Tag Archives: emotional abuse

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

How to handle a narcissist

 

narcissist

 

How to handle a narcissist

Narcissist’s are chronically insecure people. Their biggest fear is that they will be exposed and be seen as not good enough by others around them. As a consequence of this, they often choose partners whom they perceive to be above them or superior to them in some way. They often see their partners as an extension of themselves and possess very poor boundaries when it comes to relationships. So if you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, at least you can congratulate yourself on being above average in many aspects.

Due to the fact that narcissists have very low self-esteem, they attempt to surround themselves with good-looking and successful people. They see this as testament to their own worthiness. As far as a narcissist is concerned, there is only success or failure and nothing in between. Narcissists have very rigid rules about the world they live in.

When your rules for living are inflexible, these rules are more easily broken. Narcissists live in a perpetual state of fear, they intensely dislike any kind of criticism and often act in an entitled and spoiled way. They do this to overcompensate for their feelings of inferiority.

The best way to handle a narcissist is to know your own boundaries. Narcissists will frequently try to move the boundaries and will use manipulation, emotional blackmail and guilt to get what they want. The tough part is that narcissists are emotionally intelligent enough to know how to manipulate and ingratiate themselves with those they wish to control. They can be extremely charming and charismatic, one-minute making you feel like the most special person ever and the very next moment can make you feel as if you are the lowest of the low. They are especially adept at reeling you in emotionally and then once you are hooked, they begin their campaign of control.

Never waste time arguing with a narcissist. Nothing is ever their fault and they have such impenetrable walls up to protect themselves that they will never acknowledge your points of view. Instead of getting them to see your side, you have to stick to your boundaries and give up trying to negotiate with them. They will always want more, no matter what you give them. This is why you need to decide what you will give them (what you feel is reasonable) and desist from discussing your decisions. It is just wasted energy as they do not possess the empathy required to acknowledge how you feel. There is very little room for manoeuvring with a narcissist.

Repetition is a good form of defence. Stick to your guns and when a narcissist tries to persuade you otherwise, keep repeating your original statement/offer. You will never change narcissist, so if you are in love with one-learning to manage them rather than change them is the best plan of action.

Narcissists are extremely selfish, self absorbed and are motivated by self-interest alone. If they appear cooperative and kind, it is because they feel this behaviour will get them what they want. They are unlikely to behave in ways that are purely altruistic.

My advice would be to avoid a narcissist at all costs. I see them as emotional vampires-they are exhausting to be around. If however you feel you cannot be without your narcissistic partner, learn to value yourself and keep firm boundaries around you as to what you will and will not allow. Never allow criticism or unfair expectations to be placed upon you. The more you give a narcissist, the more they will want. Protect yourself and love yourself and make sure you surround yourself with people who truly love you without expecting anything back-your friends and your family.

Mandy X

10 signs of emotional abuse

 

 

emotional abuse

Couple Arguing

emotional abuse

10 signs of emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is more common than many of us realise and the sad thing is that many suffer in silence. Victims of emotional abuse live with someone who is irrational, unreasonable and who seems impossible to please. That’s because they are – you will exhaust yourself trying to keep an emotionally abusive person happy because, in reality, they are unhappy within themselves and project this onto a target person – someone they have identified as vulnerable and easy to manipulate. Below are the most common signs of emotional abuse:

  1. Controlling behaviour

A loving, healthy relationship has no place for controlling behaviour. A partner who tries to dominate your life by telling you what to do, where you can go and what you can wear is trying to control you, it is not love. A balanced partner may not like you going somewhere that is perhaps dangerous or they may not approve of everything you do but they will rarely give you an order that you must obey. It’s all about communication and compromise in  healthy happy relationships.

2. Critical of you

An abusive partner is often very insecure underneath. They mask this insecurity by criticising and belittling you to keep you in your place. They want you to have little confidence. The more you doubt yourself the easier you are to control and the more secure they feel. It’s a vicious cycle. Of course, we can all say the wrong thing at times and hurt our partners but we try to learn from that an no do it again. An emotionally abusive partner with regularly criticise how you do things, how you look and try to make you feel inferior.

3. Isolates you from friends and family

Another way that an emotionally abusive partner will try to control you is by subtly isolating you from friends and family. They generally do this is quite a discreet manner as they can be adept at manipulation and playing with emotions. One day, you suddenly realise you hardly speak to any of your old friends or even your family members. This is a big warning sign! Never lose contact with those that care about you. An emotionally abusive partner will try turn you against people that they see as a threat. Anyone else who might challenge them or influence you has to go when n emotionally abusive person is in the picture.

