Just a Girl and a Plan

I’m working on something I think is the hardest undertaking I have tried. This includes admitting to people I attempted suicide, was raped which resulted in a pregnancy that lead to a miscarriage, was sexually assaulted, abused, and have mental illnesses. Harder than trying to determine the start of anything I write.

I’m starting a journey. Queue music.

Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world.  …  Streetlight people, looking just to find emotion… Don’t stop believing hold on to…

I am on a journey already. I’m working on myself, on self acceptance. This is different than self esteem, which is like being your own cheerleader, using accolades and achievements to build yourself up. In layman terms, self-esteem is  giving yourself high-fives. (Seriously, you might dislocate that shoulder of yours if you keep patting yourself on the back so much buddy. I’m sure though if one little thing went wrong, that esteem will plummet and you’d feel shattered, and need to start all over again.)

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Self acceptance is different. It’s about accepting yourself. You don’t pat yourself on the back or try to high-five yourself. (After all, that looks silly and you might hit yourself in the face.) Instead, self-acceptance is looking at yourself, everything about you, and learning to accept it, live with it, embrace it. Or something like that anyways. You learn your strengths and weaknesses and you’re okay with them. Think of the dictionary definitions — willingness to tolerate, action of consenting, action or process of being received as acceptable — and apply that oneself. That’s what I’m trying to do.

That’s what I’m trying to do.

There’s so much about me that I need to accept. A fraking laundry list of issues to deal with, to accept. (Oh BSG how I miss you.)

This isn’t to say I haven’t started to accept myself, or that I’m just beginning. It’s a journey that has been ongoing for a while actually, but I’m only just realizing that this is what I have been doing.

So, that laundry list. Would you like to see some of it?

Depression and anxiety, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, being raped, assaulted and sexually assaulted, abuse, relationships failing one after the other, suicide attempt, self harming, miscarriage of my rapist’s baby, being cut off from family, losing friends, that time I was homeless for a bit, a lifetime of being bullied, at times having issues with alcohol…

This isn’t the full. I mean, let’s be real here, dealing with all of that, I’ve never had self-esteem, never been my own cheerleader. So, how can I actually accept myself or start to?

By realizing that while the past has changed me, I cannot change the past. It’s as simple as that. Some pretty shitastical things have happened to me and there are only two choices presented.

First option:  play the victim and let these things dictate my entire life, keeping trapped as the victim.

Second option: realize and accept that these things have happened, put on my big girl panties, and keep on moving.

I have chosen. I’ve chosen to accept accept and keep moving. I’m accepting, well learning to accept myself. This includes the past events and the things I vastly dislike about myself. They are what create me, this beautifully ugly, quirky, scarred, person that is writing this.

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I am getting semi okay with this acceptance thing. Take for example my self esteem level. It’s never been high, okay, it’s closer to non existent than anything else. I’m not okay that it causes me to shy away from a lot of things, including trying to expand my circle of acquaintances, but I’ve accepted that I am like this. So this mean though that I just shrug my shoulders at it, let it be, and keep doing what I always do, right?

Wrong. Catastrophically wrong.

This is where the hard work part starts for me. See, I’ve learned that with self acceptance, there is more than just stating to yourself “That’s just how I am” or “That’s just life”. Some work is involved. Ugh, yes one of the worst four letter words to ever be used. Work. You need to accept the reality, the reality of the situation or aspect that you are accepting.

So, I have accepted that I have almost nil self esteem. I’m just going to ignore this now, okay? Guess again, I need to now look at it. Why is my self esteem in such a state? Bully for almost my entire life, especially when I was younger caused this. Most importantly the constant put downs from a sibling hurt my self esteem the most, making me feel worthless. Great, so now I’m just not going to talk to anyone to avoid any further damage. Not quite. I’ve now realized where this came from, which is improvement, however I now have a fork in the road. I can shrug it off, pretend that it doesn’t exist, and stay as I am, complacent, OR I can give the bullies the middle finger, and see if there are any changes I can make.

