Home Research Emotional Intelligence: EI/EQ How to Recognize When You Are Emotionally Abusing Yourself

How to Recognize When You Are Emotionally Abusing Yourself

9 min read

Recognizing emotional abuse is not always easy and as a result it has often times been overlooked because we have been programmed to focus on physical abuse.  However, before physical abuse takes place a person or the parties involved have been emotionally abusing themselves and each other for some time.  The emotional abuse is what happens first, then the verbal abuse, and then the physical abuse.  While all three kinds of abuse are unacceptable the worst of all these abuse is the emotional abuse because it has to be solidly in effect in order for the other two to occur and to have any effect.  A relationship either has two emotionally healthy individuals or two emotionally unhealthy individuals.  A combination of one healthy person and one unhealthy person does not exist in a relationship.  We have also been programmed to think that not only are men the ones who are the abusers but also if they are abusing their partner, then they are the scum of the earth, cruel and that their partner is the victim.  However, that is not accurate.  Women have also been the ones abusing men.  Sadly, they are both victims.  In light of recent events in the news regarding two well-known celebrities, domestic violence is once again in the limelight.  Unfortunately, the two individuals involved are too young to understand the impact their childhood has had on them.  This is why it is important as adults to grow ourselves internally before we begin to have children.  Growing up around any kind of abuse results in children becoming abusive themselves whether to themselves or to others.   It is especially worse if the children themselves suffered sexual abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and physical abuse.  The abusive behavior stems from low self-esteem, feelings of unworthiness and a deep self-hatred.  With all the toxic emotions churning around inside, left unresolved it will result in individuals either falling into a catatonic state of depression or they lash out to anyone.  Instead of judging people who behave in a particular way, learn to understand that they maybe dealing with emotional turmoil, which they do not know how to handle.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to know the extent of the effects until one is involved in a love relationship.

In the Western world, deep emotional wounds are not given much priority.  The conception is that if it’s not visible then it’s not relevant nor does it exists.  I remember being told to get over it because it’s done and gone.  As a result a large number of men and women are walking around with deep untended emotional wounds.  What results are two people who are emotionally damaged and who do not know how to ask for help coming together in a relationship.  They bring their damaged self into the relationship and because neither of them is addressing their deep emotional issues they take out their anger and frustrations on each other.  Anger and frustration has many faces.   They are not necessarily expressed in the preconceived notion of what we may think anger and frustration looks like.  Someone with deep unresolved anger and deep self-hatred may be very manipulative.  He or she will go out of his or her way to get back at someone.  They can also be extremely convincing even when they are clearly in the wrong.  The partner who is on the receiving end is also suffering from deep self-hatred and that is how they were both called into each other’s life.  It is important to note that both individuals in the relationship can be manipulative.  Another behavior is where one party deliberately holds back from doing something because he or she wants the other to come after them or in other words-chase after them.  This would in effect prove that you care.  Although this behavior is also manipulative it is stemming from feelings of insecurity.  After the emotional behavior has the expected effect, the verbal abuse begins.  When one partner is verbally abusive and is always getting loud and verbose, it is common for the other person to want to do everything in his or her power not to be the source of the upset.  They know that anything can set this person off.  When a relationship gets to this point, physical abuse is just around the corner.  If you feel the need to slash tires, break windows on cars and scratch someone’s car with a key or sleep with her girlfriend or his best friend and deliberately let her/him find out, having other women calling your house or you calling other women in front of your partner, then know and understand this – you are involved in an emotionally abusive relationship and is getting ready to upgrade to a verbal and physically abusive relationship.

If you feel that your partner is exhibiting abusive behaviours whether it’s emotional, verbal or physical, what’s happening is that you are looking into your own personalized mirror.  This person is showing you your real self.  Before you get angry, understand that while you may not exhibit the external behaviours of your partner the deep emotional issues that fuel his external behaviours are also your internal issues.  Criticizing your partner will not help the situation because you will be inherently criticizing yourself.  It is possible to avoid these situations or to get out of these situations.  If you are already in a relationship and some of the issues are being presented, you first you have to be committed to working on yourself.  Getting out cold turkey will not work.  Matter-of-fact, if you have not made the commitment to work on yourself, you will not be strong enough to leave the situation.  Unfortunately, the situation will only escalate.  Keep this in mind and it should motivate you to begin working on you.  Regardless of the type of relationship you are in, it is imperative to take time for yourself.  Do not be completely dependent on your partner.  Develop your own unique individuality before you enter into a relationship.  There are times when we slip up and become consumed with our relationship.  That is fine as long as you are aware of it.

How do you begin to work on yourself?  Know that when you decide to change yourself from the inside, things, people and events will appear as if out of the blue to help you on your journey to a new and emotionally healthier you.  You will start reading books and talking to other individuals who were once in your position.  Begin by acknowledging the part you played in your relationship.  Taking responsibility for your role not only eases the pain, but it is also the first step in becoming a mature adult.  It will help you to become strong enough to take some time for yourself either by leaving the relationship or to begin addressing the issues with your partner.  Any relationship can be turned around.  Stop assigning blame.  Both parties went into the relationship willingly.  Seek to understand each other’s background and that would help you in realizing why your partner behaved the way he or she did.

Understanding your background will also help you to understand how it contributed to your emotions and it would explain why and how you got involved with this individual in the first place.  Practice doing loving things for you one step at a time.  The first and most imperative loving thing to do is to forgive yourself.  This is a must as you embark on the journey to self-healing.  When you forgive yourself first you will be able to forgive the other person, because now you understand how the past has created the present for each of you.  You can now choose to move ahead together or separately into adulthood.

In order for the healing process to begin you would need to tackle your emotional issues layer by layer. However, dealing with deep-rooted toxic emotions takes extreme patience, self-care, self-love and large doses of understanding.  It will be difficult and sometimes overwhelming, but if you understand that it’s a process and toxic emotions have to rise to the surface before you can begin to fill up on positive and healthy emotions then you will be able to weather the roller-coaster ride.  You will get through it.  It is best to take some time for yourself in order to begin your self-healing.  Only when you are good and ready should you go back into that particular relationship with that individual.  Bear in mind that your partner should also make a commitment to working on himself and they have taken the time to begin their healing journey.  If during your healing process you have come to learn that you really did not have anything else in common with your partner except a wounded soul then by all means move on by yourself or into a new relationship.

Self-awareness is the key to handling any situation that you are involved it.  It means to be aware of the issues you have and how they may be blocking you from having a healthy relationship.  If you or anyone that you know is in a physically abusive relationship or you and your partner are physically abusing each other please seek some outside help because at that point you are not emotionally healthy enough to do it on your own. Love is the ingredient that makes you and your relationship healthy.  If you are lacking love, your partner is also lacking it and therefore is unable to give you the correct dosage that you require.  Becoming your own pharmacy.  Prescribe your own dosage of love and take it every hour on the hour for the period of a lifetime and that will be the amount that comes back to you.

About The Author:
Trudy-Ann Ewan, Founder of Create Your Passion Life Coaching, is a Relationship Coach.  She specializes in assisting individuals who are seeking to bring more love into their lives, drama-proof their love relationships and at the same time remain true to their essential self and create their unique identity.  To learn more, visit her website at: http://www.createyourpassion.com where you can sign up for her Free Newsletter, Free Assessment quizzes and where you can also join her Coaching Program.  Feel free to join her Group on Facebook:  Facebook / Create Your Passion Life Coaching


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