Tag Archives: emotional abuse

The effects of childhood abuse

children photo

The effects of childhood abuse

The effects  of childhood abuse can last forever. It can influence your thinking, emotional state and the way you relate to others way into adulthood.  Child abuse takes a wide variety of forms.

The most common forms of childhood abuse are:

sexual abuse

neglect

emotional/verbal abuse

physical abuse

parental substance abuse and/or mental illness

children witnessing domestic violence

The long term effects of child abuse

PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, lack of emotions and hypervigilance. The traumatic past event can be triggered by a smell, similar situation or sounds.

Errors in thinking

Adults who were abused as children may have the view that the world is a dangerous place. They may distrust others and isolate themselves. Some adults behave in the opposite manner by becoming very dependent on another person (sometimes referred to as “co-dependency”). Abuse often leads to an adult who struggles to relate to others, often due to their beliefs that others can’t be trusted. Fear of intimacy can reign and cause havoc.

Emotional Distress

Severe stress as a child can alter brain chemistry. It can also affect the way the brain develops and matures, leaving a person more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Anger is another common symptom of emotional distress.

Avoidance and disassocation

As a child, we are extremely vulnerable and don’t have a way to escape our situation. As a result, children have to learn a way to cope with the abuse on a mental and emotional level. What often happens is that children learn to disassociate and ‘compartmentalise’ the unpleasant emotions. They somehow find a mental ‘box’ where they stuff the unpleasant experiences and emotions. In its extreme form, children create separate personalities knows as multiple personality disorder. Children who are abused can form personality disorders – a distinctive and dysfunctional way of viewing the world. The brain creates unnatural pathways to cope with abuse and this affects lifelong functioning.

Some abused children go on to avoid experiences that caused upset in their childhood. The other extreme is to over compensate. Parents underestimate their influence on their children.

The first step to dealing with childhood abuse is to acknowledge what happened and that it wasn’t healthy. Therapy can help immensely, allowing adults who were abused to understand they did not deserve the abuse and that it was their parents who were to blame, not them.

We cannot change the past but we can update our thinking and beliefs about the past. An abused childhood can hold us back but only if we allow it to. As adults, we have the power to reject old childhood messages from our parents and re-create another life that is more healthy and conducive to love and happiness.

Mandy X

Examples of passive aggressive behaviour

 

passive aggressive

Examples of passive aggressive behaviour

I have put together a list of examples of passive aggressive behaviour as this type of behaviour can be subtle. Despite it being a form of manipulation that can be subtle on the surface, it’s emotional impact can be huge.

Examples of passive aggressive behaviour

  • Being nice to someone when you actually dislike them and feel unable to tell them you don’t like them
  • Agree with something but never follow through on it because underneath you really don’t agree at all
  • Act the opposite of what others are expecting. For example – you promise to pick someone up at 9am and turn up late, never having had the intention to comply and fetch them at the agreed time
  • Not voicing your true opinion but then manipulating the situation in order to get your own way
  • Feel angry inside but don’t express it it a healthy, mature way. Instead you use your behaviour to ‘show’ the other person you are angry with them. This can be done by ignoring the other person or giving them the silent treatment without them knowing what is going on
  • Trying to please others by agreeing with their plan of action, yet actually doing the opposite
  • Act one way but feel the opposite
  • Deny that any problems exist when there is clearly tension in a relationship
  • Minimise the extent of problems
  • Act in a patronising way and make as if the problems that exist are imagined
  • Demonstrate behaviour inconsistent with your words
  • Never confronting someone about problems

Steps to eliminate passive aggressive behaviour

Be more assertive and speak up – use direct and open communication to express yourself.Most people who display passive aggressive behaviour are not good at asking for what they want and feel they have to get what they want in an underhanded, covert manner.

We are all responsible for ourselves and you owe it to yourself to learn how to communicate as an adult. Children use passive aggressive behaviour because they fear standing up to their parents. As an adult, you have every right to disagree or ask for your opinion to be listened to.

Mandy X

 

How to deal with emotional blackmail

 

emotional blackmail

How to deal with emotional blackmail

Emotional blackmail is a form of psychological manipulation. When someone tries to make you feel fear and guilt if you do not do something, you are probably being blackmailed emotionally.

