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Emotional abuse can make you doubt your sanity

Emotional abuse can make you doubt your sanity
Emotional abuse can make you doubt your sanity
Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

Have you been feeling like you might be crazy? Are there times when you feel suicidal and that you just can’t stand one more day in your head? Have you been wondering if you might have a personality disorder? Do you find yourself struggling against depression repeatedly? Are you anxious and can’t quite put your finger on why? If so, it’s possible you might be living with emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is also known as psychological abuse. Emotional abuse affects the psychological well-being of the victim. The psychological trauma can manifest itself in the symptoms above.

A psychological abuser tells a victim what to think and what to feel. He begins by telling the victim that the victim’s thoughts and feelings are wrong but the abusers are right. An abuser is constantly telling a victim they are not being abused, that he’s not being mean, that she is not as smart as she should be, that her beliefs are odd or ludicrous. She begins to doubt her perception of her world. As Mary Susan Miller says in her book No Visible Wounds, "If we are made to believe we should be happy when we're miserable or should count ourselves lucky when we are cursing fate, we begin to believe there is something wrong with us."

A victim is living an experience and forms thoughts and feelings around that experience, she will form an opinion. But then the abuser comes along and tells her that her thoughts and feelings are wrong. He doesn't stop there though, he then tells her exactly what her thoughts and feelings should be. The victim makes a note, a memory of what the abuser thinks her thoughts and feelings should be according to the situation. The next time this situation or a similar one occurs she goes through her memory files to determine which thoughts and feelings would be correct. There are two files, hers and the abusers. She will choose the abuser’s as to avoid abuse or confrontation. She will present to the abuser the thoughts and feelings she has been told (by the abuser) are appropriate. A psychological abuser will then tell her once again that her thoughts and feelings are wrong. He changes the game, he changes the rules, he changes what he had told her is appropriate. There is no consistency to the correct program of behavior for her. This is where the true challenge to her sanity begins. Her self-confidence is completely eroded. She can’t trust herself to think and feel correctly. Her self-esteem is knocked down. Becoming completely dependent on the abuser is the result. The purpose of all abuse is to control. By controlling you, an abuser gets his own needs met above and before anyone else’s. When a victim is completely dependent the abuser has total control.

Living like this keeps a person in a constant state of anxiety. Anxiety can cause health problems. Headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, sleeplessness and fibromyalgia are common health conditions found in abuse victims. Drug and alcohol abuse is also common in abuse victims. Looking to escape the mental anguish and anxiety substance abuse becomes a tool.

If you think you might be a victim of emotional abuse take the quiz at the following link. It might help you to gain clarity on your situation. There are on-line support communities also. Helpful ones are as follows: Fighting to End Verbal and Emotional Abuse, Domestic Violence Support Group, and Freedom 2B. You are not alone and recovery is dependent upon support. Reaching out anonymously to one of these pages can be a step in the right direction for a new freedom.