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Confused about emotional abuse

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Confused about emotional abuse

Postby amajade » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:08 pm

I hope these questions make sense because I really would like to figure this out.



Can an emotionally abusive person *not* know they are emotionally abusive? Like, can they really not be doing it on purpose? Or does an abuser always know?



Also, can an emotionally abusive person appear "nice" and "normal"? Is it possible to have some completely normal days, or conversations, with an emotionally abusive person?

I can't afford therapy right now and I need to know if I'm imagining things and being ridiculous or if something is really going on. Thank you.
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Re: Confused about emotional abuse

Postby quietgirl2538 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:55 am

Can an emotionally abusive person *not* know they are emotionally abusive? Like, can they really not be doing it on purpose? Or does an abuser always know?



Also, can an emotionally abusive person appear "nice" and "normal"? Is it possible to have some completely normal days, or conversations, with an emotionally abusive person?


I don't really know for a fact that a person knows they are being abusive. I can only answer for my mom. She did know she was being unkind and spiteful towards me. Jealous as an adult towards me, trying to put me down. She did those things knowing it would hurt me and it didn't matter to her that I was hurt. She wanted that. I know it because she said so. Except the jealous part. She just said, "Your time will come when you won't have all this!" She meant to own a nice house.

She appeared nice and normal to everyone to a certain point. I think it's normal to appear to have normal days, conversations with an emotionally person, because she always made me think she was sincere with some of her words, her hugs, but then she would gossip about me to my sister and put me down. I know this because my sister would tell me. I didn't want to hear it because it would make me cry, but my sister felt she had to tell me. That's my experience with this, that's all. I don't know other abusive people, only my mom. So I can't really say about anyone else. Hopefully others here can share their experiences about an emotionally abusive person.
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Re: Confused about emotional abuse

Postby avatar123 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:43 pm

Those are good questions, that I think every abused person has asked at some point. It might be that the best way to look at it is that the abuser will act in a way they believe is necessary to enhance their ability to impact or influence what is going on around them.

A well adjusted person does that by discussion, being open to the contributions of others and even encouraging and praising them. If the person is not well-adjusted, then it can take the form of criticism, verbal abuse, and sometimes extending into emotional and phyiscal abuse. Or it can also take the form of neglect, where others are ignored or dismissed and not counted at all. Both are very negative behaviors.

Thus you might see multiple kinds of behaviors from the same person, depending on the audience and the perception of them. My dad was known for being a really nice guy at work and to his friends. At his funeral, it was very surreal listening to his coworkers, they had no clue what he was like at home. His treatment of his family was quite different, to the point that outsiders did not really believe what actually went on. Occasionally there were good days from him at home, but for the most part I remember doing our best to stay out of his way, with my mom even asking us to please help keep things calm, and the lid on.

As far as whether he knew he was abusive, I would say he maybe did not think about it in the moments of abuse. He was just angry and reacting emotionally without really thinking. But I'm sure that later, when calm, he must have realized what he did was wrong, but perhaps justified it as we deserved it, or he was only trying to correct us or straighten us out, help us, etc. Maybe it was for our own good, in his mind. I think rationalization is a common feature of that behavior. It would have to be, otherwise the person would be self-correcting. If they are not, then they must think what they are doing is ok.

If you are in a similar situation, I think the best advice is to understand that the abuse is wrong and that you don't deserve it, you actually deserve far better. So please don't believe what is said or done, or take it to to heart. Also not to rely on the fact that you can make the abuser understand this or change. You can ask but in the end, you don't have the power to make them change. It's really up to you to make your circumstances better, and prevent the abuse ultimately by not exposing yourself to it. There is no reason for you to accept it or feel that it's somehow your fate. It doesn't have to be. So please look after yourself. I hope that helps.
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