What type of injury leaves no visible scar?
Do you know?
Need a hint?
It’s silent & slow.
Like toxins absorbed through skin.
It can even be life threatening.
Continues to injure. Leaves no visible scars.
I didn’t say NO scars,
no visible scars.
While not illegal.
A crime none the less.
Still not sure?
It’s not easy to see.
No visible scars.
But if you carry these scars, you know what I speak of.
It is the little spoke of, it is EMOTIONAL ABUSE.
A person who has higher than normal levels of Narcissism is likely to be an emotional abuser. Some are subtle, some are in your face. They can appear to be your friend or in love with you. It can be your spouse or significant other, a sibling or parent. A teacher, policeman, or your boss. A politician, or volunteer. Someone you barely know, your neighbor or your best friend. A child or an elderly person. Someone on the internet or you could be married to one!
How do you prevent emotional abuse?
FIRST AND FOREMOST IS TO TALK ABOUT IT. Unlike physical or sexual abuse which generally is attempted to be kept “private”, hidden in the darkest parts of one’s life, “as a secret”. Emotional abuse can happen right out in the open, in a family, the work place, on the playground, even in our church’s. It can take on a group mentality, or be one indidvidual. It frequently is an unwelcome legacy handed down from generation to generation.
Our world has become more accepting of these abusive behaviors; bullying, belittling, reprimanding, teasing, making fun of someone, excluding them, gossiping, teaching them a lesson, correcting, humiliating, scapegoating or to deny someones right to their own opinion. And then possibly laugh at it all afterwards and say “just kidding” like it’s no big deal. People need to STOP BEING ACCEPTIIVE of this behavior and speak out.
How can we protect ourselves from this abuse?
First Is SPEAKING OUT AGAINST IT. Stop letting the media shove this in our faces constantly making it seem more & more normal to society. The television, music and tabloid type printed material are filled with it. It is permeating our youth daily and they grow-up thinking that this normal. It is not normal to emotional abuse another human being (or animal).
Second is to stay away from abusers. This can be difficult. They are hard to spot, can seem so charming, caring. Possibly a family member or co-worker which can make this difficult. In which case awareness is the next best tool against it. In many, many ways he/she is the proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. To be able to stay away from or deal with none in our lives, we must first understand what EA is and how high levels of narcissism are a good indicator. This is Narcissism as defined by (DSM-IV):
(an individual who possesses) ” excessive sense of self-importance over and above the needs of others; grandiosity; arrogance; absence of ability to empathize and experience reciprocity in relationships; intense need for admiration/attention to fill very low self-esteem; impaired relationship skills, resulting in parasitic/predatory behaviors designed to fill one’s self-esteem in the form of narcissistic supply.”
Read that paragraph again!
Let it sink in, because this type of individual is often difficult to recognize, until they have you firmly in their grasp, by then it may be too late. Most of the time you don’t even know it’s happening to you until that point. Don’t take this lightly- the most extreme form of Narcissists are called socieopaths and psychopaths. Does that get my point across a little better? Many emotional abusers have high levels of Narcissism. Are all emotional abusers narcissists? No, but all Narcissists are abusers. All of the above disorder wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on it (at least that’s the way the seem, in the beginning, before they hook you).
Everyone possess some narcisssism within themselves. Normal levels help one strive to do their best, a type of drive to keep on moving forward in life, in the best way. But unhealthy levels lead to attitudes of self-entitlement, grandiose thoughts, needing extreme amounts of adoration, unable to empathize, feeling they deserve so much more, than what they have. Also low self-esteem, jealousy, envy, conceit, a need to feel superior. As the partner of one, you are only there for them and their fullfilment. They will be sure to remind you on a daily basis. They also may physically, financially and sexually abuse you as well.
So why should you read my words? Who am I? I’m not a psychologist or counselor or trained in this…in any way, except through experience. I have experienced emotional abuse first hand for over 20 years in my marriage. I also grew up in a family with dysfunction. So I am only able to relate what I have lived through to tell the story of what emotional abuse (and other types of mental illness) can do to your life, your marriage and sadly your children from said relationship. Which then leaves no visible scars for the next generation to bear.
My family of origin has many EA’s within it (as does his). Since I grew up in one, I am familiar with EA or family dysfunction, experts would say, (although unconsceniously,) I am drawn to this in my relationships, because it is familiar to me . I say bullshit , I may be familiar with EA but I am not comfortable. I may have lived with this growing up but being in this type of relationship is never comfortable.
Probably one of the main things that makes it difficult to spot this type of abuser is that it can appear to not always be bad. I think of it this way; The vows I took when I married mention “for better or worse”, I realize I got both. Some of our marriage has been wonderful ,going places, doing things, years of family and friends. But pretty regularly I was questioned, punished, ignored, invalidated, belittled, gaslighted, reprimanded, embarrassed, told I was psycho, imagining things or just plain wrong about everything I thought. And all in a way that indicated he was doing it for my own good, helping me. Sometimes with a smile on his face.
He is that wolf in sheep’s clothing. Handsome, successful type that looks so good on the outside you would never think that he is an abuser. He didn’t start out that way. He was kind, loving and giving at first and that is what they want you to fall for. He tells you, you are soul mates. Sweeps you off your feet and places you on that pedestal on top of the world. Then when your deep in a relationship they begin, slowly removing the bricks from the pedestal, unnoticed until you’re balancing on one toe on the last brick, just to save your life. Mine had never been married and wanted to be a father to my young son (son was 1-1/2) whose biological was not in our lives. We met through my sister, he was her husbands good friend. His parents were still married, and lived a very comfortable life.
