Belittlement

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The definition of belittlement is to treat someone as less than.  This is something that happens all day, every day to a lot of people.  How do you treat your waitress?  How about the cashier?  It’s an easy, and apparently gratifying thing for many people to engage in.  But, even though belittling others is designed to make you look superior to them, what does it really say about the person who engages in it?  What I really want to talk about is how in your interpersonal relationships people really have to understand that just because someone is family, it doesn’t mean that the usual rules of engagement go out the window.

There is one person in my immediate family who has this habit of sitting and doodling wavy lines on a piece of paper whenever I open my mouth to say something.  Needless to say, I don’t often speak when he is around.  Instead, he speaks and I listen.  My assumption is that my role in our relationship is to listen to him and keep my mouth shut.  At least that is what our relationship has devolved to.  Does this make me want to spend any time with him?  No, of course not.  However, whenever I get upset about his behavior, I remind myself that this way of behaving says a lot more about him than it does about me.

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Being part of a community, no matter how large (or small), means that respect has to be shown as well as given.  One person can’t insist on respect while at the same time denying it to others.  There must be a mutual way of behaving, or any kind of communication will fail.  Has this behavior been directed at you?  Have you dealt with it, or have you just ignored it?  I understand that when one is in an inferior position (such as a waitress or cashier) there is really nothing to do but ignore this behavior.  However, when it occurs in a social (or family) relationship, how do you deal with it?  Let me know in the comments below.

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The Destructiveness of Verbal (Emotional) Abuse

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There are various forms of abuse, but verbal abuse often gets ignored, and/or brushed aside as though it doesn’t really have any effects on the person who is abused.  The reason for this is that it doesn’t leave any physical scars.  There are many people who believe that if there isn’t a physical scar, it doesn’t matter.   Many women who suffer from verbal abuse are told “at least it isn’t physical”.  Since this is a common statement, it can make the victims of verbal abuse feel like it must not be happening – it’s all in their heads.

What is verbal abuse, and how can you decide if this a part of your relationship with your significant other?  Here is a definition:  “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”1

Emotional abuse is also known as psychological abuse or as “chronic verbal aggression” by researchers. People who suffer from emotional abuse tend to have very low self-esteem, show personality changes (such as becoming withdrawn) and may even become depressed, anxious or suicidal.

https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/emotional-abuse-definitions-signs-symptoms-examples/

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There are many long-term effects of verbal (emotional) abuse that can include:  chronic pain, migraine, headaches, indigestion, bowel issues and stress-related heart conditions.  The psychological effects can include anxiety, depression, PTSD, memory gap disorders, sleep and/or eating disorders, hyper-vigilance or extreme startle response, anger issues, addiction issues, irritability and/or anger issues, suicide or self-mutilation.

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As you can see, being in a relationship where there is verbal (emotional) abuse has long-term effects.  The first thing you can do is figure out if you are in such a relationship.  The second thing you need to do is decide whether or not you want (need) to stay.  There should be no judgments on whether or not you decide to stay.  I understand that there are many considerations to be made.  If you’re dependent on the abuser, feel a need to stay; or whatever reason, this is your decision.  However, if you do decide to stay, being aware of the abuse is a step in the right direction.  You will no longer feel as if you’re “going crazy”, or wonder if you’re being “gas lighted”.  You will be aware, and can change your reactions to what is happening to you.

I’m leaving links in this post so that you can make yourself aware of what verbal (emotional) abuse is, what could be happening to your mental and physical health, and how you can care for yourself.  Be aware, be safe and be healthy.

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https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/verbal-abuse/effects-of-verbal-abuse-on-children-women-and-men/

https://www.7cups.com/blog/post/81/12+Effective+Ways+to+Defend+Yourself+From+Verbal+Abuse.html

https://www.californiapsychics.com/blog/mind-body-spirit/the-best-strategies-against-verbal-abuse.html

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The Effects of Constant Criticism

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I live with two people who are free with their criticism.  Some of this criticism includes such things as the way the spices are organized to the way I do my laundry.  If this was constructive criticism I wouldn’t be so upset.  However, it is not.  This is done specifically to make me feel “less than”. It takes a toll on a person, and I decided to do a little research into exactly what kind of effects this has on the person being criticized. One notable effect is that being constantly criticized can really affect your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.  This is true, since after I’ve been criticized I really feel sick, whether it’s a headache, upset stomach, or both.  Then I find that in the days following such an attack I just want to curl up in my bed, hide under the covers and do nothing.  It takes every ounce of energy I’ve got to continue on my path to change.

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When I looked up information on this subject, there was a lot of information regarding parents being overly critical of their children.   My parents were overly critical.  If I got a score of 100% correct, I was asked why I didn’t get 101%. When I graduated college with a double Major in four years, my Mother was upset that I didn’t also have a Minor.  My achievements were not recognized, only my “faults”.

