Emotional abuse trauma can have profound and lasting effects on individuals, often leaving them trapped in a cycle of familiarity with the pain and distress it brings. Dr. David Hawkins, director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute, sheds light on the dangers of emotional abuse trauma. So let’s explore five key points that emphasize the risks associated with this familiarity and how it can impact an individual’s mental and emotional well-being.
Settling for Trauma
Living in a constant state of emotional turmoil is akin to enduring an unending storm. Individuals may unknowingly start to adapt, cope, and accommodate to the traumatic environment. While these adaptive behaviors are often seen as positive, they may lead to a dangerous normalization of trauma. It is crucial to recognize the potential for settling into a life that revolves around trauma, even though one never sought or deserved such a reality.
Forgetting What is Normal
Familiarity with trauma can erode one’s understanding of what is normal. Victims of emotional abuse may find themselves in counseling sessions, where the empathetic response from a counselor becomes an unfamiliar and surprising experience. This forgetting of what is normal is understandable, as the constant exposure to dismissive and offensive behaviors can warp one’s perception of healthy relationships and interactions.
Reinforcement by Perpetrators
Narcissistic and emotional abuse are often perpetuated by the abuser, who consistently denies any wrongdoing. Dr. Hawkins highlights the struggle victims face in trying to establish normalcy, only to be met with gaslighting and denial. Perpetrators may manipulate the narrative, justifying their harmful actions and making victims question their own reality. This consistent dismissal of reality can have detrimental effects on an individual’s mental health.
The dangerousness of familiarity with trauma extends to the sheer exhaustion victims experience. Dr. Hawkins identifies exhaustion as the primary symptom reported by victims of emotional abuse. Constantly defending oneself, correcting distortions, and asserting the truth can be draining. The burden of speaking out often comes at a great cost, leading to blame and further emotional harm.
Seeking Support and Effective Counsel
In the face of the dangers associated with familiarity with trauma, seeking support and effective counsel becomes paramount. Dr. Hawkins emphasizes the need for individuals to find professionals who understand trauma and emotional abuse. These experts can provide the necessary support to help victims gain clarity about their situation. Clarity is a breath of fresh air that allows individuals to see the harmfulness of their circumstances and take steps toward effective coping strategies.
The Dangers of Emotional Abuse Trauma
Becoming too familiar with emotional abuse trauma poses significant dangers, from settling for a life dominated by trauma to forgetting what constitutes normalcy. The reinforcement of abusive patterns and the resulting exhaustion further compound the negative impact on victims. However, seeking support and effective counsel can be a lifeline, offering clarity and guidance on how to navigate the treacherous waters of emotional abuse trauma. It is crucial for individuals to recognize the signs of familiarity with trauma and take proactive steps towards reclaiming their mental and emotional well-being.
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About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.