Healing From Emotional Abuse: Is This Love?

Healing From Emotional Abuse: Is This Love?

Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to be a five year process either. Millions of other survivors around the worlds entires lives have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

There is a lot of misconceptions regarding the fine line between a loving, healthy relationship, and toxic, abusive relationships.  On my facebook Page www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, I had a little campaign going where I would describe a behavior ask whether that behavior was love or abuse.  For the most part, I would say that I used a lot of leading language, so people generally got the answers right.  But there were a few points of contention that shocked me.  So I wanted to explore this concept.

What is love? Some people characterize love as an intense feeling of deep connection.  Or, feeling deep romantic, and sexual attachments to someone.  What is your definition of love?  What are actions and characteristics that you expect from someone who loves you?

Mine definition of love is the trust and respect towards someone that you have strong, affectionate feelings for.  I truly believe you cannot love someone without wholeheartedly trusting and respecting them.  Just like you can’t hate someone without loving them, you also can’t love someone without trust or respect.  Think of someone that you love.  It could be a family member or friend.  Do you also respect that person?  Do you respect opinions, their goals? Their wants and needs?  I know that I ask my friends for advice all the time, because I trust them and respect what they have to say.  Now, think of someone that you love but you don’t respect or trust. You don’t appreciate their opinions.  You don’t think they’re a good person, making good decisions and doing positive things with their life.  You don’t think they’ll keep your secrets?  You don’t feel comfortable or safe sharing your thoughts, feelings, opinions or experiences with them because they might judge you.  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Probably not.  And I expect anyone who loves me to also trust and respect me.  They go hand in hand.

“Love” without respect and trust in my opinion is just sexual tension.  That’s why friends with benefits often don’t end well. 

Abuse is treating a person or animal (but in this case a person) with cruelty or violence, regularly or repeatedly.  There has to be a pattern of abuse in order for it to be considered domestic violence, and intent to make the survivor feel badly. 

You wouldn’t normally think that these two concepts could get confused, right?  I mean they are so specific and so opposite. But think about this: You and your significant other, friend or family member, just pick one, are out to eat at a restaurant.  The meals you ordered come out and are set in front of you.  You excitedly dig in! The person you’re with looks at you, cringes and says, “You’re eating like a pig!”  How do you feel?

Here is where the controversy is.  Some people will hear that and think, “Well that was unnecessarily rude and judgmental. I’m hungry, and their intention was to make me feel uncomfortable, small or fat.  That’s not love.”  Meanwhile, someone else will hear that and think, “They were just looking out for me because they love me.”   Which one did you hear?

Obviously, there is an element of perception, but on paper, that is classic emotional abuse.  There are ways to convey a message about eating habits that aren’t low-key making someone feel uncomfortable, insecure, or judged.  The only purpose of staying that was to have control of you and what you’re eating. The less you feel good about yourself and your decisions, the more control they have over you.

And this is where the misunderstanding on abuse vs love comes in.  In this example, the abuser lacks RESPECT.  Can you think of another example, hopefully not personal, where someone you respected said something to you to intentionally make you feel insecure?  Write me a comment. 

Along the same lines is jealousy.  Jealousy is not love.  Jealousy is a trait portrayed by abusive people.  If your partner or friend tries to isolate you from other people because they don’t like you around other boys or other girls, or don’t “trust” you around people, that is an emotionally abusive and manipulative move.  The purpose isn’t to keep you safe.  It’s to keep you insecure and away from people that could undo the control they have on you, or empower you to feel good about yourself and your decisions.  Your Narcissist want to to feel like they are doing this for your benefit, when it’s truly and honestly not.  Someone who is jealous will typically put you down because they want you to be on their level.  This is toxic.  You should be surrounded by people who encourage you and boost you up

I have a friend who told me a story that I think will help to clarify this.  My friend, Jess, had a best friend, Ally.  Ally was very needy, and constantly needed Jess’s attention.  When she didn’t get that attention, she would blow up Jess’s phone, until Jess answered her. Then, Ally would use Jess’s disappearance to make Jess feel like a bad friend because Jess wasn’t there for Ally when she needed her.  The problem was, this happened all the time.  And usually, the situations that Ally would try and make Jess feel guilty about, either weren’t related to Jess at all, or weren’t that important.  Jess just wasn’t allowed, by Ally’s standards, to have a life outside of their friendship.  If they didn’t talk in a couple of days, Ally would harass Jess and call her a bad friend.  Ally would make Jess feel guilty for spending time with other people, and engaging in hobbies without inviting her along.  And it was toxic.  That kind of control and abuse, although might seem flattering on the outside, was a way for Ally to have a controlling hand on Jess. 

After Jess told me that story, I encouraged her to start to cut ties, because Jess didn’t feel like she could do anything anymore without running it by Ally first, or without starting a fight. That’s abusive, manipulative and controlling behavior.  Have you ever had a friend like that with a friend or family member?  Someone who would make you feel guilty or uncomfortable for spending time with other people, or harass you until you answered the phone?  That’s not okay. And it’s not flattering.  It’s abusive.

Regarding the aforementioned facebook posts, I wanted to run them by you, and let me know if you think whether these are abuse or love?

  1. Your partner feels insecure or jealous over your achievements. Love or Abuse?

2. Your partner checks your text messages and social media accounts.  Love or Abuse?

3. Your Partner monitoring your eating habits. Telling you what you can and can’t eat.   Love or Abuse?

Hey! If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there

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