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Protect Yourself From Psychological Abuse

Psychological abuse takes many forms, including: 

  • Treating another as powerlessness or incompetent
  • Delivering stinging put-downs
  • Teasing
  • Mockery
  • Intimidation
  • Rolling of the eyes
  • Humiliating public discrediting
  • Creating ugly scenes of conflict in public
  • Stealing or taking unfair advantage
  • Lying
  • Being deliberately evasive instead of facing issues head-on 
  • Relating to one as insignificant
  • The extremes of committing physical violence and sexual violation.  

And yet the essence of psychological abuse is always the same: relating to someone in a way that demonstrates a disregard of his worth and power.

It's most insidious effect is to cause the target to adopt that same self-worth negating perspective. This occurs when the perspective that “You are not worthy of my respect and consideration” translates into “I am not worthy of my respect and consideration.”

This is how psychological abuse can drive one to suicide, as the will to live is intrinsically interwoven with the sense of self-worth.  Remove the latter and remove the former.  Psychological abuse can be that deadly.

The crucial thing, when you are the target of psychological abuse, is, of course, to not take it personally; but rather, to remain steadfastly anchored in the clarity that recognizes the abusive behavior as a self-destructive pattern of the abuser's over which you really have no control and for which you have no responsibility.

Your protection is to distance yourself from the abusive person, to let her go (she doesn't like you anyway), but this is not always feasible.  You can always increase your distance somewhat, but you may not be able to entirely disassociate from the abusive individual without incurring even deeper losses.

For instance, you might work for someone who relates to you abusively, but you need the money so you can't quit.  You might be married to an abusive partner but because you have children you have to remain in connection even post-divorce. 

Whatever your situation, the fact remains that no one can pscyhologically abuse you without you cooperation.  No one can strip you of self-worth without your agreement.

As you disabuse yourself from self-attack you discover opportunities to create more freedom from another's psychologically abusive pattern.

Abusive behavior is essentially self-destructive because it works against the interests of its perpetrator.  It requires the perpetrator to remain focused on a perspective of her target that utterly negatives his self-value.

Because we attract in life what we focus on, this means that the abuser attracts people who turn out be of no real value, filling up the room in that person's life for people who really can be helpful, supportive and admirable.

We also attract what we send out, meaning that the abuser attracts abusers.  This is why abusing in retaliation for abuse proves self-defeating.

And we also do unto ourselves as we do unto others, meaning that devaluing others says that we devalue ourselves.

So the abusive person is very much the victim of her own unhealthy and self-sabotaging pattern.  You don't have to combat it.  You just have to get out of its way for it to go away to permit the abusive behavior to boomerang clear of you instead of ricocheting off of you.

If you take responsibility for the abuser's pattern you also presume that you have the power to stop it, to change that other person.  By becoming defensive in response to the abuse, trying to prove to that person that you really do deserve better treatment, you are essentially accepting this responsibility and presuming you have this power.  This implies that you are buying into the abuser's negative perspective of you, which keeps you locked into conflict.

Focus instead on the perspective that the abuser's pattern is her own sickness which is not your responsibility to cure, nor do you have the power to cure it.  The best thing you can do to free the abuser from her pattern is to free yourself from it, because as you do this let the abuser experience the negative impact of her behavior more quickly.

When you react to abusive behavior by abusing yourself with self-attack you give your power to the abuser, which feeds her abusive pattern.  As you dis-identify with the perspective of your worthlessness you maintain a healthy attitude toward yourself which draws to you others who treat you as valuable and offer their support.

Experiencing no power over you through her abusive tactics, the abuser feels powerless in her relationship with you and find decreasing access to you as you remain positive and she remains negative.

This is how to protect yourself from psychological abuse.

Inspire your workplace, conference, convention, association, or school with the enlightening life-work wisdom of inspirational speaker, team building expert and motivational seminar leader Bob Lancer, .  

Call 770-364-9580 or email for more information or to schedule your motivational seminar, regenerating retreat, team building training or inspiring keynote.

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