Emotional Abuse

During counseling, my therapist defined several different types of abuse.  He wanted me to understand what it is and what it wasn’t.  One of the most difficult forms of abuse to define and recognize is emotional abuse.  It leaves no mark that I can point to, “See you hurt me there.”  I was raised with the rhyme:

Sticks and stones may break my bones,

But names can never hurt me.

What crock, garbage, twisted thinking.  I changed it to “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can scar deeply.”

I am learning to recognize when I meet a toxic person.  I feel frustrated when I get sucked into people pleasing a toxic person.  I set myself up to fail by trying to engage with a toxic person.

signs of a toxic personI read through the list and realized, I am a toxic person sometimes.  The difficulty of this type of list is everyone does dumb hurtful stuff sometimes.  My counselor explained that I need to look for patterns of behavior that is toxic.  A one time mess up is hurtful but not considered abuse.  Relief to me.  I took this list and considered how can I improve these things in myself.  I don’t want to be the toxic person in someone else’s life. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is subjective.  How I respond to an incident may be quite different than the other person intended.  One of my go to web pages is Psych Central.  They posted a list of questions to consider if a person is in an emotionally abusive relationship.


Another source of information is the book Toxic Parents.  This was probably one of the hardest books I ever read.  It shined a glaring light on my childhood and my own methods of raising children.  Painful to understand the mistakes I made after I did them.  Yes, I believe emotional abuse may cause PTSD.  It is both a cause and a symptom.  Distorted ideas as a child creates a life time of stumbling blocks to overcome as a child.

2 thoughts on “Emotional Abuse

  1. Thank you for this great information on emotional abuse. I am not sure whether my parents were emotionally abusive during my childhood. I can answer a lot of questions with a yes. Your post is a great starting point for me to talk to my therapist about it. And also a great guide how to identify toxic people in my life. Thank you!

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