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5 signs of emotional abuse

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Haleh Banani

Channel: Haleh Banani

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Emotional abuse can have a long lasting, damaging effect on your self esteem and your self worth. Today I'm going to share with you the five signs of being in an emotionally abusive relationship. The first one is being degraded. If you are constantly being degraded by a person, by your spouse, where they are making fun of you, they're being sarcastic, they are using you as the butt of their joke. And they don't show you any form of respect. And whenever you maybe share your aspirations, maybe you share your goals, maybe you want to go back to school, you want to start a business you want to work, whatever it is that you share, they may actually be little you and tell you that this

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is absurd. This is ridiculous, you you're not able to do this. So this constant belittling is the first sign of emotional abuse. Now, emotional abuse can have a very long lasting impact on you. And some researchers, and some therapists will say, it's even more damaging than the physical abuse. And it usually comes with the physical abuse. So with the physical abuse, you have an individual who will be belittling you, and giving you all sorts of emotional abuse. So number one, we said is being degraded, the second thing is dominating. Okay, they could dominate and control you how many of you know an individual who is right now in an emotional, emotionally abusive relationship, because

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people need to know that this is very common. And we see it sometimes within our parents, sometimes with siblings, sometimes in our own relationships or with friends. So the second thing is that they control you and they dominate you. Now, this is when your spouse starts treating you like a child, they try to control every aspect of your life, who you spend time with, where you go, how much you spend, what you spend on. Now, some of that is normal within a relationship, you share, you exchange you set certain budget, but this is when it's excessive, where you can't move without getting permission, and it is very controlling. And what happens when you start feeling this way, when

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someone is controlling every aspect of your life. It really erodes your sense of self worth your sense of self esteem, your confidence, everything gets it actually what it does is that it makes you feel worthless. And what ends up happening and I've seen this met with many of my clients who are constantly in this emotionally abusive relationship is that they feel that they are incapable of making any decision because they've been belittled, because they have been criticized because they have been told that whatever you say, is ridiculous and absurd, and you're incapable of doing anything, then they really suffer and struggle with making the smallest decisions, they won't move

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forward without, you know, talking it over with their spouse in the sense of the they don't have the ability, they don't have the self esteem or even the competence to make the smallest decisions. So this is this can really affect their life in the long run. The third is accusing or blaming, accusing or blaming, what ends up happening is a person who is emotionally abusive, will put all the blame on their spouse, they will put the blame, they will never take responsibility. They don't apologize, they can't even make light of the situation, they can't laugh at themselves. They're extremely sensitive about being criticized. And if they are criticized in in the slightest way, they

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really overreact and they will not take any form of responsibility. And they generally make you apologize for something that you haven't done, because they're they really have the superiority, feeling that they are they are somehow superior, and that you have to submit to them. Now, number four is neglect. The fourth sign of being in an emotionally abusive relationship is neglect. They feel that if you do not comply, if you do not do as I say so now I'm going to cut you off, I'm going to neglect you. I'm going to somehow maybe there is silent treatment. And I've had some of my clients will tell me that when they get into this kind of disagreement with their spouse, they will

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get a silent treatment sometimes for days sometimes for weeks, and some people have reported that this can carry on for over several months. Now the Prophet salallahu Alaihe Salam has taught us that we should you know, we shouldn't stop talking to someone for more than like for three days and within three days it is your responsibility to resolve the issue and to have contact now. What about doing this to your spouse where you're withholding love, you're withholding affection, you're withholding attention, and you even cut off the person from talking

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Talking to them. And maybe there are some clients I have, they may be in a foreign country, they may have no one they have left their family, they have left all their friends and they are with their spouse, and the spouse will get mad at them many times, they won't even tell their spouse why they're upset. So it's a guessing game, the spouse will just feel like oh my god, what have I done? What have I said, Why are they you know, why are they so upset with me? Why aren't they talking to me, and this can happen at any moment. And that is why many people who are in emotionally abusive relationship are constantly on edge, they will describe their relationship as walking on eggshells,

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they don't know what's going to tick them off. They don't know what like the next thing that they say or do may give them that silent treatment, the stonewalling begins and they are punishing, they will punish you for not adhering to everything that they say or do. So this can be this can have a very long lasting effect emotionally, because when you feel that anything that you say is going to have this kind of punishment, then it makes a person very scared, very timid, they're not going to express themselves, they're gonna hold back on their feelings, they're gonna hold back on what their needs their wants. So this is not a healthy relationship, this is actually a very toxic