Manipulators love to use emotional blackmail. They are very adept at knowing your weak spots – the areas that lead you to feel guilt or shame and they will target that mercilessly. They will make you feel you are a bad parent, a bad child or a bad spouse with emotional blackmail

Examples: If you loved me you would take me to see that show.

A good father would pay for me to have that outfit.

The give-get ratio is out of balance and you may not realise you are being manipulated. Even though you may not fully realise what is going on, you will more than likely feel bothered or may even feel anxious and depressed.

Is there someone in your life who always seems to be judging you as “good” or “bad”. Do they judge your actions and use emotions to explain why you should or shouldn’t be doing something? Are you doing things for others that you don’t feel entirely comfortable with? It may just be that you are the victim of emotional blackmail.

Set personal boundaries for yourself. Decide what you will and won’t do and clearly define what is acceptable to you. Stick to this no matter what. A blackmailer will try to confuse you and throw in all sorts of issues to distract you and make you doubt yourself. Often they are complete hypocrites who do all the things they say you are doing or not doing. Double standards are something emotional blackmailers live by.

Manipulators will often try force someone into making a quick decision. Never feel pressured and take your time if you are unsure. Trust your instincts.

Learn to say no and stick to personal boundaries. These are the most important strategies to deal with emotional blackmail. Learn to cultivate emotional distance from what the person is threatening you with. If you fear you will lose the relationship and keep giving in to them, they will keep manipulating you. You have to be willing to lose the relationship and stand up for yourself for something to shift and for you to regain power in the relationship. It is only once you take a stand and refuse to give in to the emotional blackmail that a positive shift can take place.

Mandy X

 

Playing mind games in relationships

 

mind games

Playing mind games in relationships

Any interaction with another person has the potential to involve some type of mind game. In fact, many of us are quite good at playing mind games in relationships. The problems start when the mind games are used for dubious purposes. Unscrupulous people want to be in control and many have learned how to push other people’s buttons and pick up on subtle emotional signals in order to manipulate the other. Mind games involve manipulation, twisting the facts and creating doubt to destabilise another person. Here are some examples of mind games in relationships and tips to counteract them:

The more tumultuous someone’s childhood was, the more likely they are to engage in mind games. As a powerless child faced with unfair and unreasonable parents, children learn ways to manipulate the situation in a subtle passive way in order to cope emotionally. Many take these dysfunctional coping mechanisms into their adult relationships.

Twisting the facts

Playing mind games involves twisting the facts of a situation in order to suit the manipulator’s version of events. They will see the situation their way and will generally lack the empathy to understand another person’s point of view. They will ignore feelings and repeat their version of events, effectively voiding any other point of view of a situation. This can be extremely frustrating for the partner who feels misheard and misunderstood.

Deflecting and dismissing

Someone is definitely playing mind games when they dismiss your feelings. They will say something upsetting and when you react, you are told you are “Too sensitive”. A healthy, carting person will not like upsetting someone else and make a point not to do it again. A person playing mind games will make a mental note of that weakness and keep it as a weapon to be used in the future to control and manipulate. Another tactic is when you try to talk to your partner about their behaviour or about something you don;t like that they do. Instead of listening and communicating, a person playing mind games will merely deflect the conversation and your concerns with a reply such as ” Well you did the same thing last week and that’s why I do it”. There is no acceptance of responsibility – somehow their behaviour gets blamed on something you have done.

Creating self doubt in another

“What are you doing that for?”, “Why are you thinking like that?” etc. A mind game player will do their best to shake the foundations of your beliefs and ideas about the world. The more confusion and self doubt, the easier it is to influence you.

Emotional blackmail

“If you truly cared, you wouldn’t do it” is an example of emotional blackmail. You are made to feel you do not care enough and in this way they control your behaviour.

Subtle erosion of confidence

Over time, mind game players ‘groom’ you into doubting yourself and this undermines confidence. They may also throw in comments like, “You are lucky to have me, no one else will love you like I do” or “You on’t find someone else to love you”. Instead of bringing out the best in you, they chip away at your confidence to keep you feeling unworthy. As a result, you will be less likely to leave the relationship.

If you think you are experiencing mind games in your relationship, you probably are. Second guessing yourself is common in relationships where mind games are rife. Learn to recognise the types of mind games and don’t play the game.

Mandy X