In therapy with clients who are in emotionally abusive relationships, I determine what coping methods they are using to handle the abuse. Coping methods are thoughts, emotions, and behaviors used in an attempt to reduce negative outcomes. Often, I find that my clients are using maladaptive coping mechanisms that are counterproductive and create more trouble. First, I help them realize how they are contributing to the abuse, and second, we find positive ways to tackle the issues and nurture emotional health.Read More
Blog: From Charm to Harm
Do you ever ask yourself, “How did I get to be such a wimp with my partner?” It likely happened when you acted out of fear and insecurity and decided to tolerate your mate’s manipulative and controlling behavior. Maybe you wanted to keep the peace or pleasing others is tied to your sense of self-worth.
Being a pushover is never the solution to a difficult relationship. Tolerating hurtful treatment weakens self-esteem and self-confidence and perpetuates the cycle of emotional abuse.Read More
It’s exasperating when your intimate partner alternates between warmth and coldness. You never know what mood will appear. The trouble is usually blamed on you and you struggle to understand what you did.
Your response may be to cater to your moody partner. It’s a natural reaction when you want to get back into your mate’s good graces. But taking the blame and trying to please temperamental partners will only encourage their moodiness and make you feel dejected and vulnerable.Read More
Over lunch with my friend Sarah, she talked about her father. “He gets angry so easily,” she told me. “My sister and I try to keep him calm by biting our tongues and letting him have his way when we visit.” As I listened to Sarah describe her father’s behavior and the reactions of her and her sister, I realized he uses anger to manipulate and control them. I helped Sarah understand that their strategy to avoid his wrath was having the opposite effect. They were unintentionally enabling his emotionally abusive behavior.Read More
I recently got an email from Clarissa (name changed to protect privacy), who told me she ended her relationship with a man when he became physically abusive. She said her new boyfriend is kind, caring and truly loves her.
She went on to say that his former girlfriend cheated on him, so she understands why he insists that she immediately answer his frequent daily phone calls and texts. She is concerned, however, that her lack of ability to respond promptly is a source of strain in their relationship.Read More