Before you go ahead and read this, I'd like to say a huge thank you to our contributing author this week for this article on Emotional Abuse, a topic we discussed on last week's Talk Tuesday. She took her time to write a pretty detailed article that covers the before, during and after of an abusive relationship so I have decided (with her permission) to split this into 3 segments.Enjoy!
THE BEFORE AND AFTER OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Life drops in a situation where the only thing controlling our actions is the force of attraction. We are so blinded by the traits we find appealing in the other party that we are not aware of when we are getting comfortable in our discomfort. This detrimental state of mind arises from abuse, which is any behavior that is used to gain and/or maintain power and control over another person. Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mental abuseis characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behaviors that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Using a preventive care approach, the obvious red flags indicating early warning signs of abusive tendencies in your partner need to be made more aware to individuals. Awareness is the best approach in curbing abuse because most abusers are able to mask these tendencies during the dating phase. By the time the abused starts picking up on the obvious red flags, a form of attachment has already been formed with the abuser that makes it difficult to leave the relationship.
Early Warning Signs of an Abusive Partner
- Entitlement: Individuals who have a sense of entitlement believe they deserve special consideration. They are driven by high standards of what they think they should get, and what should be done for them. They take this short-sighted perspective, and create the logic of getting compensation for their constant frustration.
- Superiority: It is the implication that someone is better than the other person, which is perceived through body language or tone of voice. This is due to the need to overcompensate for the inferiority complex. This is termed as having a hierarchical self-esteem, which makes one see the need to point out ways in which they are smarter, more sensitive, or more talented than others. An important type of hierarchical self-esteem is predatory self-esteem, which is categorized by the need to make others feel bad about themselves as the only means for the abusers to feel good about themselves. This behavior can appear seductive during the dating phase, as the abuser might also point out ways in which you are superior.
- Resentment: This is a negative mood caused by focus on perceptions of unfairness. Resentful partners feel like they are not getting the help, consideration, praise, or affection they believe is due to them. Resentment is used as a defense mechanism against a sense of failure or inadequacy. Abusers waste emotional energy by dwelling on the unfairness of others, while remaining oblivious to their own unfairness. They are so caught up in their ‘rights’ and fixated on their own perspective that they become totally insensitive to the rights and perspectives of others. Indulging in a relationship with a resentful partner will make you the cause of that resentment and feel diminished in the relationship.
- Deceit (Intentional and Unintentional): Unintentional deceit happens when one is trying to be the ‘dating self’, which is depicted by the exaggeration of our good qualities that is meant less to deceive than to motivate the self. The abuser tries to develop the qualities you like, which explains the blatant deception. Deceit shows a low level of self-respect that can lead to a disruptive relationship.
- Blame-Game: It is safe to steer clear of a person who blames his or her negative feelings and unfortunate events on someone else. People who play the blame game are usually referred to as “Blamers”. Their blame of others can make you look like a decent and compassionate by comparison. This behavior can make the partner think the blamer just needs some understanding and love of a good companion to give a bright perspective on life. The Law of Blame explains that the blame eventually goes to the closest person due to the abuser’s inability to take responsibility for his or her feelings and actions. Blamers are considered unsafe to love because they usually suffer from victim identity. This means that they take up the role of the victims. They feel that their actions, retaliation they enact and whatever compensation they take are justified.
Guest Article by: Justina Ikwu
If you missed that very enlightening #TalkTuesday conversation that birthed this article, please click here. See you next Wednesday for Part 2 where Justina discusses with us some "Signs that you are in an abusive relationship". Part 3: Post-Abusive Relationship: A Road to Discovery