He came with good credentials so I was not looking for any red flags. Ones that, had I known what to watch for should of given me a clue. Never married in his mid thirties. The two previous relationships he spoke of were short term and he called both of them psycho losers (although in all fairness I’ve met and know both and they kinda are exactly that). With one he had a child, and although he saw her occasionally, he never paid child support (until forced by the state). That one always bothered me and he gave me some story about an agreement between him and her only to find out later- lies, more and more lies in the form of half-truths.
After we were married and have a son together it began. Slowly and meticulously stripping away any self-esteem, any courage, any of the passion for life that I had, until there isn’t much left of the true you. Like a brainwashed step-ford wife, making sure it looked perfect to anyone looking in. According to him, I didn’t know how to cook, drive, shop, or take care of the kids basically don’t know anything. At this point, convinced that you can’t do a damn thing, they realize what a horrible person you are and everything wrong in their life is your fault. They slyly play mind games, twisting every word or action to their benefit. It is difficult if not impossible to argue with them. They are the masters at this game. The continued, unmerciful behavior strips your ability to rationalize, to think clearly. They drive you insane and seem to enjoy every minute of it. Oh yes and they will let everyone know of your problems, how messed up you are. You are their victim, and they play both sides of this coin like a concert pianist -perfectly. Yes they will act like they are the victim as well as a hero.
“I am so wonderful for saving the crazy women from herself, the poor victim who needed to be rescued. Then just when you are about to fall off that cliff they create a new story line as THEY claim to be the victim, because the crazy one is taking advantage of their good will and caring causing all of the problems in their life. They truly believe this bullshit and now seek sympathy from others because YOU are victimizing them. The absolute worst part of all of this is that because they are SO good at twisting the tales they tell, that people actually believe them! Even people and family who know you will fall for their story. It is because they put on such a show of perfection to all who will listen that they must be telling the truth. It is all smoke and mirrors for the outside world to see. A cruel fairy tale of their creation.
The hardest part of being in a relationship of this type of person is to describe to another just what the abuse is. My husband rarely swears at me, has never hit me (well once when we were drunk a long time ago but I had him arrested but they let him out early and never even notified me of it – i’m sure he convinced them I was crazy) but would never do anything that would leave a visible scar.. Doesn’t call me filthy names, he’s much more underhanded and concerned about appearances than that. Actually to see us you would think he is wonderful to me. Because his true nature only comes out behind closed doors. The condescending voice, belittling, invalidating, ignoring, witholding finances, etc. -all of it reserved for only those special loved ones at home. Only me & the kids, and rarely anywhere outside of our home.
Basically everything I do is wrong, unneccessary, ridiculous, a waste of time, self-centered or stupid. I’m lazy, unproductive, can’t finish anything, doing it the wrong way or have no clue. Our house is a disaster and we have no money because of me. I have no good ideas and am basically worth very little to him except be his beautiful scapegoat. ( I do get to go on vacation with him, not because I deserve it but he doesn’t want to go alone). He cheats, doesn’t pay his taxes on time and I think will kick our dog (that he never wanted) when no one is looking. Our children are good for nothing and will never amount to anything- just sponges sucking him dry. Yet no matter how horrible it is you stay, can not leave. If you try, he will bring you back for more of the same (after he lures you back with promises). And still you love him because that is what you are conditioned to do. It can eventually affect your physical health as well.
The saddest part of all of this is, I believe he doesn’t do any of this on purpose. He grew up in a family where this same story took place. His family was perfect on the outside, dysfunctional on the inside. It was all he knew. The legacy was passed on to the next generation.
It is sad and it is sadistic to treat those he “loves” with such behavior. It changes who you are. Oh, it still looks like you, there are no visible scars. Nothing for the outside world to see, the shell looks the same but the inside is empty, dead, like a clone he created to replace the real you. No scars for you to show the world when you SCREAM – he is abusing me. I once told a counselor how I wished he would hit me so everyone could see his crime against me, see a scar, a broken bone, a bruise. She said to me:
HE HITS YOU EVERYDAY WITH WORDS! ON PURPOSE BECAUSE IT LEAVES NO VISIBLE SCARS.
A crime yes indeed, a sick twisted crime that leaves no visible scars. Scars that no one can see. I am scared & my children are scared.The hardest part to accept is that I knew it was wrong. I knew that this behavior was unacceptable. I knew it was not a place to raise my children. Yet I was unable to leave him. I finally accepted that this was my lot in life- but I was not going to accept the abuse anymore. No more fighting with him, I had to get control of my emotions and not allow him to get to me any longer. It was going fairly well until I discovered he had been having an affair.
As you may know, we are still married, he has mellowed in many ways with time. I still love him and would like to work to a better future. After d-day he has been so much better. I think he would like to go back to pre d-day. But for me that marriage is over. I don’t want that one back. If he can make the changes, for himself, because years of this is effecting his health as well. I need a guarantee, no more abuse, nor more cheating, a fresh start. I think a post nuptial may be in order for him, as a way for me to see if he truly means it.
If you are unsure if you or someone you know is being abused please click on these links for a very good articles of those red flags/behavior to watch for. I pray that a narcissist never preys on you or your loved ones. They are very sick on the inside, yet look like the complete package on the outside. Learn what to watch for when bringing new people into your life, or you could be here in 20 years writing a blog about invisible scars. It should be a crime!
The relationship destroyers; counsellingresource.com/lib.theraphy/self-help/understanding
Signs of emotional abuse; psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/02/20/signs-of-emotional-abuse/