Need A Change 

Emotional abuse can be so insidious and crafty that you don’t recognize it’s happening. A relationship with this type of abuse does the most possible damage to your self-esteem and confidence. It’s the worst day of your life to find out you’ve been abused by the person you trust the most. The same person who says he or she loves you is underhandedly tearing you down. How could your spouse do this to you? How could you have known? You couldn’t have known. Because you couldn’t have imagined an elusive, barely detectable form of abuse masked by seemingly rational statements spoken by a charming, intelligent, and successful person.
 
You think back to all the decisions you thought you were making together as a team and realize your spouse didn’t have your best interest at heart. You remember the day you had a big crisis or loss and you needed emotional support more than ever, but your spouse couldn’t provide it for you. You made excuses that they must not realize the severity, or they have so much on their plate with work, and you try to deal with the pain and suffering alone. You had no emotional support during the most difficult days of your life thus far, and you unwittingly allowed an abusive person to give half the input toward decisions that will affect you forever.
 
You remember all the times you were fearlessly vulnerable with them. You freely shared your most intimate thoughts, but they ended up using those against you later to secretly hurt you and tear you down. All those times you got sick, and you’ve never had such constant health problems, and they calmly reply to your outcries with, “It’s because you take things so personally and you’re too sensitive.” Or “its normal to have increasing health problems as you get older.” On top of the physical suffering, which is difficult enough, you have emotional, mental, and psychological suffering because of an abusive spouse who minimizes your suffering and blames the effects of their abuse on you. It’s never about how you’re emotionally traumatized by them, causing your immune system to all but vanish.
 
There are the long conversations explaining what empathy is to what seems to be a hollow shell of a person. It doesn’t make sense how they seemed to be empathetic and providing emotional support while dating, and then not be able to during marriage. You ask yourself how could they have had empathy when you met and then lose it later? The strange thing is that they’ve mastered how to mimic or intellectualize empathy enough to fool you during the early stages of a relationship. Once you’re committed and they feel they’ve got you for life, they don’t try so hard to fake empathy. This faking of empathy becomes all to clear during the hardest blows of life, when unfortunately it is needed the most. This is about the time that you sense something is gravely wrong.
 
Verbal abuse is not something that is brought on by the victim.  This is not an issue that speaking up and calling out the behavior will resolve. “Finding your voice” will not make them respect your boundaries. You can shout, you can cry, you can whisper, you can talk at a normal level, and the abuser is still going to abuse. An abuser lacks empathy. Because they lack empathy, the God-given buffer to cruelty, there is nothing stopping them from abusing you to get what they desire. You can set limits and boundaries like a real pro, but an emotional abuser won’t respect them. They can’t.
 
There has to be education, for women especially, since this problem of abuse seems to come up mostly with women, so this horrible and damaging abuse doesn’t continue. I would never have considered "abuse" as one of my relationship issues due to emotional/verbal abuse's sometimes elusive, underhanded nature. How is it possible that a college-educated woman would not be able to recognize the more subtle forms of verbal abuse? It took being gradually beaten down, to a fraction of the woman I am, over several years, to finally discover the books that would explain my unequal, relational dynamic. Knowing about covert abuse earlier could have prevented deep emotional anguish, trauma, psychological damage, and loss of self-esteem.
 
Covert control and verbal abuse have to stop going on undetected. Until it is identified there is no way to stop the abuse. When you don’t know what is happening to you, you cannot get help! This is why awareness for young girls especially is so important. Does your teenage daughter, sister, cousin, friend, or relative know what covert control tactics and covert verbal abuse are? I think we do a decent job on awareness of overt and more obvious abuse, but there is a softer side to abuse that is sneaky and manipulative. I’m afraid we don’t talk enough about this extremely damaging, deceitful behavior.
 
I took a list of some common signs of emotional abuse from this web site link below. An abuser doesn’t necessarily employ all of these tactics, but may use certain ones and not others. A deeper understanding of more covert tactics of verbal abusers can be found in Patricia Evan’s book The Verbally Abusive Relationship.

http://liveboldandbloom.com/11/relationships/signs-of-emotional-abuse
http://www.amazon.com/Verbally-Abusive-Relationship-Expanded-Third/dp/1440504636/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440967686&sr=1-1&keywords=verbal+abuse
 
 

 

4 comments

  • Amy

    Amy

    While I am elated that you've had a light bulb moment with additional clarity, my heart weeps for you. Every word you typed, I could have typed, but replace the word husband for family of origin - mother, father, brother and add the word malignant narcissist. The discovery is devastating, heart-wrenching, and the recovery process is something I have likened to a form of soul surgery. I don't want to turn this comment into my world and my saga, but with every malignant narcissist, there comes a time when their mask falls off and suddenly everything makes sense, the pieces of the puzzle come together at last and life as one knows it will never be the same. My therapist in Los Angeles implored me to go no contact for the sake of my health and sanity. I had been gas-lighted, told I was too sensitive, and every personal thing I shared was flipped and used against me. My health declined and deteriorated until I was no longer able to manage my full-time lucrative career. Malignant narcissists are empty shells. They are toxic. It never gets better; only worse. I wholeheartedly agree - we are in desperate need of education for women and children. I am now a 48-year-old adult child. How I wish one of the dozens of counselors and therapists I saw from my formative years into my thirties would have made the connection. The gift is that my life finally makes sense and when I made the discovery, I got as far away from the malignant narcissists in my life as possible. It's counter-intuitive that one's husband, parent(s) and/or sibling would be so bent on destroying a member of their family, but I was cast in the role of scapegoat as a child and it's a role that I got stuck in. I couldn't see that I couldn't see for decades. In addition to intensive therapy, I am an avid reader and have poured myself into recovery work. It hasn't been easy, but I have peace, finally, and it came at a very high price, but I have no regrets. I've started anew. I have a plethora of resources, if you're interested. It sounds like you've made the discovery by reading Patricia Evan's book? I do want to add how disconnected CW appeared, how emotionally void he appeared. When I saw a picture of you two in Vegas, I covered up his face just so I could see his eyes and they were "dead." I did the same with your photo and your eyes were alive, twinkling and bright. YOU are a diamond and gems do not go undiscovered. I hope you are trusting the process of where you are as difficult as it is. I have to believe those of us who have been entangled with toxic narcissists have a responsibility to educate and help others. Light and love to you! ~Amy