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Honestly, I haven’t quite made a move at the fork. This is the start of journey, and as much as I love showing people my amazingly crooked knuckle middle fingers (I have broken my fingers just a few times, or 10), I don’t know how yet. Am I going to just sit there, or will I try to make changes? Can I change how I feel regarding my self esteem or the way I think people perceive me?

This is really where my journey is beginning. I’m just past the dizzying circle of the Yellow Brick Road winding through town, and I’m now outside, heading towards the Emerald City, with a long way to go.

What will I discover and accept? What further choices will I make?

 

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Heroes in my Life

I posted on Monday that I’ve been losing myself in this world of depression, I didn’t think things would get worse, but somehow they were able to.  I’ve reached the point where all I want to do is sleep and not wake up, to finally have peace. While you are reading this, I’ll be getting ready to go to the viewing of my one of my grandfathers.

About an hour after publishing the piece on Monday, I received news that my mother’s father passed away a few moments before I was contacted. I knew he was not doing great. The day before I spent at his bedside talking about the good times we had when I was younger and crying and apologizing for not being around the past 3 years out my own stupidity. He had been bed ridden since a stroke a few years ago that left him paralyzed on his one side. Friday night he became violently ill and would not recover.

This amazing and remarkable guy meant the world to me, still does. He introduced me to history, painting, calligraphy, photography, sketching, classic movies and music, and my first set of tools. (Ok they were both mine and my brother’s, we had to share.) We would have marathon games of Monopoly, and watch the home movies he took of my mom and her brother, of them building the house they lived in. We’d take walks in the woods behind their house, or go swimming at the pool, pony and balloon rides at my Grandmother’s company picnic. He would be at every ballet recital taking photos and handing me flowers after.

There were family vacations that I’ll never forget. Always to the beach where we’d see the wild ponies, and dolphins. That one time we saw a pregnant mare with a stork sitting on her hindquarters making jokes that it was her due time. Sitting with him and his brother after dinner listening to stories of when the were younger and causing mischief, not that they ever stopped either (explains a bit about my brother and I and that we just didn’t inherit from our father). The love of motorcycles was born from my grandfather. The pictures of him and his brother with their Harley’s is pure love. He never lost that care free attitude and love of living.

He didn’t just introduce me to the arts, he gifted them to me. If it wasn’t for him, my writing, painting, photography, all of it, would not exist. I inherited this through him, as he did from his family. He comes from a line of artists, writers, musicians. My dad’s side of the family were not artists, and my grandmother wasn’t either. It came from grandpa. I do it all but singing. Trust me, my kitten sings better than I do, however I do write, play instruments, sculpt, paint, draw, craft, photography (though the writing is much harder at this moment).

He taught me to see the good in everything, to look at life through the viewfinder. That’s where you will see the magic. Even when he was bed ridden those last years, he always had a camera with him to take photos. An artist ’til the end. I miss him each and every moment. To that end, I’ve pulled out all of the art supplies, and the drafting table he gave me that have been to each and every new apartment, and have begun a series of painting some of my photography, so I can have all he introduced me to with me always.

Sadly, the tale doesn’t end there. As I was finally wrapping my head around his death, and trying to pull myself together, I received more news. My father’s father died. He had been sick since the winter and slipped into a state that made him weaker and weaker. Dementia took over, and he finally slipped away. That was Wednesday. Within the span of 3 days, I lost 2 of the men in my life that helped to shape who I am.

Growing up, I was always Lindsay or Linds, but to my dad’s father, I was Linnie. I would smile each time he’d say it. I was his Linnie. I’m crying just thinking about it. He’d see me and give me the biggest hug and kiss, and yell “Linnie” when he’d see me. He was also at all my ballet recitals smiling and full of hugs. He had a harder life, so he was a bit rough around the edges, but I loved each of those edges just as I loved my other grandfather as well. He was a steel worker, and before that, a US Airforce man. That’s where he met my grandmother. They both were military people when they were younger.

There were always animals living in his house. Dogs, cats, birds, they all lived there at different times. I was never without seeing a pet when I visited them. Because of that, my dad and mom always had pets as well as we were growing up. I also learned by observing that when your parents get older, you take care of them. Until she died, his mother lived with them. I got to see my great-grandmother quite a lot as she lived with my grandfather and grandmother.

