The Battle of the Heart and Mind

The struggle between the heart and mind is what I can only liken to a continuous and unending battle of wills . The pain of a breakup often results in a whirlwind of inner turmoil where there is a sense of self betrayal due to the continuing love you feel for the other person , and the persistent magnification of the good with active ignorance of the bad.

The ‘bad’ for me … was BAD! The bad times within my past relationship constituted over 70% of our relationship ( I type whilst being conscious that I am likely to have minimised that figure)… but yet the love I felt caused me to remain blind, blind to how poorly he treated me , blind to my own pain , blind to my own needs and desires. In the end , it became a tortuous tug of war between the logic of the mind and the irrationality of the heart.

Conversation between the heart and mind ….

The Broken Heart

‘I miss him…… it wasn’t all THAT bad … was it ?

The Protective Mind

‘Why should we (heart and mind) prioritise him whilst he has conspired against us for so long ??’ ‘ Why are you (broken heart) being complicit in our torture ?’ ‘ Does that not make you as guilty as he is for our own disservice ?’

The Broken Heart

‘But I love him !’ ‘Maybe I could have been better ….maybe there was more I could have done to make him happy , to make him love me the way I love him’.

The Protective Mind

‘Are we not our own and only obligated defenders ?”Then why do you (broken heart) choose to betray me and continue to have concern for him rather than for us and the 12 years of mental destruction he waged against me !’ 

They say without self-love you are incomplete and you will forever search for a sense of completeness that you can never expect another to fill.

A broken heart cannot lead a resilient mind…a resilient mind will mend a broken heart . Let your heart mend…… let your mind lead.  findinglaina3

The RAGING Storm After Narcissistic Injury

…..I returned to find all that had I owned , packed away in white garbage bags …. like trash thrown onto the curb at the brink of dawn. I had DARED to defy him, and he was filled with RAGE….

Narcissistic injury is a term I have come across a number of times throughout my quest for knowledge of the world of narcissism. It is an expression used to describe the negative reaction which manifests in response to the narcissist’s perception of criticism or judgement from others. It may also rear its ugly head when the narcissist’s source of supply (the victim) attempts to instil boundaries or hold the narcissist accountable for their negative behavior. Similarly, narcissistic injury occurs from even the most benign of interactions, where the narcissist perceives a normal conversation as a personalized attack against their self-image.

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This response is a refection of a loss of control of their emotional stability and regulation, resulting in passive or overtly aggressive and vindictive responses , with the aim of punishing the ‘offending’ party. In most cases , the target for this retribution , is unaware of their insult or is confused by the intense and aggressive response that they have induced.

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Narcissistic rage is unnerving. It manifests itself as an unreasonable , disproportionate and aggressive (actively or passively) fit of anger, which develops in response to the narcissist’s idealised self-image becoming mortally wounded. This response has a dual effect; it has the benefit of  being used as a tool for the manipulation of others , whilst providing a means of pain-avoidance for the narcissist internally .

Unbeknownst to me , I had encountered this phenomenon several times within my past relationship. My ex-partner would frequently have explosive and raging tantrums , which were often unexplained or highly disproportionate and unreasonable. I recall the times where I had dared to do something ‘wrong‘……an apology was NEVER enough. He would bitterly ask ‘ you think you can just say sorry  and thats it !’ , ‘what have you done to make this up to me ! This would be followed by a number of days of the silent treatment. His unspoken statement was clear , I would not be forgiven until I had repented , and paid for my sins !

On several occasions , in pure mental agony , I would ask ‘ What do you want from me ? My blood ??’ I just could not fathom what price I was expected to pay for my infringement.

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There was no other expression of his rage which compared to the first and final time that I chose to stand up to him . I refused to bend to his will when he had demanded my return after cancelling our wedding. He packed every item of my belongings into garbage bags ….. we haven’t spoken since.

 

You BETTER tell ME where you are !!!

Oh ! Where have I heard that statement before ??

There is nothing that feels more controlling  and dominating than when your significant other demands to know every single element of your day , where you have gone , when you have arrived to your destination and what you may plan to do in the near future.

Sharing your plans and checking in with each other is something that should come naturally within any healthy relationship , but in the emotionally abusive one , it is altogether a different monster.

