Deciphering insidious messages (guest blogger)

Written by Amie on January 22, 2015 – 11:37 am -

I have a guest blogger!

This is the first time I have had a guest blogger on my site. I really want to post this because I believe it will be very helpful for many people. Many (probably most) people have been exposed to dysfunctional and abusive behavior. If you were exposed for many years to dysfunctional behavior, chances are very good that you are still suffering as an adult from the messages you absorbed and didn’t even realize it. It was just “normal” behavior. Until we begin the journey of questioning depression/anxiety/anger, we most likely will not notice the interactions that feed these conditions (for lack of a better word). These interactions feel so familiar to us that most of us assume there is something wrong with us when we walk away from the interaction feeling miserable. Rather than go inward with the feelings (depression), some people explode with rage and either hurt themselves or others. Early on in my healing process, I had no idea why I still felt horrible after being with certain people. And then I figured it out. Their actions never matched their words. Their energy was saying one thing, but their actions another. Their words were not really expressing their truth, their words were being used to manipulate people and situations in order to fulfill their need to stay locked in their abusive behavior. The rest of this post will be written by a guest blogger.

 Abusive behavior and what it looks like 

*I am using “he” rather than write out “he/she” each time.

As long as the abuser has you (and all of his supporters) questioning YOU (the victim), the focus is off of him. When the focus is taken off the abuser, he does not have to face the fact that the problem in the relationship is his past and continued abusive ways. Instead, he can blame you for causing problems, and not “forgiving” (when in reality the true issue is that you simply held him accountable for his abusive behavior, you stood up to him when nobody would, and he sees this as you causing problems) Abusive people lie, blame, and deny and they are masters at all of these. They play the victim, and could win an Oscar for their performance. Anything to avoid facing the truth of what is actually happening. Their supporters (enablers) all flock to defend him. However, even the supporters will claim they are not supporting his behavior. Instead they say they are supporting both the abuser and the victim. (this is not possible). They say things like, “but he loves his family”, “he would do anything for his kids”, (EXCEPT WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO, WHICH IS SAY HOW HE HAS CHANGED HIS ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR) If you ask him to tell you how he has changed (because you want to know this before agreeing to be around him again), you are called demanding and controlling. The enablers then use guilt, shame, and lies to try and shut you up from speaking the truth. The abuser will tell the enablers lies in order to keep them believing he is the victim (like saying “I did admit what I did to her”,or “I have changed”,or “I have done everything possible to fix this”) and then say something different to the victim. (like lying about what really happened, not, in fact, admitting the truth).

Guilt, guilt and more guilt. Oh, and some shame too

Another way to attempt to guilt you is to ask you, “what would God want you to do?” (As if these people have this answer! lol) And then they ask, “Can’t we just start anew?”(this being said over and over, even after the abuser has had multiple chances to repair the relationship) “Can’t we just start anew” is another guilt trip laden remark. The person asking this question just wants you to shut up and stop trying to make the abuser and enabler change anything. Let’s start anew means, let’s sweep it under the rug like we always do. They want to go back to the way it was, but SAY things have changed, when in fact, they haven’t changed a bit.

People in dysfunctional relationships like things to stay the same. They may not like the behavior of the abusive person, but be sure, if you try to break the cycle at all, you will become the “hateful angry one” who is a “troublemaker” who is “always arguing with people”. The list goes on and on…Anything is used to put the focus on you rather than where it belongs.

Actions always speak loudest

The words of abusive people never match their actions. This feels so good to finally realize why it never felt good to be around them in the first place. I could not figure that out. They tell me, “My intention has never been to hurt you”, which I used to think, ok, well they didn’t mean to. I would still feel crappy, but I thought it was just me. When in reality this statement actually means, “I will not take responsibility because I didn’t mean to hurt you.” So hurting someone and not having to apologize is ok if you say you didn’t mean to? Also, if the abusive person continues to hurt you, their words mean absolutely nothing. They just say these words because they think it gets them off the hook from having to take responsibility for their actions. They don’t want to take responsibility for something they believe you deserved because you “disrespected” them by simply disagreeing with them.

“I have unconditional love for you”- doesn’t this statement  sound nice? If you have to tell someone you have unconditional love for them, then its very possible you don’t actually have it. Your actions  would show unconditional love, there should be no need to have to tell someone. When this statement is used in conjunction with the fact that the abuser refuses to take the steps needed in order to heal the relationship, (that they, in fact, ruined) they are trying to guilt you into changing your story, trying to get you to stop saying what is true. They want to be in denial, so they use what most people think is a loving statement, in hopes that you will feel bad enough setting boundaries that you will just let it all go, sweep it under the rug again. Again, trying to make you into the perpetrator because you are the one speaking out, you are the one rocking the boat.

 

Dictionary of abusive/dysfunctional statements:

1. “We are definitely on different pages” (what an abusive person actually means-Your thoughts and opinions are crazy/wrong/don’t matter, and mine are right, so there is nothing we need to talk about. You are crazy for even thinking that.)

2. “I’m sorry you feel the way you do” (what an abusive person actually means- It’s not my fault. You are very wrong about what you are saying. I will not even listen to your thoughts because the way you feel is wrong/bad) This statement is used to minimize ones’ feelings, to make you question yourself.

3. “You need to forgive” (what an abusive person actually means-Lift up the rug and let’s forget about all this that happened.You are bad if you can’t just forgive, forget, and move on) ** This being said even though the abuser has not admitted to the abuse, nor have they made any changes. (And I know that because I was with the person recently,and they exhibited the same abusive behavior)

4. “You are just hateful and angry” (what an abusive person actually means-this is your fault this mess is still going on. Anger is bad, you shouldn’t have anger.)

