A Personal History of Emotional Abuse
In my young adulthood, I unintentionally got involved in relationships with men who were controlling, angry, and deceptive. On the outside, I saw only success, beauty, and charm. But on the inside these men had a deep-seated need to control others. They used underhanded tactics to erode my self-esteem for better control.
These experiences and personal growth work taught me a lot. It helped me gain a deep understanding of the insidious nature of emotional abuse, its effects on others, who gets abused, and who abuses others. My experience with emotional abuse had such a profound impact on me that I left a thriving career in public relations and returned to graduate school to become a psychotherapist. I am now in a happy marriage.
I came to realize that emotionally abusive behavior has many subtleties and complexities, which makes it difficult to recognize. It’s a tricky phenomenon that most people don’t fully understand. Often, the abusive tactics are hidden or denied, so it’s easy for the abused to be fooled by those who claim to love them. Many people, even psychotherapists, can be misled by the charming image often projected by an emotionally abusive person.
Amy has had her own personal experience with an abusive partner, so she really understood what I had been going through. —48-year-old female
My mission is to help people heal from emotional abuse.
In my psychotherapy practice, many of my clients have come to me complaining of anxiety and depression. After questioning them, I discovered that, just like me in my early adulthood relationships, my clients didn’t realize they were in emotionally abusive relationships. Other clients realized that their partners were abusive because the behavior was more obvious, such as verbal abuse or physical battering.
I now devote my professional life to helping people heal from emotional abuse, whether it is with an intimate partner, parent, sibling, friend, work colleague, or any type of relationship. I welcome all people regardless of their culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, gender, or age (18 years of age or older).
When I’m not seeing clients, I work to raise public awareness about emotional abuse by writing, speaking to community groups, and making media appearances.
It gives me great satisfaction and fulfillment to help my clients gain the knowledge and power they need to improve their lives and relationships.
Many of my clients say things like:
“You’re the only one who understands what I’ve been going through.”
“I can’t talk to anyone else because they only see my partner’s charming side.”
“I try to explain what’s happening in my relationship, but it’s so hard to describe.”
“They would never believe that he’s such a monster when he’s at home and treats me so poorly.”
“She’s very nice to everyone else. Why does she treat me so poorly?”
“I love my partner and don’t want to leave, but I can’t live like this anymore.”
“I’m afraid of how my husband’s emotional abuse is affecting our children.”
“I’m scared that I won’t be able to make it on my own if I leave.”
“My ex makes my life miserable. He is trying to destroy me.”
“I just want to get away.”
My book, From Charm to Harm: The Guide to Spotting, Naming, and Stopping Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships is, to the best of my knowledge, the only one in the industry that gives people a language to describe emotional abuse tactics, effects, and contributors. The book is available from amazon.com, other online book retailers, and your favorite bookstores.
My Therapist Credentials
After receiving a Master of Science (MS) in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University in 2006, I worked as a licensed psychiatric clinician in the adult behavioral health division of Atlanta Medical Center. I was a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Georgia and a National Certified Counselor with a private practice in Atlanta from 2009 to 2018. During that time, I conducted individual, couples and group therapy. I have attended dozens of workshops, seminars and educational courses on human psychology and therapeutic treatments. I have also been a member in good standing of the Licensed Professional Counselors Association and a professional consultation group of psychotherapists and psychologists throughout my private practice career. My husband and I now spend more time at our home in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where I conduct phone and video therapy sessions.
A friend gave me Amy’s book and I made an appointment as soon as I could. I gained so much insight into how my partner related to me, that I am sad I didn’t know about his controlling tactics long ago. —45-year-old female