PREVIOUS: Abuse of Children – #3
SEE ACRONYM Page for abbrev.
REVIEW – Emotional Abuse
E.A. is an ongoing pattern of behavior designed to control, manipulate and defeat another, & usually occurs behind closed doors. It’s any nonphysical behavior or attitude that intimidates, enslaves, demeans & punishes another person by using devaluation, humiliation & fear. It includes yelling, screaming, name-calling, & subtler tactics such as isolating a person from family and friends, invalidating their thoughts and feelings, & refusing to be pleased with anything.
• Generally, men need & want relationships, but tend to get their basic sense of identity from work & career, academic achievement, athletic success &/or material gain — while women most often base their whole identity on the number, quality & intensity of their relationships. Because of that, women are more vulnerable to being abused. The need to be a ‘good’ daughter, wife, mother, friend, co-worker…. makes them willing to do just about anything to maintain those connections, usually to their detriment.
VICTIM (Def.) There are 2 broad categories of Vs – one is voluntary (for a principle or religious belief, in war, to save a loved one….) & the other is not. For our purpose a Victim is anyone who suffers continual harm from another – when a child, as an invalid or the elderly – by being:
– emotionally tortured, & mentally disoriented
– the target of someone’s anger, ridiculed, punked, or teased
– punished for the errors or stupidity of others
– tricked, swindled, manipulated or taken advantage of
– the focus of unrealistic & excessive expectations
– physically neglected or injured
– being subjected to attacks, oppression, hardship & other mistreatment
PS: Obviously functioning adults are victimized as well, but they have many options that the other types don’t, whether they use them or not. See chart below.
• As a result of long-term abuse, usually starting in childhood, a person comes to see themselves in the role of Victim – they feel helpless and are passive in the face of current or future misfortune or ill-treatment. This is called “learned helplessness”. Not being allowed to think for themselves, they become gullible & therefore easily deceived, cheated & controlled. They seek out bullies to attach themselves to, or hide from everyone. As seen in the last post, not all Vs look like it. They can act weak & incapable, or hide their vulnerability behind anger, hyper-activity & knowledge. But their personal life will usually tell.
• Vs who need to be in a relationship – at all costs – will tend to keep choosing some type of abuser. They may be of either gender, high or low functioning, underprivileged or highly accomplished. For exp, many famous & talented men & women have been victims of domestic violence, such as Carol Channing, Reba McEntire, Madonna, Phil Harman, Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Hawking, etc.
We know from reports that some of these stayed with their Ps long-term, (Ms. Channing, Pres. Lincoln…) while others got themselves out. Some chose better & some repeated the harmful pattern – as suggested by the list below. (the Men….) (the Women….)
MARTYR vs VICTIM : This distinction is naturally about ‘functioning’ adults, who are making conscious or unconscious choices regarding a bad situation they find themselves in. The difference between the two is that Martyrs are self-aware (sort of) & Vs re in denial – at least to start with.
NEXT: Traits of Victims – (Part 2)