I spent the morning researching how to stop emotional abuse in a marriage and how to respond appropriately when you feel that you are being emotionally abused or manipulated. I don’t know if any of this information will help me right now because Ross’s issues have just as much to do with his addictions as they do with his management of emotions, but I thought that it would still be worth a google.
The first set of tips I found was from a site called marriage.com
- Don’t negotiate – When you are being emotionally abused, you start to question yourself and ignore your own needs in order to fix the situation. This site says that the first step to stopping emotional abuse is to stop doing this. Easier said than done, but we need to make our mental and emotional health a priority and do what we need to do to take care of ourselves. Don’t give in to the instinct to please and help to fix the other person when their actions and behaviors have but you in a bad place mentally and emotionally. Pay attention to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Acknowledge your needs and don’t neglect yourself for the sake of your abuser.
- Identify the cycle – I talked a bit about the toxic cycles in my relationships yesterday. To identify the pattern, look for signs of abuse in the marriage and not the things that triggers them. Once you have identified the pattern, you will be more prepared to deal with the abuse when it comes up. In my marriage, I feel that Ross is definitely triggered by criticism about his behavior and drug use. Any time he is asked to take accountability for his actions he goes into defense mode and starts lashing out at myself and sometimes even his mother. He is also triggered when he feels threatened that I am going to leave him. When this happens, he uses emotional abuse to make me feel small and worthless. He insults me and tries to make me feel like I am nothing without him and that he will be better off without me. Otherwise he can be a bit neglectful, but he usually only crosses the line into emotional abuse and manipulation in these two circumstances.
- Draw the line – Something tells me that this is the hardest part. This site says that you have to draw the line subtly, but it really does not give any tips to doing this. How are you supposed to draw the line with someone who is emotionally volatile and abusive? If they are in a place of being triggered, they certainly won’t listen to reason when you try to tell them that they are pushing you too far. In some really bad cases, this may even trigger physical abuse for some. There has to be some other tactic that could work here. Maybe I will find it in further research. However, I think that it is safe to say that boundaries should be introduced to the abusive partner when they are sober and calm.
- It is not your fault – Thank you, I know this lol.
- Some things are out of your control – I don’t know about this piece of advice. It states that, as I mentioned before, trying to stop abuse can sometimes make it worse. Therefore, you should focus on coping with it. Personally, I feel like this is garbage advice. No one should stay in a situation where they are mistreated. The behavior should change, or the relationship should end. The time limit placed on that is totally up to the people in the relationship. You do need to take care of yourself while the abuse is happening, but never resign yourself to it.
- Stop reacting – Abusers often do what they do for the control and reaction, if you don’t react the way they want you to, then they will eventually stop. I wonder if this is true. I wonder if I just walk away the next time Ross is triggered if it will make the situation any better. I will try it and let you know.
- Have support and positive people around you
An article on the healthyplace provides a bit more advice. They suggest that you try to understand the abuser from an objective perspective. Healthy people don’t abuse others, and often times abusers are dealing with their own mental and emotional challenges. Viewing an abuser in this way will help you to keep the, in context, meaning that it will remind you that you are not the real problem. When they emotionally abuse you, they are acting from a place of pain within themselves. This does not make the abuse okay, but understanding this may help you to cope and discover productive ways of addressing the abuse. Don’t cower and back down, this will let them know that their emotional abuse is not working. Also, it is important to remain calm, direct, and emotionally composed during a confrontation. If they see you are crying and breaking down, it will encourage the emotional abuse because they will be able to see that it is working. Don’t engage in interactions with them when they are triggered. Take control of the situation by engaging with them in calm relaxed environments when possible.
I don’t really know if I found what I was looking for today, but I didn’t expect things to be cut and dry. Each case of emotional and physical abuse is unique and requires a unique approach. In my case, I think that I should remain aware that Ross’s abuse is heightened by his addictions. I will not be able to talk to him logically when he is fucked up, so I should probably distance myself from him and return to the issue when he is calm and sober (if that ever happens). I have also noticed that he does not react well to feeling blamed or threatened. Ultimatums don’t work with him. Maybe if I try to come at him from more positive and encouraging angles I may have more luck?
Even though I don’t feel like I currently abuse others, it could be because I haven’t had the chance. I haven’t cheated on Ross in years, so how am I to know how I would behave if a healthy partner came into my life? Perhaps this is something I should address at another time, but I wanted to look into some tips that may help me with this. What I found is that I should first take the time to understand why I have the urge to act in an emotionally manipulative way towards my partner. I need to ask myself where this urge came from, why am I like this? This is something that I am already doing now. Next, I have to commit to change. Take accountability for hurting others and determine to do better in the future. To do this, I have to educate myself about emotional manipulation and abuse, understanding how I have been both the victim and the perpetrator of this. Again, this is something that I am doing right now. Be humble and listen to others. Make sure to ask them how you are making them feel and what you could do better to make them feel heard and safe. Be patient throughout your healing process. You should also be patient with the people that you have hurt in the past, as many may not be able to forgive you. Personally, I think it is also healthy to note that you may need to do some of your healing alone so you are not putting the people you love in a place where they may be victimized. Forgive yourself and others and learn to live a mindful life where you are aware you your thoughts, feeling, behaviors, and the motivation behind them.
I think that another key point about the Knight of Cups reversed is that he tends to romanticize things, seeing them as better or worse than they really are. I think that I may spend tomorrow searching for ways that I do this in my own life. I also want to spend some time this week exploring how I may be remaining in the dream or fantasy phase when I should be taking action. If I need to come back and explore more emotional abuse things then I will. Lastly, I need to give some thought to how I can use the energy of the King of Wands to fix some of these issues and to integrate what I have learned about my shadow.
These shadow work posts are truly intended for my own self discovery and development, but I thank those of you who took the time to read this. I will be working with my shadow aspects and self development needs relating to the Knight of Cups reversed until I feel that I am ready to move onto a new card/topic.
Love Always, AnxiouslyM