Road Map for Life Seminars:
When Love Hurts: How To Heal A Painful Relationship
"Who will help this child to recognize his successes and give him the courage to step beyond his failures with dignity?"
~ Adapted from Cassini/Rogers
We all understand what physical abuse is. No one has to explain to us that smacking our spouse is abusive. It is clear to most all of us that physical abuse can have lasting effects. But what about emotional abuse? That's a little more difficult to define.
You can bet that you know it when you feel it. When someone intimidates you by getting in your face or humiliates you will a snide comment you experience first hand what emotional abuse is all about?
This kind of emotional abuse can rip relationships apart and do just as much damage as physical abuse. What makes emotional abuse so insidious is people don't even realize they're doing it. They're merely acting out what was done to them without a clue about the damage they're doing.
People who were emotionally abused as children may grow up into adults who are extremely sensitive to any little thing that sounds like criticism. If they were emotionally smothered as children, they may become adults who cannot bear anything that resembles control.
Equally harmful is emotional blackmail. This occurs when someone manipulates the other person and who better to do that than a partner who knows the other person's vulnerabilities. By withholding love, for example, they blackmail the other person into doing what they want.
They use fear, obligation and guilt like jet fuel to propel the person into doing what they want. And it works. The trouble is that this comes at a very high price and both people end up paying in terms of self-esteem, confidence and self-respect.
Just like emotional abuse and blackmail, emotional incest can be difficult to recognize. We may wonder how caring so much about our children be considered incest. But the truth is that when a parent takes advantage of their child to fulfill their own needs it is emotional incest.
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