My dad and grandfather are the ones that introduced me to whisky, the cure for everything when you’re sick, well just about everything. I also learned, which it’s funny to think about, but being raised in a Steel Town, when the mills were working, you knew who worked at which mill by the beer they drank. My grandfather, he was an Iron City man. The 2 other beers were Duquesne and High Life I believe, though PBR might have been in there too. I’ve always been a beer and whisky girl thanks to this.

I learned to play cards from Grandpa. I learned Spades and Hearts and a version of Aggravation Rummy. We loved playing cards.  We’d watch old movies and westerns together. Family vacations meant both Grandfathers getting together and we’d have John Wayne marathons. Though I’ll be honest, I have 2 favorite Westerns, and while one is a John Wayne (McClintock!), the other is not. Magnificent 7 just wins hands down for me. I would love family vacations where I’d have both Grandfathers and my Great Uncle together because we’d have movie marathons. We’d have the westerns, and we’d have the Tom Clancy movies, and the Bourne Series, and anything else. We just loved movies.

Still waiting on arrangements for my father’s father, though in the meantime, this glass of Tully’s is for you Grandpa.

They both taught me so much, work ethics were instilled to me, as well as having an open heart. Neither of them gave up, and they gave their all. They were fighters and stubborn to the end. They both accepted so many people, and I watched my one grandfather over come prejudices and become friends with people he swore to never befriend.

If only I can live up to their legacies.

First, I need to live.

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Losing Myself

what-is-depressionDriving home the other day, I looked out at the river I drive along and it looked peaceful. So peaceful that I wanted to go in and submerge myself without plans to come up.

It was a wake up call for me. I’ve not been paying attention to myself lately and missing the signs. Urges, thoughts, feelings, those things you are suppose to take note of about yourself to make sure you are mentally healthy, I’ve ignored them and now depression has taken hold of me and pulled me back down to a place I hoped to not see again. I’m within the darkness of my mind, depressions shadows and lifelessness swallowing me whole once again.

It’s funny the things you can ignore in the need to feel “normal” to pretend this group of ugly illnesses do not exist. The forgetfulness increasing when normally remembering everything. The order of things suddenly becoming the most important thing, along with keeping a routine the exact same every day with no deviations, otherwise everything feels off. Feeling more of an outsider and unwanted. Wondering if you were no longer around if people would miss you or even notice. Always wanting to sleep and feeling utterly exhausted. Interest in anything has become obsolete, and forcing yourself to go anywhere or do anything is the only way things will happen. Anxiety choking you, fear and panic drowning you.

The world has become black, covered in shadows, with no way out. My thoughts have turned a bit morbid, darker, bleak, suicidal. Whether or awake or asleep, the world is black. When looking at my palette for the day, all I find is misery and hopelessness to paint with, having washed the joy down the sink. That little pill that makes me feel alive, has stopped producing it’s magic.

Suicidal thoughts and inclinations have started coming at an alarming rate, along with the urges to harm myself. The urges were at such a steady increase I needed to do something. I booked an appointment with my tattoo artist, and had some work done. I sport a reminder on my forearm, that I am the author of my life. I make the choice whether I live or die. I need that reminder quite often right now. I need to talk myself away from hurting myself, away from ending things.

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These thoughts and feelings of being out of control of myself and my life, worthlessness, constant exhaustion, blackness, forgetfulness, failure, they need to stop.

I called the psychiatric hospital and clinic as soon as I became to come out of the fog enough to notice what has been going on. I’m in a depressive episode, and not just a small one. I need help.

I thought I was strong and able to overcome this. I’m not. I’m weak. I’m failing. I cannot do this. I’m fighting. I’m fighting against myself and I’m losing. wylMentalHealth

I’m back in therapy now. Only had the evaluation and the first session, but it’s a start. I see the doctor on the 14th about my medication(s) to start having that adjusted.