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relationship. If you feel scared around your spouse, where you can't share your feelings where you can't share what you need, where you can't share, you know how they're making you how they are treating you, then this can really have a long lasting impact on you. And the fifth thing is enmeshment, or codependent. This is when the person sees you as just an extension of themselves, they don't see you as a whole person, they don't see that you are an individual, you have your perspective, you you have your choices, they basically see you as an extension of themselves. And many times this happens in a parent child relationship. But it also happens with a spouse, where

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they will constantly make decisions for you. They they assume that you want what they want. And they really do not see you as a separate entity. And this will cause them to make all sorts of decisions life decisions for you without without consulting without sharing without getting your input. Because again, they're feeling like they are somehow superior, that they know better. And they will say like I you know, I know what's best for you. And this this can have a really long lasting negative effects. So what do you do when you are in a situation like this, if you could write down the five signs so the first one I said being being degraded constantly being degraded. Second is

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they dominate you, they control what you're saying doing everything. Third is accusing and blaming. Fourth is neglect when they give you a silent treatment when they don't talk to you when they're Stonewall you and fifth is diminishment or codependence. Now, I have worked with, you know, hundreds of individuals who have been in this kind of abusive relationship. And you have to see in that moment, if, if it is possible for this person to be open and receptive to changing, are they willing to get some help? Are they willing to learn? Are they willing to make some changes? Now some people will refuse to go to therapy, and I understand that and some clients will come to me individually,

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and they want to save their relationship by changing themselves, guess what, the spouse will respond to them differently. I like to describe the relationship as kind of like a chemical reaction. If you have a chemical reaction and you change one substance, what's going to happen, a completely different reaction, some substances will be combustible, others will just there will be no reaction. So when you change yourself, you're changing the substance and that and the reaction will be different. So think about it. Think about is this something that you're able to, let's say change within yourself, and then is that person going to respond to differently? Are they willing to learn?

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Are they willing to go through a marriage program? Are they willing to expand their mind and recognize that this is the toxic relationship? And if they are, then that's great. I've seen many people come to terms have a wake up call and say, You know what I've been I've been horrible all along. I I wish that you know, I wasn't so abusive. I wish I was so neglectful and I've seen people really genuinely make a change, but sometimes it takes a big blow sometimes it's that ultimatum sometimes it's that fear of divorce, sometimes it's you know, taking some measures to show how serious you are. And if you stay and you don't speak up and you just you know you're continuously

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walking on eggshells trying to you know, manage their emotions. That person is never going to realize how you know how damaging it is and they're not going to get the wake up call.

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then there are times when a person will just completely deny that they do anything wrong, they don't want to get help, and they and that that's something that you really need to consider. And you have to realize the long lasting impact that that's going to have on you. I have women that come to completely broken after being in a relationship like this, sometimes for decades, where they feel that they have no self worth, that they have no knowledge, they have no abilities, and I find that they are completely depleted, completely depleted. And I hope that I helped them to rebuild their self confidence, I help them to rebuild their capability. And it's amazing, amazing what what a

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person will feel and it's capable of once they start believing in themselves. So you really have to recognize is this person going to ever, ever make an attempt to change first, you know, start with yourself, change yourself. And this is not to say that I'm blaming you, I know you're the victim, you're the victim here, and you have probably taken a lot of abuse, and you have done your best to try to keep the family together, have your kids have a mother or a father, and I get it, I get how difficult that is, I get how, you know, every day is a battle and every day is like a form of jihad for you, I get that. But you have to kind of recognize that this form staying in a relationship like

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this, that is going to be ongoing is not going to be good for you is not going to be good for if you have kids is for them to witness this on a regular basis is very detrimental, but detrimental to your emotional health, to your mental health to your spiritual son, I've seen people that actually they get completely disconnected from the Dean, because they feel somehow this abuse is like wearing away at their, at their Tawakkol at their trust at their, you know, they're they feel like their daughter's not being answered. So, you know, this is a very serious thing. And I want you to be able to address that. If you are in an abusive relationship, I want you to you know, seek professional

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help. I have many tree training videos for marriage that you can work on yourself, you can try to make changes. Again, it's not about blaming, but it's about recognizing sometimes you're allowing this to happen. Why am I saying that? Because you're trying so you know, you're trying not to rock the boat and you're not trying to speak up and you're doing all that. And I know it comes from a good place, but you're also allowing this abuse to continue, you're allowing it and you don't deserve to be in an abusive relationship like that. So make sure you're aware of your behavior if you make certain changes, establish boundaries, establish that self esteem, which I know is not an

