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Author Topic: Discussion Emotional Abuse

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Discussion Emotional Abuse
OP: March 04, 2020, 04:47:10 AM
Physical abuse hardly needs to be spelled out. 

Emotional abuse, on the other hand, is often insidious, and the perpetrator may employ devious methods.  One of these methods is gaslighting.  The abuser, by various means, highlights what’s wrong with the abused, and can eventually convince the gaslightee and peripheral people, such as friends and relatives, that she is indeed nuts. 

Gaslighting is one of the master techniques narcissistic people employ in controlling the gaslightees.  In other words, narcissism, controlling behaviours and gaslighting may be tightly linked in many abuse situations.

Some victims of abuse are not aware that it is taking place, sometimes because it has been a way of life for many years or even decades; they see the way they are treated as quite normal.  Some abusers are not aware the fact that they are actually abusive because they have convinced themselves that they are being kind and that it is for the good of the abused.  That is one of the reasons why it is very difficult to spot and address emotional abuse. 

It may be beneficial for LBSs to carefully examine what emotional abuse is and find ways to address it in order to protect herself/himself and her/his children.   

Useful information about emotional abuse:

https://www.verywellmind.com/identify-and-cope-with-emotional-abuse-4156673

There are any number of online resources you may find useful.

Please consider the following.

People become trapped in abusive relationships for many reasons, some of which are:

- financial dependence on the abuser
- wanting to have a complete family unit for their children’s sake
- being afraid to leave
- disbelief or denial that the partner is actually abusive
- severe depression or low self-esteem that makes them think the abuse is their fault
- believing that if the abuser loves them, it’s okay, and they can change the behaviour

Some of them sound familiar to you?  We occasionally read about them on HS. 

It might also be useful to consider that abuse in relationship often occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is an entitlement, acceptable, or justified, all of which can be described as toxic narcissist attitudes.

Emotional abuse is no less harmful than physical abuse.  In fact, it may be more sinister. 

What are your thoughts and experiences?
If you were at the receiving end of abuse, what did you do about it?
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Feb 2015: BD. 
Dec 2017: Seriously reconnecting

H never left home.

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Re: Emotional Abuse
#1: March 04, 2020, 05:11:48 AM
Thank you for starting another great topic. I think emotional abuse can be a hallmark of MLCers, or even LBSes or self proclaimed LBSes as their spouses may be desperately trying to escape the grips of years or decades of emotional abuse. Emotional abusers tend to be very controlling, not just in financial but in all aspects of life. And a lot of time they will also act like they are the sole source of truth and knowledge. They will present themselves as authorities in area they are not. Another hallmark is rejection of all other viewpoints, complete lack of ability to take anything that conflicts with their control narrative, and even when challenged they will try to control the environment to negate anything that contradicts their narrative. This is both internal (finding ways to discount contradictory information) and external (by removing people or information that disrupts their narrative).

Not that it matters but people who are emotional abusers are trying to gain a feeling of being ok, so they will try to exert that control on others as a way to feel, well in control, able and safe. But the truth is they tend to be highly insecure, emotionally immature and developmentally operating from a much younger age. And finally sometimes the abusers will even present themselves as the victim to others, which is part of the gaslighting theme you pointed out. And go as far as “I have no choice to do this” or “I have to take care of myself this way.”

It is interesting that emotional abuse and narcissism tend to highly correlated.
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No Kids, 23 years at BD1 (4 years), married 21
First signs of MLC Jan '15
BD 1 Jan '17, BD 2 Mar, Separated Apr, BD 3 May,BD 4 Jun '18
First Sign of Waking up-Dec '17, First Cycle out of MLC Mar '18-Jun ‘18, Second cycle Jul '18-??
Meets OM Jan '17 and acts "in love," admits "in love" Jun '18, asks for divorce Jul '18

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Emotional Abuse
#2: March 04, 2020, 05:28:09 AM
Amen!  To that end, it can be hard in life as fixers to separate the unhealthy habits because we see someone hurting.  We want to see the good.  Our brains start to feel like mush and our gut no longer warns us.  This is the by-product of co-dependency problems on our part.  We accept their pain as an act of love, no matter what healthy boundaries must be enacted.  They need to search as well why were they attracted to us?  Was it love? Was it for all those horrible traits a narcissist needs to have a subservient victim? What were we lacking that this became ok?  Love doesn't hurt in these scenarios.  It should lift one another up and edify. 

