Bad Relationship Advice: The Case of Abuse

There is one very important exception to the principles I discussed in my previous post.  If you are in a situation where abuse is involved, taking care of yourself or even leaving may very well be good advice.  In this case, this is not selfishness.  This is simply self-preservation. 

Abuse in any form is unacceptable.  The most common forms include physical, sexual, and emotional/verbal abuse.   Physical abuse is fairly easy to recognize.  It is intentionally inflicting physical harm, or preventing actions necessary to maintain life and safety.  Sexual abuse is forcing any sort of sexual contact (physical or visual) against another’s will. 

Emotional abuse can be far more difficult to identify.  This is also the area where friends and family make the most errors in giving advice.  You must be very careful in assessing emotional abuse.  I have often met with individuals whom were convinced that they were being emotionally abused, either because of their own conclusions, or of those close to them.  However, after observing what they deemed emotional abuse, I would find that it was their own personal insecurities that were abusing them, not their spouse.  Due to strong feelings of inadequacy or being unlovable that resulted from long past experiences, a minor inadvertent comment by their spouse could trigger an intense emotional response in them.  What was perceived as emotional abuse was nothing more than an “emotional landmine” that their spouse happened to stumble upon. 

I have just as often discovered that the one crying the abuse was a greater perpetrator than their “oppressor.”  Individuals often complain to others of those things they actually dislike most about themselves.  If you hate yourself for the way you lose your temper, you are likely very sensitive when others lose their tempers as well.

The moral of this story is that neither you nor those close to you are in the best position to determine whether you are being emotionally abused or not.  It is absolutely true that many times in abusive relationships it requires the encouragement of others in order to recognize and/or have the courage to stand against the abuse.  In the case of emotional abuse, it is very important that you seek out professional help in assessing and working through the issue.  You and those close to you are far too emotionally involved to make a reliable judgement.

Please don’t misunderstand, true emotional abuse is extremely damaging to an individual.  It can cause emotional and psychological problems that can persist for a lifetime.  In no way is my intention to diminish this fact.  It is my intention to reduce the damage done by perceived emotional abuse- those situations where an individual reacts rashly due to their incorrect perception that they are the victim.  Please be very careful in considering emotional abuse.  This, or any other type of abuse, should not be dealt with without the assistance of professional help.

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Published in: on March 18, 2009 at 11:44 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Your post is right-on.

  2. Wow! I’m going to link to this if that’s okay.

    • Please do. All I want is for people to get the right information that will be of the most benefit to them. The more it can be spread, the better!


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