YOU NEVER ADMIT
what’s really going on!
Previous: What is E. A.? (part 1)
REMINDER: See ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
TYPES of E.A., cont. (P. = Perpetrator / V. = Victim)
• negates your emotional needs, especially when you’re in great pain (of any kind), with the intention of hurting, punishing or humiliating
• is withholding – withdraws emotionally, refuses to listen or to communicate by giving the silent treatment, as punishment
• disallows and overrules your viewpoints, perceptions or feelings that differ from their own
• refuses to consider your request to be treated better
• refuses to acknowledge reality by denying that specific events actually happened
• negates your perceptions, memory & even your sanity by invalidating your feelings & experiences
• tries to distort, undermine & invalidate your perceptions of the world
Exp: Telling a P. you don’t like that they called you a bad name, they may insist : “I never said that”, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,”… or
If you say you felt hurt by something they did or said, they’ll sneer :
“Geeze, I was just kidding! That shouldn’t bother you. That’s your problem. You’re too sensitive…”
P.S. A possible counter: “Well, you’re not sensitive enough!”
• A less extreme form of invalidation : The P. may not deny that a particular event occurred, but will downplay the severity of an abusive episode and question the the validity of your emotional experience or reaction to that event
• Statements such as “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re exaggerating,” or “You’re blowing this out of proportion”, “You made that up” – all indirectly say your perceptions are faulty & not to be trusted
• An even more subtle form of denying, when Ps underplay their own behavior while telling you that you actions, thoughts & feelings are not important or legitimate (don’t make sense)
• The P suggests that what you have done or communicated is trivial, stupid, unimportant & not worth bother with
a. Of Responses
• P. has drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts
• is maddeningly inconsistent – unpredictably, irrationally changes how they react to you or your normal behaviors, says one thing one day & the opposite the next, likes what you do one day & hates it the next…
• you never know what’s expected of you
• you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop
• you have to stay hyper-vigilant so you know when to ‘duck’
b. Constant CHAOS
• often starts arguments, disagreement, creates conflicts with you
• P’s ‘addiction to drama’ causes endless upheaval for everyone
• P. makes promises you depend on, but they rarely come thru
• changes plans or ‘rules’ at the last-minute, without informing you
• you never know what to expect, what’s real or what’s ‘safe’
• P. puts unreasonable demands on your time, energy, space, money…..then berates you for not fulfilling all their needs
• demands constant attention, to spend all your free time with them, & expects you to put aside your tasks & down-time to focus on them
• no matter how much you give, it’s never enough
• says you’ve stupid but expects you to be lawyer, doctor, parent, lover….
• accuses you of being selfish if you don’t do exactly what they want
• love, affection, approval, appreciation, validation
• gives the silent treatment, leaves out important information you need
• won’t say where they’re going or what they’re doing
• never gives praise or shows appreciation for you efforts
• doesn’t pay attention to or help with everyday ‘little things’
• never shows concern, won’t offer to protect or watch out for your safely (have your back)
Overall, long-term abuse creates ‘learned helplessness‘ (Read more…)
• you lose respect for yourself • your self-esteem erodes • often get sick
• always on edge, anxious, off-balance • become hopeless & depressed
• question & mistrust your own perceptions & opinions – losing all confidence in your most valuable survival tool: your own mind
Antidote to E.A.
No one can take in love when they’re scared all the time! (See
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs ). And we won’t ever feel safe if we:
a. choose and then stay with abusers
b. stay shut down on our emotions, or over-react to every event
• The best defense is to become aware of what to look for (T) AND then to stay awake to our physical reactions that tell us how we’re feeling (E).
That’s why being in touch with our feelings, intuition & every nuance of emotion is so vital : paying attention to our inner responses allows us to know when who or what we encounter is appropriate or inappropriate – for us. Then we can act accordingly, to make our world easier to cope with. ACoAs need to feel safe before we can take in Love.
• As we clean out old pain we gain a clearer channel to our True Self, which includes having legitimate, in-the-moment interactions with our environment. Like having the ‘Ick Factor’ – that little jolt in the gut when we’re with a person that says or acts in away that is wrong for us. Whenever we experience that ICK with someone, and we’re awake to it, we need to say something, ask what they meant or say ouch! If you’ve spent a few days, weeks or months with them & they’re unable or unwilling to change, it’s time to curtail or eliminate the relationship.
NEXT: Characteristics of Abusers