Overcoming emotional abuse
When we talk about domestic violence, most people automatically think of physical hostility. However, that is not always the case; abusers use a range of behaviors to control their partners.

Emotional abuse can leave scars that sometimes last longer than the injuries of physical abuse. Bullying, humiliating, degrading or putting someone down, and playing mind games (making the victim think they are crazy) are just a few types of emotional abuse. Psychologist Lucy Paillon, PhD uses the phrase “soul mugging” to describe what happens to survivors of emotional abuse. Paillon says, “When you allow someone to call you names, to gaslight you, to lie to you, and you keep staying, you’re mugging your own soul. You’re letting someone else tell you who you are and how to think.”
One may ask, “Why do victims stay?” Many victims stay in relationships because their self-worth has been shattered and they cannot see themselves beyond that relationship. Feelings of unworthiness can make victims believe that is all they deserve and that they can’t enjoy life without their abuser.
However, victims and survivors can heal from emotional abuse, but healing takes time. If you are feeling unworthy due to emotional abuse, take time to reflect on what gives your life a sense of meaning or purpose, and begin to discard the belief that you are not good enough. Your sense of purpose is powerful and it is worth finding. Work on it just a little and hold onto your dreams. Your new path will be liberating and life-giving.
Don’t allow fear to hold you back. Motivational speaker Les Brown states “Fear is the most subtle and destructive of all human diseases. Fear kills dreams and hope.” Fear holds you back from doing those things that you know you are capable of doing. Don’t give up on yourself. Believe that you deserve better and there is something greater in store for your life. Also, don’t hold on to a toxic relationship because you think there will be no one else. You must believe you are worth more than being repeatedly hurt by someone who doesn’t know your worth.
If you or someone you know has experienced intimate partner violence, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Please contact us locally at 256.574.5826, on our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000, or at our website www.csna.org. Advocates provide free, confidential support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

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