Emotional controllers take their ‘interest ‘ in your daily life to an entirely different level , becoming masters at monitoring you and managing what you do and where you go , until you become complicit with this pattern of behaviour in fear of their reprisals if you dare step out of line !

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Progressively , life becomes a prison sentence, filled with regular requests to the correctional officer for permission to leave your cell.

My ex-partner was a master at this ! He had a knack for convincing me that any plans I had made needed to be confirmed with him in advance , and was even manipulative enough to ‘create’ plans that he would say we already had in order to prevent me from going where I had initially planned to . This was often followed up with an expression of disdain that I had even ATTEMPTED to make alternative plans on a day that we had one of his ‘imaginary’ ones.

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The general expectation at the beginning of each day was for us to each send a message confirming that we had arrived to work . This was okay at first , as I had interpreted this as an expression of care for my well-being ….until I forgot to message , or messaged at 9.30 am rather than as soon as I had arrived. This would result in a follow-up message asking ‘did you just get to work right now ?‘ or worse yet , this infringement would be used as part of his arsenal of verbal weapons used against me in our arguments. Apparently messaging late meant I was a bad fiancé.

This behaviour transcended the morning arrival at work , and became a regular occurrence. Little did I know that this was one of many signs of his control and toxicity .

DOES YOUR PARTNER MONITOR YOUR TIME AND WHEREABOUTS ? 

The Evolution of the Abuser

Victims of emotional abuse often describe  a sense of confusion and desperation in uncovering the cause of their maltreatment. Unfortunately , in a majority of cases , their abuser’s actions are minimized , and the victim may solely focus on the perceived emotional turmoil that the person they love is experiencing.

Often , we (victims) endure a cycle of internal interrogation , questioning ‘What did I do to hurt him/her this time?’, ‘What did I say?’, ‘Is it me?’, purely in an effort to know WHY ?

Of all my research into the emotionally abusive , one thing appears to be the recurring theme in uncovering the cause of their actions …. Abuse creates abusers.

Why does he/she do it ?

Unresolved Childhood Trauma

The behaviour of the abusive is often attributed to their childhood home environment , as well as how they perceive themselves and the outside world.

Many abusive partners have a history of unresolved trauma which has likely occurred during childhood. Early exposure to an unstable living environment , may result in a high reactivity to injury. Alongside this , a history of highly combative family relationships , may result in abusive behaviours being perceived as normative.

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I believe my ex-partner was very much burdened by a past filled with emotional turmoil and repeated disappointments from those who should have been most trustworthy to him. His family dynamic was very different to mine , where he was exposed to a cycle  of division and sabotage. I am sure that this has impacted his ability to trust and resulted in his tendency to test other’s loyalty  constantly.

Tolerance of Emotional Injury

Another common trait of those who are emotionally abusive , is the inability to tolerate injury. In the case of men , as boys they are taught to manage their emotions by avoiding overt expression of them ….‘don’t cry’, ‘don’t look sad’ , ‘don’t look anxious ‘. Consequently, as a means of coping with their emotions , they respond to emotional pain and insult by punishing those who are deemed at fault.

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The ability to tolerate emotional injuries is an important building block in the maintenance of a solid foundation in relationships , as we are all susceptible to repeated disappointments and hurt in daily life.

Fear of Loss and Failure

Emotionally abusive partners are surprisingly anxious in nature , and may have a persistent fear of impending failure , and hence seek to control their environment and relationship in order to protect themselves . This means of control is used to mask their feelings of inadequacy , depression and immense fear of losing it all.

How do they benefit ?

In an attempt to retain control , the emotionally abusive display a pattern of negative emotions , including blame , belittling , domination and constant criticism; and it is the response of the victim that provides a sense of power and importance which overthrows their sense of insecurity and fear of loss.

The most manipulative and injurious behaviours are typically uncovered when the victim of emotional abuse exhibits stability and progressive attitudes to life . In an attempt to diminish this , the abuser lashes out in a variety ways.

This was a pattern I came to recognise in my past relationship. I found that he would have unexplainable episodes of anger towards me , and this was typically during a period of self improvement (e.g. university finals , getting my drivers license) .