The world has us believing good is evil and evil is good.  I believe we all have these traits to some degree.  It's with the crisis that everything becomes so amplified that it can be down right scary. Once the work is done by both parties a whole new level of boundaries, love, respect and forgiveness can start to take place.  It certainly takes two to make it and two to break it depending on what we put back into it if both parties are wanting serious change and to stay the course.
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Re: Emotional Abuse
#3: March 04, 2020, 06:35:29 AM
Great Thread Acorn and very interesting topic.
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Married - 19,5 Years pre BD
Together - 21,5 Years
Me: 46
W: 46 (Acts 25)
BD 1: 10.01.2017
BD 2: 24.02.2017 OM 28 (now 31) Trainings partner. Is tolerated by LaFamiglia
2 Sons - 20 & 21
1 Dogs and a cat.
Own home . Sold!
Divorce Date 21.08.2018
T1  http://mlcforum.theherosspouse.com/index.php?topic=8671.0

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Emotional Abuse
#4: March 04, 2020, 08:36:39 AM
Imho fwiw....and I so agree with Marvin....most LBS and most LBS kids experience some level of emotional abuse. Being able to accept that as part of this experience is necessary to establish decent boundaries around what is acceptable to you as a human being and to avoid owning things that don't belong to you.

A simple thing like lying. Which most of our ex/spouses do. Lying about something which is germane to your ability to make informed choices about your own life is a form of emotional abuse imho. Bc it removes your power and allows someone else to exercise control in a given situation.

I don't believe that our ex/spouses in crisis always do this with the primary intention in their head of abusing us tbh. Sometimes they do, but not always. Sometimes it is simply that their desire to shape a narrative or avoid dealing with the reality of their behaviour is superordinate. But it is still emotional abuse and it is still about control.

Looking back - and I experienced a number of different kinds of abuse, some active and some passive - I think the most emotionally abusive thing my xh did was to present the story that our situation was entirely about his diagnosis of depression. For several months. That was true....but it was far from the whole truth. And I made choices based on believing that which damaged my life and wellbeing.

Closer to the factual reality was that he was a severely depressed man under psychiatric care trying to keep his options open while spending money like water, investing energy in another relationship and discussing me/our m with other people, thereby giving them a voice about my life while ignoring mine. Had I known that, I would have made different choices most probably. I am still responsible for the choices I made. I could have made others. But he used my ignorance, my trust and my understandable concern for him as weapons against me. And that is emotional abuse imho.

Seeing abuse for what it is tbh is part of reclaiming ones own agency and sense of normality.

What do you see as the worst example of emotional abuse in your situation?
And how intentional do you think it was by your spouse?
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« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 08:40:52 AM by Treasur »
T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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Emotional Abuse
#5: March 04, 2020, 09:20:57 AM
Gaslighting is by far the worst, imo. I remember driving to visit people and XH would pick a fight in the car. Then he walk into the party like Mr. Charming, and I was left to put myself back together, totally confused as to why that even happened. I finally started driving in a separate car, but didn't realize why I had started doing it. This was during the pre-BD ramp up.

The main thing that happened as the verbal abuse ramped up was that I backed away. It was like he needed to fight over nothing. There were plenty of places we could justly disagree, but he never settled on one of those, just stupid stuff, and always making something he could easily have done, too, my fault for it not being done. My result was that I did less, withdrew more, and did my own thing since he was not available. Addressing the situation was no help because he lied and denied.

