Getting Past the Language of Victim and Blame
Over these past twenty five years researching and studying the science of love, I have often come across terms which defy rational thought, yet are considered everyday reality. One of those terms, which I would like to examine today is emotional abuse.Emotional Abuse ? It''s just no use. Over my twenty five years researching and studying the science of love, I have often come across terms which defy rational thought, yet are considered everyday reality. One of those terms is emotional abuse, something I would like to examine today. This term has appeared more and more in my conversations with women over the past 10 years. It is usually in reference to some sort of verbal transaction that takes place between two people, one of whom feels uncomfortable with the either the content or the tone of the exchange. Their discomfort is a reaction to behaviour ranging from shouting obscenities, to what is now called passive aggression - silent treatment that causes one to feel uneasy.
It is healthy to be aware that violence can also come in non-physical forms. No one deserves to be screamed at, threatened or cursed. So, at one end of this behavioural spectrum, known as emotional abuse, there is a healthy boundary around good and respectful communication. However, at the other end of this spectrum, as more and more women find solace in understanding their emotional distress is being caused by non physical violence, there is a secondary affect, which may not be as healthy.
If you were to be criticized, what determines the effect of that criticism, your reaction or their words? If you insult me, is it my reaction or your words that are the problem? On the one hand, you want intimacy with me, so you ask for emotional honesty. On the other, you feel emotions that you don''t like, so you call that emotional abuse. We need to make up our mind. Do we want intimacy, which means emotional honesty? Or do we want peace, non-abuse?
Many of us are angry at the violence in the world, our homes or business. Did you know that this violence is representative of the masculine principle of the universe? Peace and war are always in harmony. More peace more war. More avoidance of intimacy by one individual, breeds an excess emotional expression in the other.
So although there are many valid and extreme situations that justify the term emotional abuse, the term has become an emotional catch all for many people who are angry at masculinity, and afraid of intimacy.
The point is that much of what is called emotional abuse is actually people turning up honestly - intimacy. But there are also a lot of people out there who have not healed their past, looking for "non violent" relationships. This means, "don''t ruffle my feathers, don''t cause me unrest, don''t mess with my ego, I am at peace".
I understand this "don''t ruffle my feathers" idea. It is half healing for people who have bought into a non-violent philosophy such as Yoga or Buddhism in order to justify their own dislike for confrontations. Why?
Confrontations challenge our ego. Our ego, or better worded, our identity, is based on who we think we are. We overrate our importance and create these ideas, "I am what I think". Then, because we are so invested in this new identity, we become more fragile. So instead of a Yogi becoming more open-minded and less sensitive to the world around him, he becomes more sensitive, more reactive, more allergic, and less able to cope with pollution, normal food and tap water. He becomes super sensitized, because he sanitizes the world in order to be his new identity.
Identity keeps us from intimacy and in most cases, certainty comes from identity.The more we say "I am a ...", the further we move from love, the more we have invested in ego. So, if I say "I don''t have an identity, I am confused and unsure", I am probably becoming quite spiritual.
When somebody insults you, who has the power? They do, if you react. You do, if you smile. So, when you label someone''s criticism, judgement, emotion and pressure as emotional abuse, you hand your power away, become a victim and say, "He did this to me". In fact, the power is really in knowing that it is you who choses how to react. Try it. Try agreeing when someone insults you. Simply say, with a smile, "I know." No matter what they say, it''s true. Everyone has every trait. Self love is to know it.
You may wish to examine this in all areas where people play victim, and see the result. Even in many situations of sexual harassment in the workplace (not all), it''s really how we react to things that define their power.
Chris Walker http://www.chriswalker.com.au