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I specifically recall an incident when I had just completed an examination , and was disappointed by my performance ( as usual I thought I had failed ) . I had sent him a message informing him of my worries. After sending that message , I had a conversation with other students about how the exam went and a few minutes ( about 20 mins) had passed . My phone vibrated and upon answering , I was met with a stern voice ‘where are you ?’ he asked. I explained where I was and apologised for my delay in responding to his messages . He retorted sharply with ‘ Sounds like your busy’.

The day rounded up with an argument about my inconsideration of him in not responding to his messages and I was hung up on. To this day I wonder what the actual problem was.

Behaviours like these caused me to be locked into a cycle of confusion and a feeling of constantly walking on eggshells in fear of him becoming infuriated by the smallest actions.

YOU DO NOT DESERVE IT

Despite the reasoning behind a person’s tendency to be emotionally abusive , it is WRONG and it is a reflection of their own issues with themselves and are being projected onto those that love them the most.

Dominance & Control

Dominance and control…. these are two  predominant features of an emotionally abusive relationship, and may manifest in a multitude of ways. These behaviours typically result in the victim losing their sense of self and their capacity for decision-making , whilst constantly questioning their own role in the development of their partner’s sense of insecurity.

Has your partner/abuser ever become overtly jealous and accusatory at even the most innocuous forms of attention or interaction ?

Well mine certainly did !!

This left me in a constant state of confusion, with a recurring cycle of internal criticism and wonder about what ‘I’ may have done to cause him/her to feel so threatened.

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His regular displays of jealous tantrums and control were caused by the simplest of interactions , leading to persistent accusations  varying from being praised too frequently about my cooking , to feeling that mare conversation with members of his family (who were often old enough to be my father) , was an expression or acceptance of their interest… and most importantly was an expression of overt disrespect to him. The list was endless !

I recall questioning his sanity a number of times , mainly due to his unreasonable and unfounded accusations that typically blindsided me. I was once accused of ‘staring’ at a family friend whilst our family prayed together ! He was absolutely livid … and there was no convincing him that this just simply had not occurred. I was praying ! (usually ones eyes are closed for these things!)

He also had a fixed belief that every thing I did was an open invitation for other’s expression of interest. For instance , simply brushing my hands through my hair (usually in the most unappealing manner !) , during a group conversation , was being flirtatious with his older relatives !

Things even progressed as far as him predicting that the reason for a friend (who I rarely spoke with , nor had the telephone number for) , ‘sounded strange on the phone’ and this could suggest that there was something going on between he and I. It was just exhausting !!

It was a never ending battle between being myself and managing  his insecurities and controlling behaviour. Soon , avoiding speaking with or making eye contact with others became easier than defending my character constantly and needlessly.

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As a means of control and domination , the abusive partner discourages the idea of sharing your time with others , even in the most innocuous of settings , and as such , will do whatever it takes to ensure that the victim never ‘crosses that line again’, with constant accusations , threats or jealous tantrums.

Dominance. Control. These things the unjust seek most of all. And so it its the duty of the JUST to defy dominance and to challenge control. Robert Fanney.

Has your partner/abuser ever become overtly jealous and accusatory as a means of control/ dominance ?

Welcome to my Journey

 

Emotional abuse is mental torture.

For me …. it was akin to placing all that you are (or were) into the grip of an anaconda; the more you thrash and fight (for who you are and what you stood for) , the tighter it’s grip becomes… until you give up, your muscles relax , your breathing slows … and you hand your emotions , thoughts , beliefs and self value over … just to make it stop.

Emotional abuse is highly underestimated, yet it is responsible for significant psychological trauma and mental scaring , leaving behind an empty shell , encased with self-doubt , diminished self-esteem , depression and anxiety.

This blog has sprouted from well enriched soil , filled with self-doubt , pain and a broken heart. This is my personal account of a 12 year cycle of emotional abuse and my fight to find ME again. I aim to tell my story as it unfolds , whilst educating others (and myself) about the nature of emotional abuse , the personality traits of the main offenders , whilst I take you with me on my journey to healing … Welcome to Finding ME….

“It is not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.” – Aisha Mirza