Controlling behaviors are often hard to distinguish from the normal experience of being in a relationship. If you suspect your partner is controlling, look for clues in how your partner’s behavior affects you. Do you feel like you’re twisting yourself into a pretzel to gain approval or keep up with an endless stream of expectations? Do Read More.Read More
In healthy relationships, partners may argue, criticize each other, and use hostile language, but perpetrators know their behavior is hurtful and inappropriate. They feel remorse, have meaningful discussion about what happened, and make genuine efforts to improve. The conflict can make a relationship stronger if couples are able to resolve their issues respectfully and both Read More.Read More
You can get a lot of advice on how to leave an unhappy relationship, but what if you can’t leave or want to stay in the relationship? It’s not so easy to end a troubled relationship with a life partner, sibling, adult child, parent or other family member. Even if you’ve left a former partner, Read More.Read More
I often get requests to provide therapy for family members who want to help loved ones in emotionally abusive relationships. Their previous rescue attempts resulted in frustration, anger, and estrangement.
There are ways to help. But first helpers must consider that abuse victims could be struggling with psychological conditions that obstruct another’s good intentions to help them. Understanding these conditions can mean the difference between helping and contributing to the difficulties.Read More
In one of my therapy sessions, a young woman told me that after 10 months of marriage, she now realized that her husband is emotionally abusive to her. In the early stages of their relationship, he could hardly do enough to please her. But as they got closer to their wedding day, his behavior toward her, although subtle, was negative and made her feel inadequate in some way. He made disparaging comments about her appearance or criticized her in front of friends. When anything went wrong, he blamed her for the problem and never seemed to take responsibility for his behavior. When she complained about his treatment, he called her a drama queen.Read More
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