My first official session was about goals. We created long term and short term goals. My goals are set to help myself, not anyone else, but me. I am to work on and focus on me. This is me time. That’s going to take getting use to. I don’t know how to focus on me. That has always seemed selfish to me, however I’m told that if I want to get better, some things need to be about me, so these goals will help that. I want to gain interest back in art, and have my own shop set up to sell my work. Also, I want to attend a conference for blogging and writing, finally, I want to have self esteem to have better relationships, stable relationships. In order to achieve these, I am going to start with getting my art and crafts area set up. I have been told I need to write and publish an article every week. As for self esteem, well I need to have one positive mantra a week, whether it be something I thought of, or found on the interwebs.

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Going to try to do this. I have no ambition right now. It’s lacking like the Sahara lacks water and vegetation. I am empty. I have a tough fight ahead of me. I hope I’m up for this. I hope I can make it. I hope I don’t give up and give in. I have demons inside of me, and they are trying to escape. How can I let them out and not let them win?

Shattered

So I’ve been working on a piece to follow up The Day I Died posted on Hasty Words site this week. I like writing around a poem that tries to display what I’m feeling as sometimes it displays it better than describing what happened. This piece is had the assistance of the Amazing Hasty Words as I was a little stuck. She is incredible as we all know. Love that woman. Anyways, sometimes you meet a person that you think is the answer to love, and learn a dark secret about them. I wish it didn’t happen, but it does. As life goes, we tend to not notice until it’s too late and the abuse has been on going. This is my story.

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SHATTERED

Your love is a dirty little drug
Seeping, flowing through my veins
Leaving me frozen and numb
To feel none of the pains

You made me feel alive
To forget the fear raging inside
Covering my world in shadows
Urging me to run and hide

Holding on to my dark addiction
Obsession that overrides sanity
I need the love you hurt me with
I crave the desire that tortures me

I am now a patchwork quilt
Just pieces of torn fabric
Emotions stitched together
With ragged melancholy seams

With your skin like Iron and mine like Glass
Saying you love me and want to set me free
Reaching ever closer and closer
you lean in and shatter me

Golden Tarnished Apples

Like Golden Apples in Silver Settings so is a Word Spoken at the Right Time.  – Proverbs 25:11tarished

I remember hearing and reading that bible quote when I was little, but never really thinking twice about it. Until now that is. Never has became frequently lately.

As a child I lived in my own world, mine and my brother’s that we invented and shared. I didn’t feel lonely, I didn’t feel depressed, I didn’t need to know that people realized I existed. I had my brother after all, and we kept each other company. Being a year apart we did most things together and entertained each other. It was a funny competition like thing we had where we had to prove that what the other was doing, we could to. We looked out for each other, and while we picked on each other, no one was allowed to mess with the other. I knew I wasn’t the only person alive, I had my brother. He accepted that I was weird and goofy usually, and a little off from others, not as outspoken.

We were like this

We were like this

Then life happened and we grew more apart, went our separate ways. He had his plethora of friends, I had my very few amount. He got married, has a kid, his own family. I was raped, became pregnant, lost a child, became introverted, tried suicide, hurt myself. We went different routes as life normally does. I lost that constant companion, that person that affirmed that I wasn’t alone, that things was ok, the one person I told my troubles to. I lost my connection to people, that little bit that tied me to life.

He provided words to me. Words that reaffirmed that I was alive and not alone. Words of encouragement. The silly teasing that goes on between brother and sister. Standing against our sister together, her verbal abuse.

Then slowly the shadows consumed me, the darkness of my mind being all that I saw, misery and despair all I heard, nothing being what I felt, I was nothing.

I had to learn to survive on my own, and it was a beautiful disaster.

I bottled everything inside of me. I stayed in my shadows. I shared nothing, and pretended I was invisible. It must have worked because no one talked to me. No one asked how I was doing. No one cared. I started to drink whenever I could. I was hurting myself in multiple ways. No one seemed to think twice about it. No one questioned it. There were no words. Silence, if anything, pushed me further away from life.

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I lived in a world of silence, darkness, emptiness; a vacuum. My life was nothing.

