An abusive emotional relationship is really an ongoing process where one person systematically diminishes the will and interests of another person to eventually destroy that person’s emotional well-being. The abuse may be mental, physical, psychological or verbal, and often a combination of these. As the relationships are usually entered into through strong of the emotional attraction (abuse can apply parent to child, child to parent, between siblings or even between friends), it is a wonder why the abuser is compelled to act in such a destructive and fruitless way. Any abuser in a relationship is actually turning the gun on themselves — so to speak — by ruining the spirit of their significant other and causing undetermined damage to themselves. Abuse can certainly be seen a a component of self-destructive behavior.
Emotional abuse is like a silent killer that attacks feelings and murders hope. The person leveraging emotions in an abusive way may not even feel that they are doing anything wrong. The abuse in the case of emotion is not necessarily limited to the dominant figure in a relationship — male or female — and it may sometimes be the ‘weaker’ partner who leverages abuse to achieve a sense of strength and control. To rectify any situation of abuse both the perpetrator of the abuse and the abused need to seek help. Solving half of the issues in an abusive relationship is never really a solution unless the relationship is dissolved. Even then only the abused will find solace from the disruptive behaviors.
Help for the abused
Many people experiencing domestic abuse feel like they are alone and people won’t understand or believe what they are going through. However you’re not alone.There are professionals available who will understand you, who believe you and who want to help you. Professionals are available to simply listen and support you should you make the effort to seek out friendly guidance or help you take action should you decide to plan on leaving an abusive relationship.
Anyone who needs to speak in confidence regarding domestic abuse should start with research into local services. Using computers and internet at a local library will keep browsing data off personal and home computers that might inadvertently appear and anger the abuser. If home equipment is used in searching for help, be sure to wipe all data in from browsing sessions and keep phone numbers stored safely.
Abusers may have a habit of secretly checking up on your behavior that would not be unusual for their mindset. Simple searches for phrases such as “help with abuse [name of town or city]” will usually yield the information you need.
Other professionals, such as the police, religious leaders (pastor or priest), public shelters, family courts, psychiatric care facilities and health professionals may be able to offer advice and put you in touch with domestic abuse support services and those specializing in delivering services for the abused. While immediate family is not always the best resource to deal with domestic abuse, combining the help of family members and trusted friends may be an option for helping take those initial steps with confidence.
Above all, your goal is to become a survivor of abuse and not the most tragic of victims. Take care with your planning and guard your research until you are ready to put a plan into action. Try not to act out of fear.
Help for the Abuser
Recognizing that you have been abusive toward a partner is something that most often will come out of drastic consequences in confrontations. It is a regrettable reality that the realization only becomes evident when the situation has gone too far. Even so, an abusive habit or agenda is something that is difficult but not impossible to change. Taking responsibility for one’s own actions is a necessary component of adjusting and eliminating negative behaviors. By realizing the actions are your own — and not something cultivated by external stimulus — or even your partner or target of abuse — puts the onus of responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the abuser.
This admission can be both frightening and difficult to handle. However, the abuser does not have to go at it alone. Just as professional help is available for the abused, there are resources for the abuser to consult in attempts to modify their behavior and reshape their lives and their relationships should the latter still be a possibility. Just as with victims, searching for local resources on the internet may be a good first step, and seeking the help of anger management, abuse counselors or other organizations and individual therapy can help educate the abuser to come to terms and manage behaviors. Confiding in one’s spouse / significant other or the subject of the abuse, even if sincere before taking other steps will likely be seen as another manipulative gesture.
In all cases, both the abused and abuser should seek some form of help and not be deceived into thinking that wiping away the immediate threat will rectify behaviors or the emotional damage caused by abuse. Those peripheral to abusive situations like children may benefit from counseling as well.