    While I am elated that you've had a light bulb moment with additional clarity, my heart weeps for you. Every word you typed, I could have typed, but replace the word husband for family of origin - mother, father, brother and add the word malignant narcissist. The discovery is devastating, heart-wrenching, and the recovery process is something I have likened to a form of soul surgery. I don't want to turn this comment into my world and my saga, but with every malignant narcissist, there comes a time when their mask falls off and suddenly everything makes sense, the pieces of the puzzle come together at last and life as one knows it will never be the same. My therapist in Los Angeles implored me to go no contact for the sake of my health and sanity. I had been gas-lighted, told I was too sensitive, and every personal thing I shared was flipped and used against me. My health declined and deteriorated until I was no longer able to manage my full-time lucrative career. Malignant narcissists are empty shells. They are toxic. It never gets better; only worse. I wholeheartedly agree - we are in desperate need of education for women and children. I am now a 48-year-old adult child. How I wish one of the dozens of counselors and therapists I saw from my formative years into my thirties would have made the connection. The gift is that my life finally makes sense and when I made the discovery, I got as far away from the malignant narcissists in my life as possible. It's counter-intuitive that one's husband, parent(s) and/or sibling would be so bent on destroying a member of their family, but I was cast in the role of scapegoat as a child and it's a role that I got stuck in. I couldn't see that I couldn't see for decades. In addition to intensive therapy, I am an avid reader and have poured myself into recovery work. It hasn't been easy, but I have peace, finally, and it came at a very high price, but I have no regrets. I've started anew. I have a plethora of resources, if you're interested. It sounds like you've made the discovery by reading Patricia Evan's book? I do want to add how disconnected CW appeared, how emotionally void he appeared. When I saw a picture of you two in Vegas, I covered up his face just so I could see his eyes and they were "dead." I did the same with your photo and your eyes were alive, twinkling and bright. YOU are a diamond and gems do not go undiscovered. I hope you are trusting the process of where you are as difficult as it is. I have to believe those of us who have been entangled with toxic narcissists have a responsibility to educate and help others. Light and love to you! ~Amy

  • Latitia C

    Latitia C

    I'm so sorry you are going through this. I saw a familiar pattern in your partner's actions, and in your reactions, and my heart broke for you. You are not alone, you are not the only smart person ever to be fooled, and you can come out of this stronger than you can imagine. Be well, be safe.

    I'm so sorry you are going through this. I saw a familiar pattern in your partner's actions, and in your reactions, and my heart broke for you.

    You are not alone, you are not the only smart person ever to be fooled, and you can come out of this stronger than you can imagine. Be well, be safe.

  • BRITTANY PIERCY

    BRITTANY PIERCY

    This post Rachel, is everything I am going through and have experienced first hand in my marriage. I was interested in watching Seven Year Switch because I found it interesting during the hard time I was going through. Watching what other married couples go through and yours, that kind of experiment does help with opening your eyes to see something you may not noticed yourself. "You remember the day you had a big crisis or loss and you needed emotional support more than ever, but your spouse couldn’t provide it for you." "You remember all the times you were fearlessly vulnerable with them. You freely shared your most intimate thoughts, but they ended up using those against you later to secretly hurt you and tear you down." And the health thing too. It really hits home for me. Thank you for your words and talking about emotional abuse. It is helping me too as I get through this as well.

    This post Rachel, is everything I am going through and have experienced first hand in my marriage. I was interested in watching Seven Year Switch because I found it interesting during the hard time I was going through. Watching what other married couples go through and yours, that kind of experiment does help with opening your eyes to see something you may not noticed yourself.

    "You remember the day you had a big crisis or loss and you needed emotional support more than ever, but your spouse couldn’t provide it for you."

    "You remember all the times you were fearlessly vulnerable with them. You freely shared your most intimate thoughts, but they ended up using those against you later to secretly hurt you and tear you down."

    And the health thing too. It really hits home for me. Thank you for your words and talking about emotional abuse. It is helping me too as I get through this as well.

  • Rachel Farris

    Rachel Farris

    Brittany, I hope you are doing well. I'm so glad the show helped you notice things that were not clear. We are all learning together. I'm glad my words and expressions were able to help you in some way. It isn't easy to talk about, I know. Keep in touch. Thank you for writing. xoxo

    Brittany, I hope you are doing well. I'm so glad the show helped you notice things that were not clear. We are all learning together. I'm glad my words and expressions were able to help you in some way. It isn't easy to talk about, I know. Keep in touch. Thank you for writing. xoxo

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