So, I’m now struggling with this issue in my life, and either the attacks are getting worse, or I’m not dealing with the after-effects as well as in the past.  Being told to grow a thicker skin is not helpful, and not something I’d recommend to other people.  However, I try to look at the problems of the person who is attacking me.  As far as I’m concerned, the only reason they are attacking me has to do with them, not me.  If the criticism is valid, I look for the truths in it.  However, when the criticism is generally about how I do something, or say something, or in some cases just the very act of my being is the object of the criticism, then I try to remember that it’s not valid.   So, look into the critical statements, see if it’s valid and if it isn’t , consider the source.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-labermeier/negative-impact-of-criticism-_b_3829346.html

 

Dealing with an Overly Critical Family Member

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Family life can be fraught with all kinds of problems.  When four adults are living together, some issues are bound to come up.  However, the situation at my house regarding one family member has reached the nuclear stage.  Some recent criticisms include: I’m not “friendly enough” when I thought I was being perfectly friendly and nice; my tone of voice is as if I’m being critical (while I was asking someone how their day was), or that it’s just not “nice”; and the latest, while I was on the phone with my daughter – I was told that I looked like I “hated” who I was talking to.

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It seems that no matter what I do or say, how I say it, or look, there is something, or should I say everything wrong with me.  I’m at my wits end.  Does anyone have any suggestions about how I can deal with this person?  I end up in tears, feeling badly about myself when I know I haven’t done anything wrong.  I’ve been trying to hide, but that can only be accomplished sometimes.

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I’m not the only person who is being singled out, but I’m really dealing with more than my share of criticism.  In other words, no one else in the family is being bullied/abused as much as I am.  The sad thing is that I haven’t done anything to deserve this behavior.  I’ve only loved and helped this person all their lives.  I don’t understand it.   I truly don’t know what to do.  Does anyone have any solutions?  Please let me know.

We Remember What You Forget

Verbal abuse is just as devastating as physical abuse. The only difference is that you don’t have visible scars to prove that you’ve been abused. Without the visible bruising, it can be all too easy to pretend that you haven’t been hurt. After all, where is your proof? As I know from first-hand experience, it is really easy to be gas lighted when it comes to verbal abuse. You become confused and can start to believe the abuser when you are told everything is either your fault, or in your head. After all, there is no proof; and just as with a physical abuser, the verbal abuser is often seen as charming to other people.  Also, because there is no actual evidence of the abuse, the abuser denies that anything has happened.  It’s the hit and run of the abusive world.  After all is said, the abuser goes on his marry way leaving the abused to hide in the dark alone.

There are signs of verbal abuse that anyone in a relationship should be aware of, whether or not you feel that your partner is a bully. They can include: taking the brunt of a “joke”; always feeling like you are walking on egg shells to avoid setting off a temper tantrum; comments that are designed to make you lose your confidence; if you say that your feelings have been hurt, the problem is you – you are too sensitive.
http://psychcentral.com/lib/signs-you-are-verbally-abused-part-i/
http://liveboldandbloom.com/11/relationships/signs-of-emotional-abuse
http://www.verbalabuse.com/

The above websites can offer you more information and help then I can. This is a real problem, and it seems to be growing. Bullies are bullies, and there is no excuse for their behavior. I don’t believe in the thinking that they themselves must have been bullied, and so we must feel sorry for them. I was bullied, and since I know what it feels like, I wouldn’t want to abuse someone else.

Know and understand what is going on.   Above all else, don’t allow yourself to be gas lighted.  Don’t forgive and forget, when someone shows you who they are, pay attention!

Forgiveness

Do we have to forgive other people for the terrible things that they’ve done to us or to our loved ones? Is this something that’s mandatory for us to live happy lives? This is something that I’ve been wondering about for quite a few years. My family was exceedingly abusive to me all my life. It was mostly emotional abuse; however I was hit with a belt on my little naked butt often.  However, I’ve found that the emotional abuse is the abuse that’s had the most lasting effects.

I married and moved away from my family (emotionally) almost immediately. However, it wasn’t until I gave birth that I finally admitted that their behavior was anything but normal. For years I had been protecting myself by keeping most of my thoughts and deeds secret, and that was how I survived my early years. After marrying it was much easier to keep the majority of my life secret, and I learned to never speak my mind, or show any form of vulnerability, as it was always used against me in some manner.

My relationship with my family has been severed for about 18 years. This separation was not brought about on my own behalf; instead it took the abuse of my son to end these relationships. I’ve learned to live without my mother, father or sister in my life. In fact, I often consider myself lucky to not have to deal with such abuse on a daily basis.

However, I’ve been told by various people that I have to forgive and forge a new relationship with my family in order to “heal”. Why would I do that? Why would I have a relationship with people who are toxic to both me and my children? The answer is always because they are my birth family; my parents and my sister; as though that fact excludes the abuse that I and my son suffered at their hands. This to me is simply crazy. I’ve forgiven already by realizing that even though they didn’t treat me or my son well, they had their reasons. What those reasons were I don’t know, and don’t care to know. I take solace in the fact that they are out of my life, and have continued to improve my own life and my son’s simply by the fact they have no control over us. Forgiving is one thing; allowing the abuse to continue another. What are your thoughts on forgiving?