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easy process. But I have I have some resources for you that can Chawla help you go to holla banani.com. And that under courses, many different ways of getting help whether it's within your marriage, whether if you need to just build your own self esteem, your assertiveness, the mindful Hearts Academy is there for you, just to help you to regain your strength to regain your, you know, independence for to feel like you are a capable human being that that you know, you deserve to be at peace. You deserve to have a sense of tranquility in your life. And you don't have to just live your life to manage another person's emotions. And I see so many people who have come to me broken. And

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sometimes it's the woman who has been emotionally abused. And sometimes it's the man sometimes, you know, they both come in and they're very broken and they've gone through so much. And they need to rebuild and you have to kind of recognize you have to recognize if it's something salvageable if the person is willing and open to make changes in themselves, or is it the fact that they're just there's, you know, they're they're expecting you to tolerate the abuse and you should not tolerate the abuse and and being a practicing Muslim. And being a good wife does not mean tolerating abuse please, please sisters, please brothers, if you are the ones going through the emotional abuse,

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which I've seen plenty I've seen plenty of men come in for counseling, and they're the ones who are being emotionally abused. There's, you know, there's a threat threat of them, you know, the spouse committing suicide, there's threat of actually getting weapons or getting getting knives and threatening their spouse. I mean, I've seen it all and hurt at all. And living in that in that kind of circumstance will really, you know, it'll just break you apart. And if you are the parents, please do not use your kids as a therapist. They're not trained. They're not trained. There are many therapists who will refuse to do marriage counseling because it's too hard. It really is hard and it

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takes a it takes a toll on the person trying to conduct marriage counseling and many people will not do it because of that and taking your your child and putting them in the middle of you

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Between you and making them sometimes two sides or getting them to be the mediator, it is one of the biggest mistakes that you can do because it, it really it will add a tremendous amount of pressure on the on your children, and you're not going to get the help that you need, because they're not equipped, they really don't know how to do that. So please be Be careful in doing that. And we need to be more aware of it. And we really need to realize that you don't have to just take it, being a good Muslim does not mean you take abuse, whether that's physical abuse, obviously, that's never, it's not acceptable or emotional abuse, sometimes their spiritual abuse. So if you need some help

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you have some free resources, go to Hala banani.com. Under courses, you will find a series of free information that could help you know, May Allah help you help you to decide what is best for you. What if the husband promises to change every time but does not stop his abusive waste. And that happens a lot when you you know, and I asked sometimes some sisters, you know, why did you say why? Just saying that abusive relationship. And it's this I thought he would change, right? Sometimes the man says that I thought she would change she keeps promising me that she won't do that anymore. So with the promise of change, there has to be action, there has to be action taken where either either

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there's counseling, either there's a program, you take, and you say, You know what, okay, prove that you are going to change because your behavior is very difficult to change, you know, take it from me, as a cognitive behavioral therapist, I know how difficult it can be sometimes people come in and they want to change. They they have gained lighter knows 6070 pounds, and they want to change, but they you know, they're having a really hard time changing. Sometimes they're, you know, they're there, they have an anger issue, they want to change, they're coming for help, but it's very challenging. So you have to realize that, you know, this, this change, change is not easy. And you

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can't just snap your fingers. And like, from tomorrow, you're going to like eat completely differently, or you're like, you're not going to have anger anymore. You need that accountability, you need someone to help you. So if a person promises to change without taking any actions, then you can pretty much guarantee that there's no change gonna take place. The next time they're in that same situation, they're going to just respond the same. So I have seen people go to anger management, they've done counseling, they've done let's say, my marriage program, five pillars of marriage, and they they're able to change themselves completely. Because they're like, oh my gosh, I

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learned the tools. Oh, you taught me how to avoid the fight. Oh, you, you know, you made me look at my spouse completely differently. If they take action, that's when you can believe on if they're just promising words. Words are cheap, they're cheap, and anyone can say anything, right? But if they do not, if they do not take action, then you can't believe it. Okay, they really have to take second, just like a lot here for tuning in. And may Allah help all of us, all of us in our relationship. And for those of you who are suffering from emotional abuse, I pray that Allah helps you in that in that situation, and provides you either a way out or your spouse can finally change

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Inshallah, just like Hola, Caden, salaam Ali.