A New Year, A New You

For many people, January is a time of renewed hope and a fresh start. Marking a new year often means closing one chapter and viewing the next with new purpose and expectation. But this is not the case for those stuck in emotionally abusive relationships. Their vision is obscured by the trauma of their experience, which feeds two big lies to them: 1) Everything is a threat, and nothing is to be trusted and 2) I have no power to effect the change needed to free or protect myself. It may be that you’re not feeling hopeful or confident that
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Defining Emotional Abuse, Part 3: 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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2 Ways that Emotional Abuse Assaults Your 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, Part 1

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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5 Amazing Myths of Men Who Are Abused

Our culture is a hard place to be a man, and even harder for men who are abused. The models of manhood we hold up are more caricatures than truth. On the one hand, you get TV shows like Raymond and King of Queens where men are clueless, large, children who have to be nagged into responsibility and adulthood by their wives. At the other end of ridiculousness is the picture of the action hero who gets shot twice, stabbed 4 times, thrown off a building, and pummeled for 10 straight minutes only to get up and save the day.
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Growing Marriage: Take A Look In The Mirror

Want to grow? Try marriage. No, seriously. Marriage is the absolutely best place to grow. I know some of you may think I’ve lost my mind. “Marriage,” you say, “is the last place I grow. It’s the place I cope, struggle, work to recover from.” I understand that. But let’s begin with a quiz. Just give the first answer that comes to your mind. Who knows you better than anyone else? Who has seen you at your absolute worst? Who knows your darkest secrets? Who knows your worst character traits? Who has the greatest power to help you heal from
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Changing Your Course with an Intervention

The couples that come to us for help have often landed in a random, dysfunctional, unhealthy place. Frequently, one of them believes the best hope for change is an intervention. They’re at their wits’ end, having repeated a million times in ineffective ways what they are unhappy about. But they’re also not yet ready to walk away from the relationship. If only their spouse could be awakened to the harm and pain and dysfunction! That’s the desperate plea behind the desire to do an intervention. And it’s true that an intervention can be effective in bringing such an awakening. It’s
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