Emotional Abuse - a conversation for R U OK Day
I feel that everyone who enters into a relationship should know the signs of Emotional Abuse. I'd love to see it taught in schools and be given the same type of weight sex education receives due to the detrimental and long lasting effects it can have on a person's mental and physical health and in turn, their happiness. I feel this way as I was once unaware I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. I was too busy completely consumed with pleasing a person who ultimately was happy being unhappy to even have the time to reflect. Anytime I went to probe or seek help they shut me down quickly by saying they wanted to keep their private life private or by threatening to leave, all in hindsight to frighten me into submission.
The spell they cast is strong. As time passed and it became increasingly clear that this person was never going to treat me (or themselves) with respect let alone the way I deserved and I couldn't make excuses for their behaviour anymore, I was still so drawn in by any crumbs that they would carefully throw me as I left town, I wanted them to come with me, thinking that a fresh start would get them out of their what I thought was just a rut. By taking charge of my life, listening to my head and not my heart and demanding to be treated with respect I had inadvertently broken free from their grasp. It would be too much of an inconvenience to lure me back in so that was the end of their game.
I had no idea at the time that if I had just googled ‘Emotional Abuse’ I would see so many uncanny similarities to my what I thought was a unique relationship. I had no idea all this behaviour was a common pattern of abuse rather than an isolated situation. I also had no idea how much of a tragic situation it is to be in for both parties. The truth that my story was not unique, rather a common occurrence of abuse that many people are too afraid to speak out about through fear of being judged or not believed was absolutely shattering. I wouldn't wish the suffering I endured while in it and then after breaking away knowing the truth of their behaviour, on anyone.
Knowing the signs can help save you from being unwittingly sucked into the perpetrator's trap, from being made to suffer due to their conscious or even subconscious need to punish you for their own unhappiness as they cannot (or will not) figure out how to heal or fix their own brokenness. This podcast mini series hopes to shed light on how these people gain control and develop a power over a person to the point that you lose any self worth and independence, feel you cannot leave and if you do speak up, will never be believed.
Designed to bring awareness to this more silent form of abuse, this podcast will also give an insight into the long asked question "Why do people stay/put up with this for so long?"
Episode 1 is with Kerrie Atherton, founder of Empower Life Solutions and Stories Of Hope Australia, she's also an Inspirational Speaker and Addictions Recovery/MentalHealth Coach Counsellor. In our conversation Kerrie tells her harrowing yet positive story of overcoming addiction while developing the strength to remove herself from a dysfunctional, emotionally abusive relationship with a malignant narcissist. She shares her thoughts in hindsight and how she got herself to a happy, peaceful place where she can help people with her story.
Episode 2 is with Rhonda Jansen, an Author, Trainer and Presenter penning 'Narcissism - The Evil Behind the Mask' and her follow up book 'Reclaim Your Soul'. Rhonda speaks about her experience of being married to and running a business with a malignant narcissist and how she managed to escape with her sanity and two children. She discusses how she reclaimed her life and offers perspective to others who need to free themselves from a similar situation. Rhonda also shares her thoughts in hindsight and offers suggestions for changing your mindset to gather yourself to leave these situations.
Episode 3 is with 1800 RESPECT Program Specialist Inez Carey. Inez gives a general overview of what Emotional Abuse/Violence is, an understanding of terms such as Gaslighting and Trauma Bonding as well as advice and suggestions for people who may find themselves in this horrible situation or are watching on the sidelines as a concerned friend or family member.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au In an emergency, call 000. Lifeline is also available 24/7 for crisis support on 13 11 14.