So I have to say in my case, I tried to find out what was wrong, I could see and feel it. I was gaslighted and told I was imagining things. So my only choice to protect my sanity was to back away.

After BD, overt monster got told that he had no cause or right to speak to me that way, that I GET to have my own opinion, and that he treated complete strangers better than he did me. I learned really quick not to argue, just state my truth and repeat same, no matter what else he said. He didn't monster very long as it's hard to be the only one in the argument, but you need a very strong sense of self. At one point, pre -BD, I wasn't sure I had any sense of self left, I was so confused at what was happening, but after BD it made some weird kind of sense, and my sense of self came back to the surface.

Gaslighting can make you doubt your own reality, it's why it's a favorite of abusers. It's why the LBS sometimes becomes a researcher and even a stalker, trying to find what is real and what is lies.

What I learned is whether XH ever comes around, or if I find anyone else, or even in my friendships, if I feel like my reality is being manipulated, they get one chance when I directly address it to them. If it happens again, I'm out of that relationship. Heck, I do not tolerate it at work. I'm still surprised I was never fired, but my boss seems to respect me for (quietly) calling him on his BS in a factual way.

I'll take recognizing gaslighting as a gift from MLC. I had never experienced it before, to my knowledge, but I sure see it when it happens now.
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« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 09:23:32 AM by OffRoad »
When life gives you lemons, make SALSA!

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Emotional Abuse
#6: March 04, 2020, 09:43:25 AM
 I was thinking about the emotional abuse aspect recently. I’m a strong woman and to have the realisation that my daughter and I were abused is frightening. I never thought I would/could be. In addition there was an element of physical (for want of a different word) abuse towards my daughter as on a few occasions he would leave her watching tv and sitting in her own urine/faeces while he was in his bedroom. The babysitter would come home and find my poor daughter covered. He couldn’t be bothered taking care of her.

Treasur - I remember telling ex if he had told me about the OW I would have made the decision for him and told him to bugger off. Like your husband he made me believe he was going through a depression and needed to be in familiar environment so wanted to move back to our home country. For a year I supported a husband through “depression” encouraging him to meet his “friends”. What a sucker I was. He was very conscious of his lies and he knew what he was doing. He fed all our mutual friends the lie that he was severely depressed and there was no one else. He lied to friends and family constantly. My ex had planned the story and was manipulating all the characters - I think he thought he was machiavelli. Unfortunately for him, he lost control of the story and everyone found out about the affair. Tbh I think his current depression is caused by shame and not because he lied but because he got caught lying. He knew he was lying the whole time. He even told me he lies about small things and he doesn’t know why. He still lies that’s why I’ve blocked him as I don’t need to speak to an empty man. The lies are just a form of emotional abuse and I have to protect myself and my daughter.
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Me- 47 at BD
MLC husband -45 at BD
1 daughter - 2 1/2 years at BD
BD 1 - January 6, 2018 moves out
November 2018 - moves back in for 1 month then leaves saying relationship over, wants a divorce then flies over last minute to be with OW on holiday.
BD 2 - OW confirmed December 14, 2018 - meeting up with her for holiday
BD3 - engaged to OW December 21, 2018
BD 4 - tells me he is moving back to home country on January 27, 2019. Gives me 5 days notice. His flight date is February 1, 2019.

I just want the money and him out of my life!

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Re: Emotional Abuse
#7: March 04, 2020, 10:17:57 AM
Quote
What a sucker I was. He was very conscious of his lies and he knew what he was doing.

Limboland,
This was one of the most difficult abuses that I had to overcome during our reconnection.
The layers of betrayal involved in his lie-telling was infinite. There were times I "helped" him to have his affair: he was so stressed & overworked I would do things like change my entire schedule so he could stay at work late.

When he returned to our marriage I had to rely on myself & an unwavering sense of who I was with my own strengths & resourcefulness  to move beyond it.

