Friday, October 28, 2011
A guest article from Natalie Hunter, who blogs for onlineschools.org
Have you ever been made to feel as if you were in denial about the reality of the things that happen in your relationship? The harder that you try to persuade your partner of your feelings, the more that you find yourself believing his version of events. Whether it comes from your spouse, significant other or your boss, this is a sign of an emotionally abusive relationship.
You don't need to attend an online school to learn emotionally abusive relationships are characterized by an imbalance of power. This is your abuser's secret weapon when it comes to keeping you firmly where they want you. The weapon comes with many different types of ammunition, such as:
• Gaslighting- In this situation the abuser will feed you false information that will cause you to doubt your own memory and perception of events. Generally the three tactics they will be to deny, minimize or blame the abuse on you. They can be so convincing that before long you believe what they tell you about your own reality.
• Intimidation- An abuser may display weapons, make you afraid, hurt your pets or break your belongings.
• Emotional Abuse- Name calling, insulting, humiliation, and instilling feelings of guilt are common campaign to make you feel inferior to them.
• An abuser may also coerce, threaten, use male privilege or your children as tools to keep you in line.
Many people think of domestic violence in terms of the classic image of a blue-collar guy in a wife-beater shirt, smacking a lady around. Yet, this isn’t always the case. Just because someone has never hit you doesn't mean they aren't abusing you in other ways. Abusers are masters of stealing your personal power by demeaning you, not taking you seriously, and refusing to own up to their actions.
Abusive relationships take a toll on women at home and in the work place. Abuse leads to a downward spiral of poor self-esteem, and conditions you to be accepting of this type of behavior. However this conduct may not be limited to the home, bullies at work often use many of the same techniques. Some may be more aggressive than others, engaging in a variety of actions.
They may be overt, such as making disrespectful comments about you, or covert in their means of belittling you. However the Workplace Bullying Institute reports as many as 46 percent of Americans have experienced some form of abuse. A few of the symptoms include:
• Belittling, criticizing and humiliation.
• Threatening by stares, gestures or appearing hostile.
• Failure to acknowledge good work, creating unrealistic job expectations or excessive micro-management of work.
In our society, women are often pre-conditioned to accept this behavior. Taught from an early age to put the needs of others before themselves, females often end up trying to uphold a double standard. It may be true that, to some degree, women are hardwired to be more empathetic. Yet that doesn’t mean you have to end up a victim, being the proverbial doormat for someone to wipe their feet on. Tolerance of abusive relationships can lead to desensitization, which leaves you vulnerable to further abuse.
Enduring an abusive relationship at home creates a level of tolerance that spills over into the work environment. When you accept that your opinion is less valuable than that of others, it creates a dynamic that sets you up for a repetitive pattern of believing what you are told about yourself. This can be extremely damaging to your self-esteem, and may hinder professional advancement. Insist on a healthy relationship, where there is mutual respect.
Characteristics of a healthy relationship include:
• Listening without passing judgment on how someone should feel.
• Understanding about emotions and attach importance to opinions.
• Respecting that everyone has a right to their own thoughts, activities and feelings.
• Ensuring that behavior allows for safe and comfortable communication.
• Accepting responsibility for actions and accountability for actions.
By insisting on, and modeling respectful behavior, it is possible for you to overcome the negative self-image that many women develop. Achieving harmony and success both at home and in the workplace, is an attainable goal. Knowledge and understanding of why abusive situation occur can go a long way towards developing successful strategies for overcoming this destructive cycle.