Are You Abused

I was abused as a child and as an adult.  I thought if I wasn't being hit or cursed at, it wasn't abuse.  There are many kinds of abuse and the worst is often mental. 

Am I Being Abused?  

CHECKLIST (provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

Look over the following questions. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner. Remember, when one person scares, hurts or continually puts down the other person, it's abuse.

Does your partner…
____ Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?
____ Put down your accomplishments or goals?
____ Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
____ Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?
____ Tell you that you are nothing without them?
____ Treat you roughly - grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
____ Call you several times a night or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
____ Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
____ Blame you for how they feel or act?
____ Pressure you sexually for things you aren't ready for?
____ Make you feel like there "is no way out" of the relationship?
____ Prevent you from doing things you want - like spending time with your friends or family?
____ Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to "teach you a lesson"?

Do you…
____ Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
____ Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner's behavior?
____ Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
____ Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
____ Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
____ Stay with you partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke-up?

If any of these are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without some help, the abuse will continue.

livinglove livinglove
1 Response Mar 9, 2009


How do you become the victim of emotional abuse? Why don’t you just get out? I’ve been asked “What did he do to you?”

There are no concrete answers to that question. No physical wounds to prove the damage. It’s so subtle & pervasive, as not to be described by a few instances. It’s so hidden, as not to be believed by others. The manipulation is so ingrained, as not to be fightable. It takes away choice. It uses your greatest fears to bind you. And most often, “it” is not even recognizable to the abuser because emotional abusers are damaged people. Damaged people who attract people with a strong (sometimes paralyzing) sense of empathy. And this is where it begins.

The signs are there early but you ignore them because he loves you. When he is obsessive, you feel special. When he isolates you, you feel comforted because you know he protects you. When he insults you, you blame yourself. When he belittles & humiliates you, you downplay it. When he invokes emotional punishments, you make excuses. You cover. When he gives emotional rewards, you feel guilty & confused. When he becomes enraged, you rationalize. And above all, you hide it.

Obsession, isolation, humiliation, manipulation, anger, fear, guilt & control become the colours of your life. They are the groundwork for the cycle of abuse. Periods of emotional rewards (the obsession & guilt); rising tension (the anger); passive aggression (the humiliation & manipulation); foresight (the fear & isolation). You know what is coming. So you worry. You placate. You avoid. (The control)

Emotional abuse is a complicated work of manipulation. It’s a chain of continual, subtle (often unspoken) threats designed to modify your behavior; to control. It’s emotional rewards & punishments that you begin to predict in time. But even when you come to realize you are being manipulated, and even when you can rationally discuss the abuse, you remain powerless because the targets are no longer just you. They are your kids.

And THAT is when you are totally without freedom of choice. The abuse itself then becomes his weapon. He uses what you fear. He knows you will hide it. It protects him from accountability. He gets to wear a mask. He gets to be the good guy. And worse, you WANT him to be seen as the good guy. Sometimes he even is that good guy. You want to be seen as strong. You want to believe that you ARE strong. You want to protect his image for your kids. So you help him hold the mask. That works right up until the moment he turns on them.

The art is in the intangible nature of the abuse. What on the surface appears to be something beautiful becomes exceedingly elusive & confusing. Not to be easily explained to others. Not to be clearly deciphered in your own mind. An emotional war zone that is like walking through a field of flowers & land mines. There is sometimes beauty but every step holds the threat of irreversible damage. You know that at any moment life might explode.

And people will say “I would never put up with that” or “I would have left” but what is not understood is that when you are standing in the middle of a minefield with your kids, there is no safe way to turn without sacrificing them. And you know that even if you could manage to get them out intact, you will be leading them to certain war. People have no way to see what only you can know ~ that you have already stepped on a mine.
So you stand still.

Obsession (is not love)
Over-protection (is not respect)
Passive Aggression (is a tool for the cycle of abuse)
Victim Mentality Part I: Everybody owes him (is damaged behavior)
Victim Mentality Part II: You are the only one who understands him (is manipulation)
Superiority Complex / Narcissism (equals control)
Periods of Emotional Rewards (does not equal peace of mind)