One of the articles I read discuss 6 forms of emotional abuse and give examples of each kind.
I remember a friend of mine telling me how furious she was when her teenage son came home and told her that her behavior was abusive to him. Sadly, she reacted badly. She was physically abused when she was a child. Rather than listening to her son she doubled up her fist and gave him a taste of what she had suffered. I felt sad that she couldn’t see past her own pain and her own definition of abuse. I felt sad for her son that his message of stop hurting me was answered with more hurt. I felt devastated when my counselor pointed out my own hurtful behaviors. Not as ‘bad’ as when I was a child but still behaviors that needed correction. I worked hard to change. Some people never noticed any change because to them, my improvement was not good enough. I finally accepted the ugly truth that my damaged soul could not comprehend these other hurts. I know first hand how bad abuse can be. I finally accepted that hurt is hurt. I cannot decide for someone else how bad things are for them. The first time I read these lists under each category, I thought, “This happened to me.” The second time I read this list, I asked myself, “Have I done any of these?” My heart broke. I work at eliminating these behaviors then I realized that sometimes I can be there for someone else because I am trying to cope myself. It appears to the other person that I am ignoring them. It appears by my turning away that I am rejecting them. The reality is my behavior is not about them. I gave all I got I have nothing left to give. I learn to share what I am feeling. Still sometimes I hurt those that I love, not because I intend to, but there is simply nothing more I can give. I work harder at being aware of what the other person is feeling but sometimes, I can barely cope with what I am feeling. Counseling helped me unscramble many of my feelings but life is an on going process. Because I am human, I am going to mess up and hurt someone else. So I am learning to apologize without making excuses. I am learning to see someone else’s pain beyond the haze of my own. I am learning that what is healing and helpful to me may appear to be shutting out someone else. Learning to do things differently takes time. I believe that in the long run, it is worth it.