4. It’s never their fault

Emotionally abusive partners rarely take any responsibility for their actions and they are skilled at turning situations around to make it seem like everything going wrong is actually you fault! They will rarely apologise and when they do, it is because it will benefit them and help them regain control.It’s all about emotional manipulation.

5. Excellent manipulators

Emotionally abusive people often come from family environments that were chaotic on some level. They will have learned early on how to manipulate to get their own way. Sadly, when parents are neglectful or abusive, their children have to be resourceful and find ways to regain power. As a child, there is very little power against adults so they find ways to get their way that are subtle yet effective and they carry this unhealthy behaviour with them into their adult relationships. Not all abusers have had difficult upbringings but a large majority have experienced significant upheaval of some sort.

6. Verbal abuse

“Slut”, “whore”, “useless”, “pathetic”, “no one will ever love you”, “fat”, “ugly”, “lazy”…these are the kind of statements that constitute verbal abuse. They are unacceptable and someone who loves you won’t speak to you in this way. Of course, we can all say the wrong thing at times but someone who regularly speaks to you in an abusive way is treating you badly. You don’t deserve to be spoken to like this…ever.

7. Supportive when it suits them

Being in a relationship with an emotionally abusive person can be very confusing. They can be kind, charming and loving at times and this can lead a victim of emotional abuse to doubt themselves. The victim longs for and loves the kind and caring part of their abusive partner and that is what keeps them in the relationship. Statistics show, however, that abuse tends to get worse over time, not better.

8. Jealous/possessive

We can all feel jealous and possessive at times but  healthy balanced person will manage this a lot better than an emotionally abusive person will. Due to being extremely insecure, they will react to any threat. Emotionally abusive people tend to snoop, check their partner’s phones and constantly be on the lookout for an indiscretion even when none exist. they can be paranoid and make life very difficult even for the most loyal and loving of partners.

9. Crazy-making/gas lighting

This is quite a severe form of psychological abuse and it can lead the victim to believe they are going crazy. Examples: The emotionally abusive person will move your keys and deny that they did or they will swear they told you about something that they never did tell you about. You can start to doubt your own sanity and perceptions of things. It is a form of mind control used to manipulate and intimidate. The term “gas lighting” comes from the 1938 play called Gas Light.

10. Silent treatment/withholding affection

Be prepared to be punished if you don’t tow the line with an emotionally abusive partner. They will let you know that you have displeased them by ignoring you or by withholding love and affection. They are cruel sociopaths and they are often narcissists – it’s all about them and their needs and they will hurt you to get their own way. A loving person won’t want to intentionally hurt you. An emotionally abusive person will often rush in and woo you quickly. Once you are emotionally hooked (they will seem perfect in the beginning, doing all the right things), the games will start and they will begin to ‘break’ you.

Recognise the patterns and the signs and either, stay away or if you feel you are in an abusive relationship, get help from a professional counsellor, a friend or family. You deserve to be cherished and loved, not manipulated and controlled!

Mandy X

Also see my You Tube video for more info on abusive relationships:

 

Emotional abuse in relationships

 

abuse photo

Emotional abuse in relationships

Unfortunately, many people use others to take their frustrations out on. They have a bad day at work and they transfer that anger and frustration on to a ‘safer target’ – usually a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband or wife. This behaviour is incredibly common yet very few people ever talk about it. I liken domestic abuse to an ice berg – what we know about and see is like the tip of the ice berg but the largest part remains hidden. The reality is very frightening. I would even go so far as to say at least one couple out of every five experiences domestic violence in some form – either physical, mental, emotional or all three. The longer the abuse continues, the harder it becomes to break free from the destructive cycle. The victim is subjected to a pattern of damaging behaviour that erodes their confidence and sense of self. Their identity is slowly chipped away and they become ever more passive.

Signs to look out for:

If you are in a relationship where you feel you cannot be yourself for fear of criticism or judgement, you are in an unhealthy situation. This does not mean it is necessarily abusive but the foundations are not good going forward. Each relationship is unique but trust your instincts.

Other signs – jealousy and possessiveness. No one has the right to own another person and control who they see and where they go.

Some abusers tend to be fantastic at knowing what to say in the beginning. They are charming and you feel so loved yet it can all be part of a strategy to hook you emotionally. Once hooked emotionally, a person is much easier to control. Abusive people tend to go on the offensive and move quickly in the early stages…be wary if they want to hurry things along. It may seem flattering but if it is the right relationship, it will continue in the right direction even if at a slower pace.

Someone who regularly belittles you, trying to keep you in your place is usually someone who has low self esteem and is afraid you will outshine them. They need to keep you full of self doubt in order to control you. Someone who doesn’t encourage you and who doesn’t want you to achieve your best is not ultimately on your side.

