Healing from Emotional Abuse in Beverly Hills, MI —Therapy and Counseling
When children taunt each other, they are often told, “sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The rhyme is usually offered with the intention of comforting, but even children know its words do not ring true. Most people intuitively know the harm words can cause. Many wounds do not bleed. When people attempt to control others through words of emotional manipulation, then those words can cause trauma and be emotional abuse.
Any relationship can be emotionally abusive. It can occur within a marriage, from parents to children, in a religious community, at work, among friends, and more. Healthy relationships allow people freedom to have their own thoughts, feelings, and choices. People can disagree without withdrawing, but emotional abuse does not allow for such freedom. Emotional abuse seeks to control and dominate.
Advocate and author Aisha Mirza captures the harm emotional abuse can cause: “It is not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.” If you have experienced wounds to your heart or scars upon your mind, know that resources and help are available. Counseling has helped many people find emotional safety and heal from emotional abuse.
The counselors at Thriveworks Beverly Hills see the invisible wounds of emotional abuse. We offer holistic care and have helped many victims find healing.
Emotional Abuse: Love Should Be Kind
Healthy relationships promote freedom, allow for disagreements, and respect choices. True love is humble, patient, and kind. In contrast, emotional abuse denigrates, controls, and agitates.
Defining emotional abuse can be difficulty because it is often subtle. The particular circumstances of the abuse will vary greatly, but it almost always follows the same pattern—emotions become weapons to control other people. Examples are often helpful:
- Displaying possession of another person or acute jealousy (“You belong to me”).
- Shaming, embarrassing, criticizing, humiliating, mocking, or name-calling, especially in public (“If you weren’t so stupid…”).
- Deflecting personal responsibility for their choices and behaviors (“You’re not perfect either, you know!”).
- Cutting off a person’s contact with their family and friends (“How dare you spend time with her before me!”).
- Giving/withholding love or affection to get what they want (If you… then I will…).
- Placing false blame upon another person (Accusations of wrongdoing upon another person when that person is known to be innocent).
- Dismissing another person’s thoughts, experiences, and feelings (“You’re just sensitive…It’s not that bad”).
- Objectifying people (“man up!” or “don’t be such a sissy.”).
- Employing guilt, threats, or intimidation (“you know I could beat you up, right?”).
- Cutting off access to necessary resources (food, money, transportation, and/or medical care).
- Hurting or disposing of another’s possessions without permission (throwing away beloved pictures or letters)
- Gaslighting/crazy-making (Undermining a person’s confidence in their own experiences, feelings, and thoughts).
- Utilizing one’s mood or anger to control others (Flying off the handle for minor issues).
Gaslighting is form of emotional abuse that has received a lot of attention recently, and it perfectly exemplifies the intentional pattern of control. The term comes from a 1944 movie starring Ingrid Bergman. In one scene, Bergman’s character watches the gaslights brighten and then dim. Her emotionally abusive husband pretends he did not see them flicker and convinces her it was in her imagination. Through this scene and other similar tactics, he slowly and deliberately undermines her trust in her own experience. She feels as if she is going crazy.
The Invisible Wounds
Wounds to a person’s spirit, soul, or mind may be visible, but they are very painful. Many people who experience emotional abuse also experience hyper-vigilance, depression, substance abuse, psychosomatic pain, suicide idealization, fear, and anxiety disorders.
When someone is a victim of emotional abuse, their wounds are very real even though they are not visible. Such wounds may include psychosomatic pain, hyper-vigilance, fear, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide idealization. Victims may experience…
- Fear of their perpetrator.
- The feeling that everything they choose, do, think, or feel is incorrect.
- Blame for the emotional abuse.
- Anxiety and anticipation of when the next emotional outburst will happen.
- Distrust of their own experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
Healing from Emotional Abuse with Thriveworks Beverly Hills
If you or someone you love has survived an emotionally abusive relationship, then the counselors at Thriveworks Beverly Hills would like you to know:
- The injuries are real.
- Emotional abuse is always inappropriate and never warranted.
- Abusers are responsible for their choice to harm with emotions.
- Healing from the trauma of emotional abuse is possible.
- Your physical and emotional safety matter.
The therapists at Thriveworks Beverly Hills know that emotionally abusive relationships cause significant harm. No one should have to recover alone. We have done our best to make the process of reaching out for help as easy as possible.
If you call our office today, you may be meeting with a counselor tomorrow. We accept many different insurance plans, and we offer evening and weekend appointments.
Relationships should be free—not controlling. If you are ready to experience that freedom, we are ready to help. Call Thriveworks Beverly Hills today.