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Stop it!

This is about verbally or emotionally abusive relationships.  If you are experiencing any physical violence at all, please seek help immediately and keep yourself safe.

I realise now that some of my past relationships have been emotionally abusive to varying extents.   Thankfully I’ve experienced almost no physical abuse other than being shoved, and being held down briefly and yelled at.  Even if physical violence seems minor, we must be aware of the potential for it to escalate, and that it is always preceded by some form of verbal or emotional abuse.

Verbal or emotional abuse is a form of violence, and can take many forms, for example: destruction of property, financial control, jealous behaviour, controlling behaviour, manipulation, misleading behaviour, lying, stalking, threats, name calling, yelling, belittling, denying someone’s feelings, criticism, blame, judgement, denial, exclusion, character assassination, parental alienation, dangerous driving, emotional blackmail and suicidal threats, withholding information, sulking, social isolation, humiliation, intimidation, sleep deprivation, coercion and much more.  When it occurs in the presence of children or when there are children in the relationship, this makes it even more of an issue.

I’ve experienced many of these things myself within relationships, as a child, as a young girl in one of my first jobs, as an adult outside of relationships, and probably many times I’ve forgotten about.  Most, I’d even guess all of us, have some experience of abuse.

Couple holding handsWhat's the deal with relationships?  Why the hell are they so hard? 

Despite my own obvious limitations in this area - (er, three ex-husbands) - I sense a few ideas taking form which I'd like to explore, none of which refers specifically to any person, relationship or situation in my own life, by the way.  It's all general ideas.
Whether it's a friendship, a family relationship or a romantic relationship, a common factor is how well you can see yourself as a separate person from the other.  What was it they said at one of my weddings, something like "drink not from the same cup"?

Some of the things we commonly do which get in the way of keeping our relationships healthy are: 

You know how sometimes a conversation just seems to go bad, and you didn't see it coming?  You end up feeling awful, sort of know it's not right, but don't quite understand it?

It's possible to prevent bad things from happening, by slowing down and noticing our reactions.  Our initial reaction to something somebody says, is not necessarily correct, appropriate or helpful.  We might feel sad, hurt, angry, but it doesn't necessarily follow that it's the other person's fault, or that anything is really wrong.  Sometimes it's just a knee jerk, subconscious reaction, that can be sorted out.

Instead of saying something to try to 'hurt the other person back', we need to stop and think first, and let our feelings settle before we do or say anything.


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Western Australia

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Melbourne, Australia

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Liz Jarvis, CSI Business Solutions, 
NSW, Australia

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New York, USA

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M Shears, 
Melbourne, Australia

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