Every once in a while, I remember some of the things I hated most back then. I remember the yelling at our house, the constant criticizing and even the lengthy silent treatments that would drive me and my siblings crazy. I try not to let those times affect me, but I really don’t know if I’m doing a good job. I mean, what if I end up putting my family through the same pain and abuse without even realizing it?
It’s not easy to face the truth of the emotional abuse a person may have experienced at a young age. As a matter of fact, it takes a lot of courage to do so. However, facing the truth can be one of the most important steps toward becoming an emotionally healthy adult and breaking the cycle of emotional abuse in your life.
At Rice Psychology Group in Tampa, we know that you want a bright and healthy future for your loved ones. We’ll take you through some of the information that will let you break the abusive cycle and help you find what’s best for you and your family.
Facing an abusive past may be difficult, but it can help give your family the love and bright future they deserve.
Recognizing Emotional Abuse
According to psychologist Alice Miller, an emotionally-abused child who grows up and fails to recognize the truth of his/her past is very prone to repeat the same dangerous and abusive cycle with their own children. One of the key steps in moving away from this cycle is to evaluate. This means looking over the relationships you find yourself in (whether personal or professional) and the signs of emotional abuse. These can include:
- Silent Treatment – When the victim does or says something “wrong”, the abuser will psychologically punish them by completely ceasing verbal communication.
- Demeaning – The abuser will humiliate and attack the victim in front of others while making him/her believe their opinions, decisions or feelings are invalid.
- Blaming – When the victim confronts the abuser, he/she will refute their claim by leading the victim to believe his/her actions are a direct cause of the victim. This, in turn, leads to the story and argument being flipped onto the victim.
- Gaslighting – The abuser leads the victim to believe his/her claims of abuse are untrue by providing them with false information or denying any wrongdoing. This causes the victim to question their own memory.
- Criticizing – No matter how hard he/she tries, the victim will never be able to do something that pleases the abuser. If the abuser does acknowledge something positive, he/she may follow it with a long list of shortcomings.
A Clean Break
By defending or repeating your parent’s abusive actions, you could potentially become part of a bigger intergenerational issue that encourages the abuse cycle. But what can you possibly do to stop it, or at least begin to make a difference? For starters, it’s important to use the tools that will clear the path towards a brighter future:
- Confront the Past – Sometimes it may seem easier to shove the memories away and leave your trauma unresolved but confronting your past and understanding that you are not defined by it can help you to redefine your future. Abuse and trauma never make sense. It is wrong and you were wronged.
- Learn How to Stay Calm – Tense moments can act as triggers for emotions in your past. This could lead you to act irrationally, so it’s important that you learn to remain calm. The way you managed the intense stress then is not effective for the everyday stressors now. Understanding how these patterns have become automatic and learning how to respond differently can help you break the cycle.
- Be a Leader – Don’t teach your children anything if you don’t follow your own instructions. By using the right techniques to keep your composure and regulating your emotions, your children will learn these strategies and avoid sudden aggressive or withdrawn behaviors.
- Transform It – Raising your children in a safe and loving relationship transforms your past trauma into something meaningful. Take the time to listen to your children, understand their perspective even when you’ve made mistakes. By validating their upset, you validate your own. You will retain their trust in you and they will grow to embrace the fact that they important individuals who matter.
Rice Psychology Group Can Help
Sometimes it may seem easier to shove any abuse of your past deep into the annals of your memory in an attempt to completely forget them. However, if you want to break the cycle of abuse, you’ll have to face your fears. It really is easier said than done, but the team at Rice Psychology Group is ready to help you take the first step in the journey towards feeling better.
Our psychologists will provide you with a comfortable and relaxing environment designed to make you feel at ease when speaking with us. Our goal is to help you find the thing that will improve your quality of life. For more information about our services, feel free to contact us in Tampa today.