Emotional Abuse: Do You Abuse Others?

It is usually painless to ask yourself whether or not you love someone. However, it is much harder to ask yourself whether or not you cause them emotional pain. When do you know that you are abusing someone you love?

To immediately ask yourself, “Do I abuse my partner?” may cause you to panic. It may bring feelings of denial and shame, forcing you to shut down before you’ve really started.

Sometimes it is easiest to work from the outside in – start with those you have small affections for, and analyze how you treat them. As you consider your actions towards others, and the results of those actions, move farther into the circle of people you love. Think about your friends, your extended family, your parents, and finally your partner. Don't think only about what you do, but what feedback people give you. Is there open communication, or do they ignore or submit? Are you often told you need to work on something, and usually just ignore it?

Confronting your own shameful actions can be hard to deal with, like watching a soap opera of your life. We try to deny that our relationships are often full of drama and little subtleties that can throw a wrench in things and make us hurt one another.

Learning to handle relationships in a healthy way cannot begin until we confront these bad memories – either ones we caused or ones we were subject to. In thinking about your relationships with others, try not to focus simply on what they do to you, but how you react and what you do to them in return. Are there patterns that seem to emerge? Do you handle many situations in the same way? How do people react to you when you act that way?

If you have trouble finding a start, watch someone else’s drama unfold – either on TV or in real life. How do they interact? As they hurt each other (as people in dramatic situations are prone to do), do they retaliate in anger, turn away and withdraw, avoid it by doing something else, or blame themselves and become a trembling mass of nerves?

Once you begin recognizing these harmful traits in others (and their consequences), you can return to an analysis of your own actions. Without doing this, it is impossible to determine which attitudes need to change in order to preserve the relationships that are most important to you. Once you recognize it in yourself, you will also be able to recognize it in the people who hurt you.

Neil Warner

Neil Warner

I'm the “relationship guru,” and my main focus is to increase the quality of love-based relationship experiences. In this ground-breaking guide I offer useful strategies on healing a difficult angry relationship with love and compassion. You don't have to stay in an unhealthy relationship one more minute. Let us share our tools with you today, you can get your own copy of the ebook: Healing Emotional Abuse.

 

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