Defining Emotional Abuse: Using Anger as Weaponry

“Emotional abuse” often feels like a heavy and serious accusation, especially when combined with the words “anger” and “weaponry.” Yet living in an emotionally abusive relationship takes a heavy toll on your mental and physical health and your self-esteem, not to mention the relationship itself. Maybe you’ve wondered if your relationship is emotionally abusive. Your partner’s actions are hurtful, but are they bad enough to be considered abuse? One of the most harmful and insidious aspects of emotional abuse is that it can be difficult to recognize. This article will help you better understand what emotional abuse is, and help
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Defining Emotional Abuse: An Assault on Reality

This article is part of a series that examines different aspects of emotional abuse.  I will focus on one of the primary control strategies of emotional abuse, which is an assault on the wounded partner’s view of reality. The clinical terms for this are “gaslighting” and “crazymaking”. These refer to one person’s attempt to change, distort or deny the other’s understanding of events. The goal is to keep the partner off balance and make them unable to trust their perceptions. I often hear women in emotionally abusive relationships say things like, “Did I just imagine it?” or “Am I making
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Defining Emotional Abuse: An Assault on Identity, Worth, and Value

Emotional abuse is rampant in our culture of entitlement and autonomy. It is an element in almost every divorce. Here at the Marriage Recovery Center, our working definition of emotional abuse is an ongoing pattern of defensive behaviors used to gain and maintain power and control in a relationship.  At its core, emotional abuse is an assault against one’s personhood. The assault is multi-faceted: targeting identity, worth and value; twisting perception of reality; disregarding emotions and lacking empathy; and using anger  as weaponry. This blog is part of a series that covers each of those aspects. I will be focusing
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Defining Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is real and very destructive. Emotional abuse is a pattern of defensive behavior used to gain and maintain power and control over a partner—wittingly or unwittingly. This form of abuse is a pattern of behavior including constant criticism, humiliation, and dismissiveness of another’s thoughts and feelings. These patterns of manipulation and intimidation lead to the loss of a person’s sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth, which further results in significant anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even suicidal feelings.
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Separation: A Time for Reflection and Growth

In marriages characterized by coercion and destructiveness, a separation can create space for healing and open the door for potential reconciliation. It allows for time away from the destructive environment and constant triggers. There’s an old saying, “If you love someone, set them free, and if they come back to you, it was meant to be.” I don’t think life is really as fatalistic as that, but there is definitely something to be said for the deeper element of free will. When free will is taken out of the picture, love ceases to be love. If love is coerced, demanded,
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A Training Plan for Change

“Resilience isn’t how far you bounce when you hit the floor. It’s how you use what you’ve got left to work with to make something great.” – Author Unknown There’s something in our hearts that comes alive when we hear a story of courage, valor, and impossible odds. Hence, the latter part of the quote above gives us a much more meaningful definition of resilience than the first sentence, which speaks of resilience as if it were a passive act. Resilience is, in fact, active, creative, and inspiring—what will you do to make it work with what you’ve got? When
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How God Wants to Transform Us

Most people assume they have clear thinking. They believe their thoughts are logical. Therefore, when people disagree with them, they think it is everyone else who is wrong. But can we, ourselves, really be the source of authority for everything? Of course not. We all have thinking errors that are destructive to our life and relationships.
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Cultural Narcissism in the US

As with all things evil, the origin can be found at the fall of Eden. We see there our father and mother, Adam and Eve, deciding to take what they believed they deserved instead of trusting God to provide. COVID-19 has only exposed this problem. It turns out that the virus among us isn’t simply biological; it’s a virus of the spirit and heart as well.
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What it Means to Be a Real Man

Growing up in the United States, I learned that a “real man” was supposed to be tough, self-sufficient, strong, smart, rich, and desired by women. “Real men” don’t lose fights or sporting events. The Old West portrayed men as not needing much for themselves, but willing to die for justice and truth. Good guys were never bad and bad guys, in the end, always lost. On the other end of the spectrum, our present-day culture portrays a very different view of men. Men are often viewed as selfish, sexually charged, uncaring, stoic, and controlling. At the same time, they are
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