to deal with being alone after so many years, has caused me significant pain not only physically but of the heart.
    I find myself steal needing to hear from my x no matter what the circumstances were, but for now.. as much as he knows I care.. it looks like the silent treatment episode according to this article. I've been fighting this battle of learning to live alone for 6 years now.. gained so much weight from depression..cried so many tears.. that sometimes I wish I'd of just stuck out the emotional and verbal abuse. I know its hard to understand. But.. All of this fibro mess is.
    Please take care of yourself and know your self worth. Hopefully it comes easier for some than others.
  3. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    I'm so glad you're reading this. There's a wealth of info on the web about it and forums for it too. I've been reading all about abuse the past few years because my in-laws are abusive to me. Yes, we with CFS/FMS often have to deal with abuse. Just having a disease like this sets us up as targets for it.

    I think you'll start feeling more empowered in dealing with your relatives as read more about this. Knowledge is power. I find several things interesting about this topic. One is that all the books I've read on it agree with each other about what it is, what it looks like, how to cope with it, etc...

    Another surprising thing I learned is that Verbal and Emotional Abuse are much harder on the target than Physical Abuse. Everyone that writes about abuse and/or experiences it seems to agree with this.

    EA and VA (emotional and verbal abuse) can cause many of the sx we have with CFS/FMS. No, I'm NOT saying they cause our dds. Just that healthy people can end up with many of our sx if they're exposed to EA and VA for too long and it can't be good for our health either.

    We're supposed to stay away from toxic people with our dds and that's the advice the authors of the Abuse books give to everyone as well. This knowledge can help us make decisions about who we keep in touch with and who we let go.

    YellowRose, You posted when I did so i didn't see yours til i hit Post Message. I'm so sorry for what you've gone through too. You are better off without him. I'm sure of it. I know it must be very painful.

    Super big Fibro Hugs,

    <br>[<i>This Message was Edited on 08/21/2007</i>]
  4. thecatswhiskers

    thecatswhiskers New Member

    Just wanted to say, are you better now from your verbally abusive situation? I've just got out of a verbally abusive relationship 3months ago and am now coping with the fallout it's had on my health both physically and emotionally.

    We were only together for 6 months but it was a very intense time (he did all of the above) and he lived here with me for 4months (I had to throw him out). Seemed the loveliest, most caring person in the world at the beginning and he put me on such a pedestall (that did make me uncomfortable)...... He completely turned round. They always mix it in with the nice version of them too though don't they which is extremely confusing.

    I feel so depressed at the moment, but don't want him back, I just feel very hurt by the situation as he knew I was ill and had promised to do everything to support me with that. I ended up looking after him and trying to cope with all the verbal abuse, lies and manipulation.

    I just wanted some reassurance that this is a situation I will recover and feel better from.

    Kindest regards.
    <br><br>[<i>This Message was Edited on 09/21/2010</i>]
  5. thecatswhiskers

    thecatswhiskers New Member

    Thanks for your kind words and story, then mean alot. I'm strong in the fact I don't want him back as I know he's no good for me ..... Just dealing with the fallout now I think on my physical and emotional health and trying to process my feelings and hurt over everything that happened and all the broken hope and promises. Hard to fathom how some people can be so cruel and heartless really!!!&lt;BR&gt;
    I'm glad to hear your daughter and her children are moving on and she's regained herself after all that trauma.... A big hug for them from the UK via me.
  6. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    I am so glad that you made the decision to get out of that situation. I generally don't like to give pat reassurances that things will get better, because they can seem trite &amp; insincere; however, in this case, you asked for reassurance, and having been there, I can honestly say that things can get better.&lt;BR&gt;
    I was in a marriage that was physically, verbally, emotionally, financially, etc abusive. We tried to get counseling, but unfortunatley did not have a good experience with that particular counselor (I have had very good experiences with other individual counselors that helped me deal with all that I went through). Anyway, we were together three yrs and I truly believe that if we had stayed together any longer I would be dead. (it's 50 -50 as to whether he would have wound up killing me or I would have committed suicide to escape)&lt;BR&gt;
    Still, as bad as that situation was, I can honestly say that I am completely over it. Like I said I went through a lot of individual counseling to be able to deal with all that had happened, and it has now been 14 yrs since we separated (&amp; eventually divorced).....but things did start to get better fairly soon after I got out. &lt;BR&gt;
    When I think about it now, I am still sad that things turned out the way that they did, but I do not feel that what happened has any hold over me at all anymore. It does not prevent me from being in a relationship (I am now too sick to be one, but I have been in relationships since that one &amp; prior to getting so sick, and they were good relationships.) I don't constantly think about what happened, nor do I generally feel unsafe, or anything like that. I don't have nightmares about it, etc. &lt;BR&gt;
    I think that you will find that as time passes, you will begin to reclaim the person that you were and to realize that you are strong (it takes strength to get out), and better off without him in your life. If you need to talk to someone, it might be helpful to see a counselor, too, but whether you choose to do that, or not, try to remember that you made the right choice and that it WILL get better.
  7. thecatswhiskers

    thecatswhiskers New Member

    Thank you so much for your words of reassurance, it was touching and re-affirming to read your story and I appreciate you sharing it with me very much. &lt;BR&gt;
    It has helped me to realise I will feel better, it just takes time, that the bad memories will fade and my confidence will grow. I do KNOW I'm strong .... Just don't FEEL very strong at the moment (if that makes sense!). &lt;BR&gt;
    It really helps to know others gave been through it and emerged out the other side pretty unscathed, just a little wiser. &lt;BR&gt;
    Kindest regards.
  8. thecatswhiskers

    thecatswhiskers New Member

    Yep, drugs started to enter the problem in my situation. As soon as that happened and I knew my ex taken them (he hadn't previously during the 6 months we were together, but had had a history with them 4 years previously) it was the final straw and I ended the relationship. It was bad enough anyway without that entering it too! I have no respect for drugs ...... And they scare me. &lt;BR&gt;
    He'd come into my life promising to take care of me, support me, look after me and help me with the day-to-day basics after I told him what I'd been through healthwise for 23 years since I was 17 ....... That ended up not happening after the 'honeymoon period' and I ended up having to do all that for him when I struggle day-to-day to do all that just for myself. &lt;BR&gt;
    As you say, some people can be cruel and heartless .... Just interested in their own needs and will do anything to fulfill them at the expense of others. &lt;BR&gt;
    Thanks for your help abs support.
  9. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    that makes perfect sense......I'm glad that I could help a little......I hope that my story lets you know that one day you will not only know that you are strong, but you will feel that way again, too
  10. thecatswhiskers

    thecatswhiskers New Member