5 Ways To Finally Overcome The EXHAUSTING Cycle Of Emotional Abuse

Photo: Weheartit/Liora K Photography
5 Ways To Overcome Gaslighting And The Cycle Of Emotional Abuse

It's time to reclaim your life.

The world is finally catching on to the fact that abuse doesn't always have to be physical. Mental and emotional abuse can be so subtle that it can take years before you even realize you are being mistreated and finally ask yourself questions like “Why am I in this relationship?” and ”Why didn't I see this coming?”

All forms of abuse are horrible. And as do survivors of any form of abuse, victims of emotional blackmail and gaslighting often find themselves feeling trapped like an animal in a cage from which there is no visible way out. Even if you do try to leave, most abusers will make every possible effort to convince you that YOU are the only problem in order to shame you back into submission.

Who uses emotional blackmail and affects other people with this abusive behavior?

Emotional abusers are around us all every day.

They are people you know and they are perfect strangers. They may be your family members, your friends, your peers, your co-workers, your children, or anyone else you meet as you go about your day. They are the people who love you at one moment and then, in the next, suddenly express to you what they believe is in your best interest. Not that you ever asked for their opinion, of course.

Now, not everyone who does this is out to gaslight you. Many people really do have your best interests at heart. But the abuser is looking for a way into your life and mind so they can use your emotions against you. They find out what makes you vulnerable so they can chip away at your self-esteem and make you feel that you have no self-worth.

To accomplish this, every time anything at all goes wrong, they always make it your fault.

In doing so, they siphon the very essence of your being and do their best to make you believe you are inferior to them and incompetent. They take every opportunity to make you feel that you’re the cause of all your problems, including any loss of finances, failures, and anything else they can come up with.

You begin buying into what they’re saying as you listen to it repeated to you over and over and over again ... and, as a result, you internalize the tendency to blame yourself for everything. You may begin to feel at a loss for words to fully express your frustration with them and what they’re saying, and therefore find yourself unable to disagree with them or “fight back.” 

They belittle you to the point that your self-worth seems to cease to even exist, and, perhaps even worse, you lose your ability to speak up and use your voice in your own defense.

These emotional manipulators are the great artists of dodging guilt.

They are excellent at creating it and at reflecting it back to you. Remember, from their perspective, it is always your fault, but that doesn't make their perspective true.

This kind of maltreatment causes us to we stuck, perhaps even imprisoned, in our own lives. At this point, the question becomes, how do you stop being a prisoner of your abuser and of your own now warped self-view?

You may feel that the time is now to claim your power, but you may not be sure of how you can do so or whether or not you are good enough to actually accomplish this feat.

There are many of us who live in a self-imposed, tortured silence because we've been made to feel as if our words are unimportant and we can never truly be heard. 

The resulting feelings of frustration, despair, and isolation impact our lives and paralyze the freedom we yearn for to live our lives to our fullest potential.

In order to turn this around, you must learn how to come out of the dark silence and understand how powerful your inner and outer voices are. You DO have the strength and courage to evolve and reclaim your life.

It's time to stop feeling alone and afraid, reclaim your life and begin to live it.

We all have choices, and you can choose to help yourself. You do not have to live like this. You can empower yourself when you feel those feelings of self-doubt and helplessness. You do NOT deserve to live like this and this is NOT the way it has to be. It will take dedicated energy to break the chains of the emotional abuse to which you have been subjected, but you CAN do it.  

You just may not believe yet that this is your time, and more than that, you may not feel sure if it ever will be. But you can reclaim your power, starting today, and rediscover how magnificent you are when you allow yourself the freedom to live your life with true passion.

Here are 5 things you must do to reclaim your life from emotional abuse and gaslighting — starting right now:

1. Shift your focus back to who you are and away from who others either think you are or tell you that are.

2. Replace your negative, self-defeating thoughts with the skills and thoughts through which you can positively empower yourself.

3. Stop blaming and shaming yourself for things you think you did or do wrong. Lighten your load and go easy on yourself so that you can be the real you.

4. Put aside anything you've been taught about yourself by family, friends and/or a significant other that doesn't resonate with your own sense of who you really are.

5. Stop the vicious cycle of allowing yourself to be emotionally blackmailed by others by questioning what others say to you before you simply take anything as fact and believe it.

I know that this isn't easy to do. It takes practice and it takes time.

Keep at it until you feel your self-worth resurface. You simply must not allow yourself to continue taking responsibility for things you have no power or control over.

Work towards being more perceptive of what other people’s true intentions are and take care not to let them drain your energy.

Remember that your words, your wants, and your beliefs = your true happiness.

Most of all, insist that others (and that you yourself!) always treat you with respect and love.

This article was originally published at Dr. Christina. Reprinted with permission from the author.