Then something happened. A friend I didn’t think was there anymore spoke to me. He asked me to get help. Someone noticed, and then spoke. It stuck with me. I did not act upon it right away. I had no light, no way to escape, but I would find it, because of those words, that request asking me to get help.

Eventually I got that help, saw a psychiatrist, actually a legion of them, as apparently I was a bit more twisted, broke, and lost than originally thought to be. My first psychiatrist sent me to group therapy when she saw some of my wounds and scars. My group wasn’t just about being in a group with others that were disturbed and wanted to find ways to end things, it was groups of psychiatrists and therapists. Eventually I learned ways to manage, to deal, to not hide in the shadowy darkness all of the time, though as those that suffer from mental illnesses know, there are relapses, ups and downs, as this roller coaster never ends that our brains are on. I still have issues. I still battle, still feel alone, helpless, and at times, I want to end it all. Other times I’m in an okay place where I can manage.

In those helpless times, it seems that I have someone watching out for me. When I need it the most, I will get a text, an IM, a Snapchat, or an email, some form of communication just asking how I am, or saying hi. I have a lifeline, a tether to the world reaching out to me. Something to connect me back to people. I didn’t ask, I didn’t hope for it, it was just there when I needed it. A treasure.

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I try to hide everything and hold it in. It’s who I am, so when that small word, or something comes across to show that someone is thinking about me, it brings a little more of me to the picture. I start to fill in. I’m not invisible. I don’t have my brother the way I did before, and it still is the hardest thing to want to bring these types of things up to him, but I’m learning that there are others out there that lend those words and thoughts, those lights and lifelines and tethers I desperately need at times.

II try to be this tether to others. I love sitting down at a computer and writing. I open up friends list and see who is on and send messages out saying hi. I go through my contacts in my phone and send a good morning, how are you to people. I’ve had people do that to me when I’m at my lowest, or needing a word spoken, I hope I can do the same to others. I hope to provide golden apples, albeit a bit tarnished. I apologize for that.

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Anniversaries – Not Always Happy

So, I don’t usually bring this up at all, but it’s hitting me a bit hard this year. On this date 11 years ago (which happened to be Mother’s Day), I found out I was pregnant as a result of the rape. This year it’s like a punch in the stomach. And I know in a few weeks in July, it will be the anniversary of my miscarriage.

When I found out about the pregnancy, I admit, I was shocked and devastated. I now have a reminder of what had happened to me, and have it always there. I didn’t want that. I felt that  would not be able to care for this child without constant reminders. I didn’t tell my family, because then I’d have to tell them about the rape, not something I wanted to do.

It took a little bit of time, and I’m unsure why, but my mind changed. I accepted the fact that I was pregnant, as well as realized that it was not this baby’s fault. This baby that was starting to grow inside of me, was not who  hurt me and took away what was me. This could be a chance to make myself better, perhaps get over what had happened, or at least move past it. This could be my silver lining, after all, I was always wanting my own family and children.

Then the bottom dropped out again. At around 14 weeks pregnant, I lost the baby. My world fell apart again. After just realizing that I had a chance to find a bit of happiness and move on a little bit, it disappeared again. I had a bubble of sunshine, that was swallowed back up in the empty. It was after this that I had slipped into the deepest darkest depression that took forever to get out of. You know the one, where I was self harming, attempted suicide, cut myself off from anyone, so on and so on.

So for some reason this year, it’s hitting me hard. I’ve cried a few times this week and felt awful. If I’m feeling like this now, what’s it going to be like in a couple of weeks? I hope the dark doesn’t become too much.

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It Isn’t All Physical

DISCLAIMER: I apologize for the blocks of text, but this is something I have been wanting to say.

