Healing From Emotional Abuse

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emotional abuse

How do you heal from emotional abuse? Dr. Christine Murray, an expert in this field, shows you how to begin to heal!

Dr. Christine Murray is the Director of the Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has worked with clients impacted by various forms of family violence, including current and past intimate partner violence, childhood physical and sexual abuse, and emotional and verbal abuse. Dr. Murray is also the author of Triumph Over Abuse: Healing, Recovery, and Purpose after an Abusive Relationship.

In this episode of Last First Date Radio:

  • What is emotional abuse?
  • How emotional abuse impacts the victim
  • Why is it so hard to leave an abuser?
  • Steps to heal from abuse
  • What a partner of someone who’s been abused can do to create a safer relationship

EP 585: Christine Murray – Healing From Emotional Abuse

How would you describe emotional abuse, and how does it impact survivors? 

Emotional abuse in an intimate relationship is when one person uses different tactics to gain and sustain power and control over their partner in a relationship. They use their partner’s emotions to abuse. 

Verbal abuse is one category: The abuser uses their words either written or spoken to control or hurt the victim.

Another type of emotional abuse is gaslighting: The abuser uses tactics to make the victim question their actions.

One more category is emotional neglect: The abuser doesn’t pay attention to their partner’s needs. They withhold emotional support. 

How might going through emotional abuse impact someone, including personally and in their future relationships? 

Emotional abuse can be hard to believe as it’s not physical abuse. In my research at See the Triumph, we heard from survivors of emotional abuse, and the effects can be more difficult to heal from than physical abuse. The effects can be lower self esteem, self doubt, shame, isolation and loneliness, not trusting yourself, and confusion and mental anguish. It’s common to replay the abuse in your head over and over.

Why is it so hard ito leave an abusive relationship?

It can be very difficult to leave. You might have been ridiculed for your preferences or words, and you probably have doubts about how you’d be on your own. You may not recognize the abuse. It helps to have friends and supportive people who help you see the truth about the abuse. There are safety risks in staying in the relationship. 

What are some steps that survivors of emotional abuse can take to promote their own healing? 

Recognize the signs of abuse. Educate yourself. Set an intention that you want to work on your healing. Ask yourself why it’s important to you to heal yourself. Recognize how these patterns are repeating themselves. Notice triggers that are happening to you. Healing can happen alone or in a relationship. Look at what you want to say “yes” and “no” to in a relationship. Ask yourself how you want to feel in a relationship. How do they treat others? 

If you’re already in a relationship, look at the things you’re reacting to. Are you getting triggered based on your past, or is the person you’re with intentionally hurting you?

Get support: therapy, books, coaching, friends, or online support groups.

What should partners of someone who experienced emotional abuse in the past know and do to create a safe, healthy relationship?

It’s important that they are supportive and understanding, but also realize not everything is related to their past experience with abuse. Trauma is common. Many of us have experiences of abuse. It takes time to understand your partner and for them to share the abuse in their past. Validate your partner. Don’t blame them. Ask your partner what their emotional needs are. How can I help you feel safe with me? Ask about potential triggers like not responding to text messages or phone calls.

What are your final words of advice for anyone who wants to go on their last first date?

Work on yourself and your relationship skills. Learn coping strategies and conflict resolution skills. Take accountability for healing. Look for someone who takes responsibility for hurting your feelings. Take it slow! It can take months to see the real pattern of behaviors in a person.

Watch this episode on YouTube

Connect with Dr. Murray

Facebook: https://facebook.com/seethetriumph   

Instagram https://instagram.com/triumphoverabuse   

Website www.seethetriumph.org 

Free Workbooks for survivors http://www.seethetriumph.org/see-the-triumph-workbooks.html


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