For me, the betrayal of lies & gaslighting was much more damaging & toxic than the betrayal of him having sex with his ow.
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« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 10:20:14 AM by sada »
Sada
Married 13 years, together 23
Apr 2014: PA discovered, ow 22 yrs younger
May 2014: "I love her & she loves me"
("But I'll always love you the most")
Jun 2014: Left home to live w OW
Aug 2014: Back home. "Sorry, made mistakes"
Late 2015: Ow2 (a couple of dates I think). Monster
  returned for several months 
Today: H progressing thru mlc positively. Has remained
  home and reconciled
Arguments & disagreements very infrequent
Enjoying our time together

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Emotional Abuse
#8: March 04, 2020, 01:05:10 PM
there is such a thing as reactive abuse - when the trauma and frustration caused by emotional abuse causes a victim to respond in kind.  I know it might be said we are responsible for our own reactions and that we can’t be ‘caused’ to feel so strongly that we might be abusive back, but I don’t really buy it. At least not at first during the crisis.  It is definitely possible to ‘make’ someone feel bad feelings.

I suppose I’m thinking that rather than a lot of abusive people in this forum, we have people behaving immaturely because they are traumatised as well as  because most of us have some issues of our own to handle.  Apart from this aspect, I see more people bending themselves all ways to appease their mlc spouse; getting confused about boundaries and getting far too excited about basic civil communication from spouses or thinking manipulative behaviour is a positive sign.

There’s nothing abnormal about any of this, but imo, there are remarkably few abusive spouses outside of emotional outbursts, which are usually the result of some appalling behaviours on the part of errant partners and Im reluctant to see people who are taking steps to protect themselves or fight their corner admonished for not doing it ‘right’.

I Mean, an ongoing affair with all it entails, or neglect of finances or children is causing trauma at the very least on a micro level which gathers and builds and becomes something more significant and is fundamentally abusive.  Isn’t it? 



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Re: Emotional Abuse
#9: March 05, 2020, 07:41:00 AM
Quote
What a sucker I was. He was very conscious of his lies and he knew what he was doing.

Limboland,
This was one of the most difficult abuses that I had to overcome during our reconnection.
The layers of betrayal involved in his lie-telling was infinite. There were times I "helped" him to have his affair: he was so stressed & overworked I would do things like change my entire schedule so he could stay at work late.

When he returned to our marriage I had to rely on myself & an unwavering sense of who I was with my own strengths & resourcefulness  to move beyond it.

For me, the betrayal of lies & gaslighting was much more damaging & toxic than the betrayal of him having sex with his ow.

Sada thank you for your response. I think you are an amazing woman to find that strength to move on from the lies and betrayal. As you were reconnecting did you ever feel that by allowing him back into your life you would be damaging your spirit? My mlcer’s father cheated and His mum allowed him to come back and they’ve been together for over 50 years. But I think she sacrificed her voice and her desires to keep her husband happy. She was too scared that he would leave again so everything focused on keeping him happy. I think my mlcers mum was living in a constant state of self sabotage. A few years ago her father passed away and she was left some money. It was the first time she spoke up against him.....she had the power back and she was voicing it,

As you mentioned the sex with another woman is a form of abuse but the barrage of lies takes it to a new level. It’s been over two years of lies and although I see peeks of the old husband he continues to lie and his words don’t match the actions. Once again this is another form of emotional Abuse. Maybe one day his words will match his actions but until then I have to protect myself and my daughter.
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Me- 47 at BD
MLC husband -45 at BD
1 daughter - 2 1/2 years at BD
BD 1 - January 6, 2018 moves out
November 2018 - moves back in for 1 month then leaves saying relationship over, wants a divorce then flies over last minute to be with OW on holiday.
BD 2 - OW confirmed December 14, 2018 - meeting up with her for holiday
BD3 - engaged to OW December 21, 2018
BD 4 - tells me he is moving back to home country on January 27, 2019. Gives me 5 days notice. His flight date is February 1, 2019.

I just want the money and him out of my life!

 

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