Something that I don’t mention often is abuse, and more specifically, Psychological (mental, emotional, verbal) Abuse. It’s much harder to spot than physical abuse, but just as, if not more, destructive. Just think, there are no marks to look for, as it’s all internal, mentally and emotionally leaving bruises and scars.
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It’s hard to admit when you’re in this type of situation. I admit I was raped, and that’s a type of abuse, sexual abuse, yet do you know how long it takes to admit I was in an abusive relationship? To give you an idea, I have only start to come to terms with it, and that’s only because of therapy and an outside perspective.

psychological abuse

Emotional abuse, mental abuse A form of mistreatment in which there is intent to causemental or emotional pain or injury; PA includes verbal aggression, statements intended to humiliate or infantilize, insults, threats of abandonment or institutionalization; PA results in stress, social withdrawal, long-term or recalcitrant depression, anxiety – McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002

Psychological abuse is also referred to as emotional and mental abuses. It targets and works in a few different ways and they all seem subtle. I personally feel that it is worse than physical abuse because it affects us mentally, making us undermine and change how we view ourselves. It can happen in all aspects of life, whether it’s from family members, work mates, romantic partners, or in the case of some, school mates. So how can you start to recognize it?

Let’s break it down into some groups of the forms that this type of abuse can take.

Intimidation and Degradation
Just imagine everything that makes up who you are, your core values and your personality traits. Makes you feel good knowing who you are doesn’t it? Now, take that, and imagine if you were constantly ridiculed, belittled, or put down about whats you who you are. You are starting to question if you’re good enough aren’t you? Suddenly everything that happens to you is a joke, and if you react negatively to it, you are too sensitive. Nothing about you is good enough, your thoughts an opinions mean nothing and are wrong. Now imagine that not only does this happen privately, but more so in front of others. Feeling really great now aren’t you? Remember though, this may seem  negative now, but this will just build character and make you stronger. They are only telling you that your fat because they want you to feel better and get healthy.
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Passive Aggressive Behavior of Emotional Support and Nurturance
This one is a little hard to describe for me, so bare with me here as this one is one of the most subtle tactics, therefore one of the most damaging I believe. Imagine you are having a normal heated couple’s argument. In the middle of it, out of nowhere, your partner yells how their mother was snubbed the last time at a gathering, and how no one is allowed to treat their mother like that, it’s unacceptable. Random, out of the blue as it had nothing to do with what you were arguing over. Suddenly you start thinking about that, what does it have to do with this? Then it moves to, Oh god, it must have been me. That leads you to think that this must be why your partner is mad. It is your fault, this whole mess was brought upon because of you. Partner’s anger is a result of your behavior. However then your partner is telling you that they understand it’s hard for you to be polite, after all, they grew up in a loving environment, but you, you are damaged, however they love you. How could any of this be from hate, they love you, they’re understanding.  (TBH, I don’t have much experience that I remember with this one, so harder for me to descibe.)

Isolation and Restricting
I think this one and the follow one are easy to recognize and go almost hand in hand. This is pretty easy to imagine. Every time you want to go to the store or just out for a walk, they are with you. They’re screening your phone calls, or not even letting you talk to friends and family any more. The extent of how and when you go outside is limited to whether or not they are with you. And if they’re not with you, you’re not going out. Pretty simple, but there are undermining ways to do this. “I’m making sure that no one bothers you and that you’re safe.” “Why can’t you do that at home, I miss you when you’re gone and it’s less time that we spend together.” “We can do that together as a couple’s bonding thing.” Yeah, I’ve heard all of that before.
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Control or Domination
No, not the kinky kind you weirdo. I’m referring to the most obvious tactic that is used, controlling/dominating. You can see this usually within 4 areas, decision making, relationships, activities, and self-image. I feel that this one, and isolation go hand in hand. Think about it for a minute. In decision making, you are not longer allowed to make the decisions because you just make bad ones anyways, your opinions don’t matter. And what you are doing and with whom, well that’s already been decided, you’re not allowed to choose. This weekend you are going to be with your partners friends at the baseball game you didn’t want to go to. You wanted to go to your friend’s house and see their new baby. Nope, not allowed, after all, they were just at the hospital and might have something, and you know you don’t want to get sick. Besides, they really are a bad influence on you and don’t bring out your best side. (See how much they care about you? Keeping you so safe from the bad influences and environments your friends create, as well as making sure you’re not sick for work later.) You know that movie you and your friends wanted to see, that’s not a great idea. It’s late at night, and the subject of that movie is not what you should be viewing anyways. They make it seem like they can conquer the world, and yet you cannot handle one little issue. They’ll build you up, and then tear you right back down. a77fc699b08f4388ef1e5a67855bbd95

