I don’t call anymore. Mainly because I am embarrassed by my life.

That wonderful guy that I bragged about in the beginning has turned into a self-centered masochist.

Most often I feel this is a situation of my own making. But when I am in the thick of things, I feel trapped by shame and fear. I am so confused, and it seems I cannot think straight. I love him even when he treats me so badly. How wacked is that? But how can I leave? Where will I go? How can I manage alone? I can see the good in him still. I know he needs me. But it hurts so much.

Looking back, I know if I told my friends and family how bad things were, they would have supported me. But when I finally left my abusive relationship for the last time, I realized that leaving was not the answer. Don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly difficult to walk out that door. But leaving was only one of many steps on my healing journey. I was not well . . . for a very long time. I needed help.

Now that I feel so much stronger, I can see how far I had drifted away from my healthy self. Abuse is such a subtle silent destroyer of soul, confidence and self.

Most Frequently Asked Questions:

All of us throw around the word ‘Abuse’ with regularity. While the definition of abuse is simple, the meaning of abuse isn’t so clear. The definition of abuse is the misuse of power to intentionally or unintentionally injure or harm another person.

Yes, most of us are guilty of engaging in behaviours from time to time of intentionally hurting another. Technically that falls into the definition of abuse.

But what abuse really means is control. Control over having a voice and having a choice. When a truly abusive situation exists, it’s because one person is seeking to control the other through abuse. An abusive relationship is one when someone systematically and regularly uses abusive behaviours to control. While this might be an explanation of abuse, it’s certainly no excuse. A person has no right to exercise control over another through abuse, except to prevent harm. If you have experienced abuse or abused someone else, you need to know that it is wrong! However, if you are a victim of abuse you need to KNOW it is NOT your FAULT. Every person, including you, has the right to live an abuse-free life.

What are the signs of abuse?

Well, guys, there are literally dozens of signs of abuse, here are a few:

  • Controlling behaviours
  • Name calling, belittling, shaming
  • Character assassination
  • Humiliation, negating and criticizing
  • Blaming, denial and not taking responsibility for words, actions, decisions
  • Emotional neglect
  • Yelling and intense outbursts
  • Feigned helplessness
  • Shutting down communication
  • Isolating behaviours
  • Physical intimidation and/or pushing, hitting
  • Financially controlling

How do I break the cycle of emotional abuse?

If you are asking this question, it is imperative that you understand you are not going crazy. You should listen to your gut, and then ask a professional for help. While it is possible to treat your own broken arm, it is not the best choice. If you are struggling with any kind of mistreatment, call a professional for help. Our phone lines are open Monday to Friday, every week during business hours, and you will find one of our wonderful staff to assist you in getting the help you need. There is no good reason to wait.

How does emotional abuse affect the brain?

Just like physical abuse can have long-term effects on the brain and body, emotional abuse can be as damaging and contribute to anxiety/depression, low self-esteem and physical health problems like heart conditions and high blood pressure.

How does childhood abuse affect you as an adult?

Some of us may feel that we were not abused as a child, because our parents loved us.

It stands to reason that the same adaptability of the rapidly developing infant brain is vulnerable to both good and bad stimulus. These highly sensitive periods of a child’s development mean they are extremely susceptible to long-term effects of mistreatment, neglect and abuse. Even to the point where a child can be significantly traumatized by watching parents or family members yell and scream at each other. The research clearly shows that children’s brains wire themselves for adulthood based on the experiences of childhood.

If there is intense emotional, physical or psychological mistreatment happening, blaming is not helpful. It is far more effective to call a professional who understands the nuances of family and relationships and can help begin adjusting the family system.

Can you have PTSD from emotional abuse?

Absolutely.

What are the symptoms of narcissistic abuse?

I’m sure we all know someone who seems a little narcissistic.

Someone who suffers with a narcissistic personality disorder, or who has many of the characteristics of the disorder, often has a grandiose sense of self-importance. These individuals have an inflated need for praise and admiration. They will have a sense of entitlement and may exploit others to meet their own inflated needs. They may demean, intimidate, exaggerate or bully others. They might also have a reduced ability to be sensitive or compassionate to others who may be struggling or hurting.

As you can see, these individuals do not have the traits that are required for typically healthy, loving relationships. The people who are in relationship with someone who is narcissistic would likely be struggling with feelings of neglect, disrespect, insignificance, and insecurity.

If you are such a person, you will need extra support to navigate the challenges of these relationships. It is my advice that you do not do this alone. It is extremely difficult for the best of us. Call us for some support. We are in your corner.

What is ‘Gaslighting’?

You will recognize it when I tell you what it is. Most of us have experienced it by someone at some time. It is just an entirely different thing to live with it.

Gaslighting is the subtle shift of the conversation to avoid accountability and to redirect the focus on the one who is calling for truth or accountability. It comes with highly flammable comments. With the redirection, the elusive and sometimes blatant message is that you are crazy for thinking what you think. The gaslighter often uses shame to make the victim believe they are not being abused or ill-treated.

A person may gaslight in an attempt to leverage negative emotional wounding as power in the discussion or relationship. Shaming, sarcasm, and tones of superiority are all methods used to spark personal, emotional internal explosions.

The ultimate result is that we second guess ourselves and feel confused and powerless to proceed.

Describing abuse as ‘violence’ gives the incorrect impression that it only occurs when the perpetrator is physically violent during the relationship.

Abuse is not just physical violence. It is also can be:

  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Psychological Abuse
  • Spiritual Abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Senior Abuse
  • Organizational Abuse