Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Nasty Mind Games
Emotional abuse can be as bad as physical abuse

  Emotional abuse has always been around. However, it is only of late that it is being recognized, defined and classified. Many of us may be victims (sometimes, unaware) of emotional abuse in our daily lives. Like physical abuse, emotional abuse can be severe and leaves behind scars. It can drain a person's confidence and self-respect.

  A perpetrator uses emotional abuse to demoralize his/her victim. It can occur in any relationship - among spouses, relatives, friends or colleagues. Emotional abuse may be defined as the use of inappropriate emotions to run down another person.

  Why do people indulge in emotional abuse? The purpose may vary, but it could be the result of some personality disorder.

  An emotionally abusive relationship may be difficult to recognize, for unlike in a physically abusive relationship, the attack here is more about words and actions designed to humiliate.  Milder and temporary forms of emotional abuse can be observed in daily life - for instance, road rage or being roughed up or knocked around in a crowd. But, it becomes a problem when the abuse is long standing, has an ulterior motive or is targeted at a single person.

  Emotional abuse often begins with ignoring and disregarding the victim. Next in order may be overbearing behavior followed by snubbing, criticizing, fault finding, etc. Harsher forms such as a verbal assaults, screaming, calling names, intimidating, threatening, etc. follow

  However, the more vulnerable or timid one is, the more hurt or offended one feels. So, it's best to have a tough exterior to fight emotional abuse.

  How do you know if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship? Look around. Analyse your relationship with others. Do you have a friend, relative or colleague who tries to control you, or ridicules and insults you before others? Then, deal firmly without cowering. Yet, sometimes, it may not be easy. However, you can tackle the situation by setting your priorities right and end the unwanted taunts.

  Emotional abuse can even lead to manic depression or schizophrenia in extreme cases. In families, a parent may be unknowingly abusing a child by adopting corrective measures that may have serious repercussions. At the work place, too, an emotionally abusive boss can have a discouraging and dispiriting effect, robbing the employees of their true potential.

  However, before coming to any conclusion, and trying to deal with the abusers in your life, think again. Most often, we identify ourselves as the victims and never the villains. So, take a closer look at yourself and the nature of your relationships. Are you intentionally or unintentionally making someone's life uneasy and miserable? You too, may then be an emotional abuser, unaware of the pain and discomfort you are causing. Examine your relationships. Set things right and make life friendly; IT IS EVERY INDIVIDUAL'S BIRTHRIGHT TO BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY.

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