Minimising your feelings is another form of emotional abuse. Do you feel you are never heard? You talk but the other person doesn’t listen and keeps imposing their own views upon you. If you are told that you are “too sensitive” it is a way to avoid dealing with what has upset you. Every now and then we can be too sensitive, so ignore one-offs. However – look out for patterns of behaviour, they are more damaging. No one is perfect and we can all say and do the wrong things at times. The difference though is that a non-abusive person will genuinely not want to upset someone they love and will try not to do it again.

When things go wrong, is it somehow always your fault? This is another sign of abuse. Somehow, your words get twisted and you are left apologising and doubting yourself. See this for what it is – emotional abuse.

Testing your emotions – some people will test you. They will say something upsetting and see what response they get. When they see you get upset they feel satisfied that they still have an emotional hold over you. Instead of being assertive in their attempts to find out how you feel, they will play games to get reactions. Sometimes displaying passive aggressive behaviour.

Abusers are generally cowards who feel quite powerless. This is why they try to control others to give them that sense of power. They can seem like emotional vampires and in the long run they will drain you completely.

If you suspect that you are in an abusive relationship it might be time to see a counsellor to help you break free. Get in touch if you need help or check out my YouTube video for more info on abusive relationships.

Life is too short to spend it being a ‘smaller version’ of the real you!

Mandy X

 

Emotional Child Abuse must be stopped

 

sad child photo

“Love is as vital as vitamins for a child to flourish” – John Bowlby

Emotional Child Abuse must be stopped

This may seem a controversial statement but I believe that many evils in the world would cease to exist if parents were enlightened and knew the pitfalls of bad parenting. Abuse in childhood can cause lifelong damage and an abused child can end up a damaged and dysfunctional adult. Not only that, but a dysfunctional and abusive childhood causes ‘brain damage’ in that a child has to learn ways to cope with abuse and distress and this affects how their brains develop as well as their brain chemistry. This is turn can lead to dysfunctional thinking and if this reinforced often enough – can lead to a personality disorder that is enduring. Abusive childhoods affects a child’s chances of success at school, work and in their personal relationships. It really is a tragedy.

Criminalising a lack of consistent parental love would be a  great idea. It may seem extreme, but as a mental health professional I see the devastating effects of abuse in childhood, it is far reaching and leads to a more toxic society. There is a growing body of evidence that shows abuse affects people and their futures far more than the environment does. The old nature – nurture debate has long been in existence but research and new understanding suggests abuse causes untold damage. Far more than we ever imagined.

Types of abuse:

Emotional abuse: exposure to behaviour such as harshness and name-calling from parents. The worst type of abuse in terms of it’s negative impact.

Emotional neglect:  lack of love and responsiveness.

Overall, in order of impact, emotional abuse increased the risk of psychosis the most (by 3.4 times, physical abuse and emotional neglect did so by 2.9, sexual abuse and bullying by peers by 2.4).

The null hypothesis of the Human Genome Project will almost certainly have to be accepted: that genes play almost no role in explaining why one sibling is different from another. It is assumed therefore that abuse is the determining factor in any differences that exist.

Research Findings:

In his definitive book, Models of Madness, John Read, a clinical psychologist at Liverpool University, shows that in the 10 studies testing the matter, the more extreme the childhood adversity, the greater the risk of adult psychosis. The results are similar for the number of adversities. In one large study, those subjected to five or more adversities were 193 times more likely to suffer psychosis than those with none.

Similar findings come from studies of less extreme emotional distress. In the definitive one, which followed 180 children from infancy to the age of 18, 90% of those who suffered early maltreatment qualified for a mental illness. Emotional neglect under the age of two was a critical predictor.

Emotional abuse, especially in children is not easy to detect but it has huge implications for a stable and happy future for a child. The more abuse, the more trouble for the child in adulthood.

Children deserve love and respect. They deserve the right to an opinion and the right to freely express natural emotions such as anger.It is up to parents to be good role models and show their children how to handle life through their own wise experience and maturity. Unfortunately, many children that are abused grow up to repeat the cycle of abuse with their own children. A zero tolerance approach to a pattern of emotional abuse needs to be in place. All parents make mistakes but it is when there is a pattern of neglect, criticism and a lack of love that intervention is key. This  allows a child to develop into the adult they have the potential to become.

Mandy X

 

 

References:

Oliver James’ book, Not in your Genes – the Truth about the Findings of the Human Genome Project

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/31/emotional-child-abuse-banned-government-love-adult-psychosis

 

 

Why it’s no good to stay in an unsuitable relationship

 

relationship photo

Why it’s no good to stay in an unsuitable relationship

Let’s clarify what an unsuitable relationship is. Relationships sit on a continuum with truly awful relationships at one end and perfectly satisfying relationships at the other. This post refers mainly to relationships where there is abuse.