5.”My intention was never to hurt you” (what an abusive person actually means-I am not responsible for what I did to you. I will not take responsibility for my actions. You should feel bad that you think I would ever mean to hurt you)

6. “Don’t you think we have analyzed this situation to the fullest and we could resolve these issues?” (what an abusive person actually means-there is no hope of me ever taking responsibility for my actions, so can you please go back to accepting abusive behavior. And, btw, I have no intention of ever changing, but since I said the words “let’s resolve these issues”  to you, I am able to tell people I have tried everything, but its YOU that won’t accept my efforts. So its your fault this mess is still a mess.)

7. “Let’s focus on the positive” (what an abusive person actually means-stop calling me out on my abusive behavior, you are just so negative, angry and hateful!)

8. “But he/we have done so many good things for you” (what an abusive person actually means-be grateful for the good things, ignore and be okay with abusive things. Good things should outweigh the hurt.)

9. “You don’t really feel that way do you?” (what an abusive person actually means-you should be ashamed for even thinking that! You are bad/wrong/crazy. Your feelings don’t matter.)

 

Practice Questioning everything!

These are a few of the statements that I have learned to decipher. Whenever someone says something that makes you feel bad about yourself, question it. Ask if there is guilt or shame being used to try to manipulate you. Question what is truly going on. If you frequently beat yourself up over day to day interactions, stop, become aware, and practice looking within to learn more about yourself and what is happening inside you. When we do this, we take our power back from abusive people. Please feel free to comment with any messages you have absorbed from being in dysfunctional relationships.

 

Here is Brene Brown talking about how to stop a shame spiral.

 

 

 

 

 

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Connection between depression and anger

Written by Amie on December 11, 2011 – 2:33 am -

Using anger against myself

In my life at this moment, I am observing a friend who is going through a very strong bout of anger. This situation got me thinking about the connection between anger and depression. I know *my* experience with depression and anger. I can step back now to see I was angry because I was holding in all of my emotions and feelings. I used this anger against myself instead of expressing my feelings as they came up. This caused my depression-holding in all of my emotions. My friend, who is incredibly angry right now (to the point of raging and lashing out at others) has never been able to express emotions. My friend is also a recovering alcoholic. However, I use the term “recovering” lightly, because she no longer drinks, but she never went through any kind of rehab, therapy, or AA. The fact that she could stop drinking on her own is amazing, but now the problem is she no longer has the alcohol to numb her feelings. This means the anger is spewing out because she hasn’t learned the skills needed to express herself in a healthy way. Her issues are shining brightly for her to see, but she will not acknowledge them.

Emotions are leaking out

It is interesting, sad, and very scary watching this unfold. I really can’t help her because she believes she has no problem. There is such a fear surrounding the rage and anger, it is like a volcano waiting to erupt. The emotions are leaking out, with the whole thing ready to go up at any time. She is lashing out at the people who love her most, blaming them for her problems instead of taking responsibility for her actions and behavior. Everyone else can see she needs help. She refuses to admit that her behavior is hurting those around her. It is very difficult to watch a person sink lower and lower, especially when you can feel their pain so deeply. The anger and rage is seeping out because her body can’t handle anymore repressed emotions. It has almost reached the maximum amount it can handle. It scares me to think what will happen when it reaches full capacity.

Depression is anger turned inward on oneself

Depression is anger turned inward on oneself. I repressed my emotions, which in turn created anger, which I used against myself. I turned everything into a reason to blame myself and hate myself. Wow. So instead of spewing anger and blaming everyone else, I turned my anger inward. I blamed myself for everything. I even blamed myself for other people’s unhappiness! Wow again. I was convinced I needed to save everyone. I also believed I was responsible for everyone else’s problems as well as being responsible for their happiness or lack thereof. What a burden!!!  My anger had nowhere to go except against ME because I was not able to express my truth to the people around me. I am watching my friend turn her anger outward to blame everyone else for her problems. She is not taking one ounce of responsibility for her life. She holds so much pain and she has made the choice to hide behind her anger. She continues to lash out and to be a victim. Both of these ways of dealing with anger are unhealthy.

 I can’t *make* someone feel a certain way

Everyone has issues from their childhood to deal with. Some have more serious issues, but we all have issues. When we were children we didn’t have the resources or the support we needed to get us out of unhealthy situations. When a person becomes an adult, it is time to take responsibility for their own healing and growing. As an adult, you have the ability to take your power back! An adult has the power to choose to get help or to get the support they need so that they may live the joyful happy life they were born to live. I am not saying there won’t ever be bumps along the way. I guarantee there will be. But we can choose how we want to live. One must start by taking responsibility for their behavior and their actions. I know I am not responsible for another person’s actions. I also know that I can’t *make* someone feel a certain way. What I say or do may trigger a feeling in someone else, but the way they react is up to them. I don’t control how someone feels. Each person must take responsibility for their own behavior.

 Anger is most definitely a good thing

It is interesting to see the different ways anger can be used. I think anger is most definitely a good thing. I believe it is there to alert me to the fact that something is wrong. The way I process it and express it determines whether or not it is healthy. If a person holds in the anger for extended periods of time, depression can most definitely be a result. If anger is used to lash out or to avoid taking responsibility for one’s behavior, depression may also result. Both of these methods have one thing in common, and that is avoidance. Using anger against oneself and using anger against another are two methods used to  avoid the true emotions underneath. Some people have a difficult time with acknowledging the pain they are feeling. In my case, I had no idea I was repressing emotions. It was such an ingrained habit, I didn’t know to question it. So if you feel angry, first touch base with your inner self to see what you are truly feeling. If you start to tell yourself something negative, you know you are avoiding what is really going on. And if you start lashing out at someone else, you are avoiding what is really going on. It is a process….start by becoming aware of your thoughts and paying attention to how your body reacts to situations. 

 

 

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