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Emotional Abuse and How to Get Emotional Counseling Help

What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse has a broad definition because all forms of abuse are, in fact, emotional in nature — they all lead to a victim viewing themselves negatively. Verbal abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, spiritual abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and even more covert forms of abuse such as neglect all rely upon the victim not knowing their own worth — for the perpetrator to be able to methodically take control over their psyche.

Emotional Abuse and its Signs

Many victims peruse internet and other articles which list some of the most common emotional abuse techniques include blaming, shaming, criticism, manipulation, and control. But what they often do not understand — and what it is critically important for victims to understand — is that abusers tend to begin implementing these tactics in a very “push-pull”, “stop-go” type of way, called “Intermittent Conditioning”.

Intermittent Conditioning involves combining a harmful stimulus like belittling, with a nurturing stimulus like affection. This serves to keep the victim continuously confused and “off balance” — returning to the very one that hurts them, in order to try to get their most basic needs met.

One of the best examples and most insidious forms of Intermittent Conditioning involves an abusive strategy known by its slang term, “hoovering” — like the vacuum. Hoovering is a set of positive stimuli that an abuser will “feed” to the victim, if they sense that the victim is in any way becoming empowered or contemplating escape.

For instance, hoovering emotional abuse is the classic case of the abuser showing up with flowers after the victim has sought safety, and it serves to understandably confound many victims who perceive these efforts as well-intended signals of hope — when they are actually very systematic procedures designed to keep the victim under the abuser’s control.

Hoovering emotional abuse is part and parcel of any domestic violence dynamic, whether the abuse is overt, covert, verbal or physical. The abuser will never want the victim around and will always diminish them — until and unless they leave, at which point the abuser will promptly “switch” into a performed state of profound “remorse” and desperate “love”, for the sole purpose of regaining dominion.

Effects of Emotional Abuse

The effects of emotional abuse are broad and deep, often permeating every aspect of a victim’s identity and relationships. Some of the most common emotional abuse symptoms are low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, isolation, difficulty controlling emotions, extreme behavior patterns (“acting out”) and self-harm (“acting in”). Again, many victims misguidedly believe these challenges to reflect some type of shameful lacking on their part, when they are simply a natural response to being around an abuser! While abusers do certainly prey on individuals who have been predisposed and conditioned to abuse from their childhoods, many people who came from high functioning backgrounds also find themselves ensnared. In fact, any human being who is exposed to an abusive personality for a prolonged period of time will develop emotional abuse symptoms.

The Symptoms of Emotional Abuse are a Natural Reaction to being Abused

Tragically, most abuse signs and symptoms are defined as “issues” within the victim. While this may be true at “face value”, since only the victim has the power to take proactive steps toward healing from emotional abuse — this framing of “the problem” as being the victim’s further reinforces the deceptive notion that the difficulties they are experiencing are somehow their fault.

Essentially, the faulty premise that there is something “wrong with them” is the core means by which abusers control their victims, and it is this fundamental lie that emotional abuse victims must challenge and eradicate, in order to recover. If you have been the victim of emotional abuse, your symptoms and “issues” are not your fault! At the same time, healing from emotional abuse is your responsibility. In short, only you can do it. Only you can seek emotional abuse help to “unravel” and reverse all of the false ideas that the abuser conditioned in you, about yourself.

What Causes Emotional Abuse?

This is the question that most victims ponder, usually out of mistaken hope that enhancing their knowledge will be able to change the abuser. The hard truth presented by psychological studies is that, in addition to whatever trauma history the abuser may have endured — there is something fundamentally different in their brain formation.

The two prerequisites to changing any behavior are empathy for its impact on self and/or others and personal accountability for changing it — which chronic abusers seem pathologically incapable of forming.

The disorienting dilemma for emotional abuse victims is that pathological abusers are very skilled at projecting themselves to have empathy, remorse and accountability during the “flow tides” of Intermittent Conditioning. So victims get understandably tricked into believing that they are dealing with someone much like themselves — someone who usually has a similar history of childhood trauma and is, thus, just an “innocent” who is trying their best to overcome their own symptoms of abuse.

While chronic abusers do often come from trauma, their exposure to abusive patterns set in combination with their lack of ability to formulate empathy or accountability ensures that they will continue repeating these patterns upon their victims with no “built-in” mechanism to ultimately stop them. So victims are empathically conned into feeling for the abuser’s trauma, instead of their own — on a cycle of pain that will never cease, until the victim leaves.

What Happens during Emotional Abuse Therapy?

Standard emotional abuse therapy often involves a Depression Therapist or similarly trained individual trying to address the core issue by getting answers to basic, diagnostic questions like “Who is the abuser?”, “When did the abuse start?”, “How long has it been occurring?”, “Have you told anyone about it?”, “How does it make you feel?”, “What usually precipitates the abuse?”, “What happens after the onslaught of abusive words and actions?”, “Does the emotional abuser ever turn physical and violent?”, and “If so, how often does this happen and what precipitates it?”.

While these are all valuable questions, they do not address the core issue — which is educating the victim on how abusers operate.

Some Depression Therapists and comparable professionals will even go so far as to ask, “Have you tried to voice your concerns to your abuser?” and “If so, what was their response?”. Again, discussing such matters may be pertinent — but only within the context of helping the victim to accept that trying to discuss their feelings and needs with a pathological abuser is equivalent to handing over the ammunition with which you will later be crushed.

How ARCS Emotional Abuse Counseling Can Help

Our Emotional Abuse Counselors empower victims with a full comprehension of the psychology, motivations and methods that chronic abusers employ to lure, trap, disorient and overpower their victims.

They will also acquaint you with the stunning reality that victims have more power, than abusers. In fact, abusers do not have any true power of their own — it is for this reason, that they are compulsively obsessed with controlling others.

Abusers get their power from “siphoning” the victim’s power, in much the same way that one might siphon gasoline from a car. Compounding the victim’s low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, confusion, isolation and debilitation provide the abuser with much needed “fuel”, to displace and “cover” for the fact that they are emotionally void.

Essentially, once a victim’s denial collapses — emotional abuse recovery is immanent. If you are or have been a victim of emotional abuse, it is vital that you reach out for Emotional Abuse Counseling and help! You can and deserve to live a life full of happiness — which becomes readily available when you come to truly acknowledge and affirm that nothing an abuser does is ever your fault.