There are many reasons that people stay in relationships-many of these reasons do not make sense yet we justify our behaviour in order to cope with staying. Most people stay in an unsuitable relationship out of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of being lonely and fear of never finding someone else again. This limited thinking creates a limiting life.

We take on limiting self beliefs in order to cope with our dismal relationships. We tell ourselves that things will improve, that we could never make it on our own or end up believing that we are somehow worthy and deserving of the bad treatment we are receiving.

Staying in an unsuitable relationship is like feeding yourself poison everyday. When you’re made to feel inadequate and inferior, it chips away and erodes your confidence and your self-esteem. I have been in relationships where I have become a shell of my former self. I began to believe all the criticism and felt powerless to change anything. The longer I stayed the more powerless and helpless I felt. An unsuitable relationship reminds you on a daily basis that you are living a life below what you deserve. Everyone is entitled to feel loved, worthy and supported. Abuse in relationships is wide spread. I compare it to an iceberg-the part that sticks out is the part that the public sees that the majority of abuse goes unnoticed. More often than not, abusers are affable and extremely popular with friends, family and colleagues.

The truth is however very different. Abusers are cowards and they take out their daily frustrations on their loved ones. So much abuse goes on behind closed doors and most of it is hidden because of the pressure we face to show a happy and united front to the world.

Do not live a lie. Remind yourself what you are worth what you really deserve and make the necessary changes to achieve your true potential.

There is a fantastic charity in my area called Your Sanctuary. Helpline: 01483 766822

Website: Your Sanctuary

There is also another charity nationwide: Women’s Aid

Take your power back. It is possible to do as I have done it-it’s not easy but it can be done. Believing yourself and expect better for yourself.

Mandy X

Photo by pissedoffpatriot007

16 Signs that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship

sad woman photo

16 Signs that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship

I learned that abuse is not always a clear-cut issue (e.g. someone either hits me or doesn’t; either someone puts me down or doesn’t; someone either attempts to control me in very visible ways or doesn’t). Emotional and mental abuse can be difficult to spot. Abusers can be adept at creating emotional instability in a very subtle way.

Listed below are examples of emotionally abusive behaviour:

1) Silent treatment. often won’t tell you why he is ignoring you either.

2) Controlling, makes the rules

3) Jealous, possessive

4) Critical and judgemental

5) Instills fear – has you walking on eggshells. a supportive relationship is supportive, brings out best in you and encourages you. An abusive partner’s insecurities means they like to keep you down so that you do not get too big for your boots. They need to be in control and keep you with low confidence.

6) You feel a lot of self doubt in the relationship, lose confidence, become indecisive and this leads to lowered self esteem.

7) Selfish, narcissistic.all about them and their needs

8) Negative body language – tutting, sighing, rolling eyes.

9) condescending language – why are you doing that? why have you put that there? what made you think that? Constantly undermining you

10) Passive aggressive – subtle non direct ways to thwart you and frustrate you, leave you feeling crazy. They find it difficult to be assertive and direct but will make sure you get the message and feel their disapproval in some way or another.

11) Tease you and then mock you when you get upset – so sensitive. There is no care for your feelings

12) You may start feeling you need permission to do things

13) It’s somehow always your fault, never theirs. Abusers are good at twisting things. Blame shifting occurs frequently

14) Accuse you of things that arent true

15) Implies that you lie

16) Withholding approval, appreciation and affection as punishment

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde

Very rarely do abusers conform to the stereotypical image of a constantly harsh, nasty or violent person, either in public or in private. More frequently the abuser portrays a perfectly normal and pleasant picture to the outside world (often they have responsible jobs or are respected and important members of the local community or Church) and reserves the abuse for you in the privacy of your own home. Nor are abusers always overtly abusive or cruel, but can display apparent kindness and consideration. This Jeckyll and Hyde tendency of the abuser serves to further confuse the victim, while protecting themselves from any form of suspicion from outsiders. Many victims describe “sudden” changes in mood – one minute nice and the next explosive or hysterical, or one minute happy and the next minute sad. This does not indicate some special “mental problem” but are typical of abusive personalities, and related to other characteristics such as hypersensitivity.

Emotional abuse is incredibly destructive. If you have the slightest suspicion that you are in a relationship with an abusive person seek help as soon as possible. Abusers very rarely change their behaviour. They will slowly chip away at your confidence and self-esteem-don’t give them this power. There abusive behaviour is not your fault.

Mandy X

 

Get Help:  www.womensaid.org.uk