These are just some of the forms, and ways you can see psychological abuse taking place. They’re just guidelines from experience and what was provided to me from my therapists. I think the one thing to take away, be aware. This happens, and it’s manipulating. After looking back over this, I was abused my entire life, by my sister. She is the master manipulator, the queen of putting others down, and trying to control you, and I did not stand a chance. No wonder my self esteem is non existent. I mean honestly, since almost the day I was born, I have been in the way, cannot do anything right, destroy any vacation, and no one wants to be around me. She was worse than the boyfriend that was being an abuser. She makes him look like a saint.

Below is a list of things to look at if you think yourself, or someone you know, is in a psychologically abusive relationship.

  • Humiliation, degradation, discounting, negating. judging, criticizing:
    Does anyone make fun of you or put you down in front of others?
    Do they tease you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you?
    When you complain do they say that “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive?
    Do they tell you that your opinion or feelings are “wrong?”
    Does anyone regularly ridicule, dismiss, disregard your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, and feelings?
  • Domination, control, and shame:
    Do you feel that the person treats you like a child?
    Do they constantly correct or chastise you because your behavior is “inappropriate?”
    Do you feel you must “get permission” before going somewhere or before making even small decisions?
    Do they control your spending?
    Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them?
    Do they make you feel as though they are always right?
    Do they remind you of your shortcomings?
    Do they belittle your accomplishments, your aspirations, your plans or even who you are?
    Do they give disapproving, dismissive, contemptuous, or condescending looks, comments, and behavior?
  • Accusing and blaming, trivial and unreasonable demands or expectations, denies own shortcomings:
    Do they accuse you of something contrived in their own minds when you know it isn’t true?
    Are they unable to laugh at themselves?
    Are they extremely sensitive when it comes to others making fun of them or making any kind of comment that seems to show a lack of respect?
    Do they have trouble apologizing?
    Do they make excuses for their behavior or tend to blame others or circumstances for their mistakes?
    Do they call you names or label you?
    Do they blame you for their problems or unhappiness?
    Do they continually have “boundary violations” and disrespect your valid requests?
  • Emotional distancing and the “silent treatment,” isolation, emotional abandonment or neglect:
    Do they use pouting, withdrawal or withholding attention or affection?
    Do they not want to meet the basic needs or use neglect or abandonment as punishment?
    Do they play the victim to deflect blame onto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes?
    Do they not notice or care how you feel?
    Do they not show empathy or ask questions to gather information?
  • Codependence and enmeshment:
    Does anyone treat you not as a separate person but instead as an extension of themselves?
    Do they not protect your personal boundaries and share information that you have not approved?
    Do they disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?
    Do they require continual contact and haven’t developed a healthy support network among their own peers?
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There are both short and long term effects that result from Psychological abuse:

Short Term

  • Surprise and confusion
  • Questioning of one’s own memory, “did that really happen?”
  • Anxiety or fear; hypervigilence
  • Shame or guilt
  • Aggression (as a defense to the abuse)
  • Becoming overly passive or compliant
  • Frequent crying
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Feeling powerless and defeated as nothing you do ever seems to be right (learned helplessness)
  • Feeling like you’re “walking on eggshells”
  • Feeling manipulated, used and controlled
  • Feeling undesirable

Long Term

  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Emotional instability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Physical pain without cause
  • Suicidal ideation, thoughts or attempts
  • Extreme dependence on the abuser
  • Underachievement
  • Inability to trust
  • Feeling trapped and alone
  • Substance abuse

This is not a fun list at all, and can completely destroy someone. I strong capable man or woman can become a person that is barely existing. It can take years or a lifetime to overcome these problems if at all. So if you know someone that is going through this, just be there for them, and make sure that they know it’s not their fault, they’re not to blame. Help them be themselves, but for goodness sake, don’t belittle them, please.

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