During a service commemorating the 15 year anniversary of 911, a woman spoke truth about emotional abuse. She publicly apologized to her eight-year-old daughter for being violent toward her. It wasn’t a matter of hitting or yelling at her child. She said, “I’m sorry for being distracted by social media. I’m sorry for ignoring you.” Her daughter felt invisible and unloved. The mother took responsibility. The issue was subtle emotional abuse.
We don’t normally think of our disregard as violent behavior.
Later on my heart sunk as I looked at the diagram from the google search. As a therapist I should know this stuff. This “Power-Control Wheel” triggered a gut reaction in me.
We can identify physical abuse more clearly than emotional abuse. Verbal violence and mind manipulation seems even more insidious than physical assaults. Emotional abuse proceeds physical abuse. It’s confusing when the victim believes the made-up story about her partner’s rage.
“If only I did this or that, then he wouldn’t have gotten so angry. It’s my own fault.”
“That’s not the way he really is.”
She soaks up the blame in her isolation, shame, and guilt. She believes his accusations as if they were gospel truth about her.
She believes his accusations as if they were gospel truth about her. Click To Tweet Her self-esteem hangs on the partner’s manipulation.
Emotional abuse is real.
Some say there’s no such thing as emotional, mental, or verbal abuse. The law protects against physical abuse, but it gives full permission to verbal violence. The law protects against physical abuse, but it gives full permission to verbal violence. Click To Tweet
It’s how the Nazi’s broke down the Jews during Hitler’s regime. They used name calling and intimidation before murdering them. What we clearly identify as evil is showing up in our own homes that are meant to be places of safety.
Power and Control is at the hub of all abuse.The spokes show symptoms from economic abuse to isolation. Other diagrams include categories of social media and spiritual abuse. Entitlement attitudes in perpetrators prey on the low self-esteem of their partners. He regards himself as claiming to know the heart and motives of his victim.
Please read this wheel thoroughly and open your heart as this mother did for us. Highlight what you’re allowing as “normal.” Choose to call it violence. The enemy is power/control. It’s also our ignorance and silence.
Our minimizing and secrecy keep the power/control wheel trampling over the hearts of our spouses, our children and our grandchildren.
This is not about vilanizing another human being. Everyone is designed by God to honor the dignity, worth, and lovability of others and themselves. Even labeling a person as “abuser” is name-calling beyond the purpose of identifying the issue of abuse.
Emotional abuse is the enemy.
Those who power over others are shame-driven. Victims and perpetrators devalue themselves and others. They embrace what’s “normal” in their families and our society.
My gut reaction is the conviction over my own silence, secrecy, ignorance, and minimizing.
We must stand for truth with a capital “T” with what we know. For those of us whose children are grown, let’s apologize. We can’t go back and undo the damage we’ve done to their eight-year-old souls.
Let’s ask each of them now, “Please forgive me for my distractions and disregard for how valuable you really are. Please forgive me for my distractions and disregard for how valuable you really are. Click To Tweet
Together, let’s be determined to change our normal. Be aware of emotional abuse and say, “I’m sorry.”
Questions to Ponder
What area on the power/control wheel is normal for you?
Who in your family do you need to apologize to?
How will you change “normal” patterns in your life?
Christian author, Leslie Vernick’s blogs on Emotional Abuse
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
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