Monday, February 15, 2016

Survival and dignity in an abusive relationship

Amborella trichopoda by Scott Zona

Emotion is the energy imbalance of the brain. Energy (temporal) excess manifest as positive emotions, confidence, trust, whereas energy (temporal) shortness corresponds to negative emotions. Emotions are produced as our response to environmental stimuli, so they are intimately regulated and intertwined with our personal core environment. Supportive, loving environments generate trust, which allow us to feel safe and relaxed.

Abuse betrays trust by inflicting pain at a time of emotional closeness, creating an aberrant mixture of trust and pain. Therefore it twists and disfigures the emotional bond between people. Since abuse generally involves children and vulnerable adults, it creates an intertwined mutual emotional dependence, which can remain part of the mental make up over long term, possibly for a lifetime. Physical abuse, such as rape or physical violence requires immediate action. You will have to seek help as soon as possible. Organizations can be found through the internet and in most countries that provides emotional support, organizational and financial assistance. This blog deals with emotional abuse, which can be more sinister, because it is more difficult to pinpoint, but just as dangerous for emotional health.

Abuse is an emotional roller-coaster, which completely rules the life of the both abuser and the abused. The momentary changes of mental energy balance of the brain modulate our sense of time. Positive emotions involve the feeling of the excess of time, whereas negative emotions correspond to the sense of shortage of time. People who have a low tolerance of environmental changes, get stressed easily (due to their sense of time shortage), which can trigger abusive behavior. Stress  corresponds to a temporal contraction, which generates the feeling of pressure. Pressure causes an inherent need to push back the emotional boundaries, to create emotional distance, via confrontation, which unfortunately most often targets the closest people or things. Using their long term experience, they know the emotionally sensitive points that will trigger reaction in others (pain, disgust and even despise). By causing aggravation, pain, they try to trigger reaction or retaliation, which restores the temporal boundaries and keeps the temporal pressure constant. However, abusers will invariable overcome with remorse and seek ways to repair the damage in the relationship by being overly accommodating. Abusers also might try to pacify their victim or use excuses justify the abuse. This way abuse forms a cycle of abuse and reconciliation, which is mentally, emotionally exhausting. The painful betrayal of emotional closeness by abuse leads to insecurity and low self-esteem, which gradually weakens the victim.

Later stages of abuse may look benign from the outside, because the abuser does not have to apply full threat, just a word or hint achieves full compliance. During times of emotional distance negative emotions consume the mind, which trigger either retaliation or regret. Retaliation would push back the temporal boundaries, which was the goal of the abuse on the first place. This way abuse either leads to insecurity and weakness, or cause a trigger ready, defensive mental state of constant alert. These can be viewed as two sides of the same coin, as they can turn into each other, in a situation dependent manner. However, both cases lead to emotional instability, and isolation.

Abuse extract such high emotional toll, that even ending the abusive relationship leaves the victim in an emotional dependence and unstable state. This is because the turmoil of each emotional conflict increases the interdependence of the abuser and the abused. Pulling out of an abuse cycle is a delicate practice that requires humble, emotionally difficult steps that take as extended period of time. However, following these greatly empowering steps enhances emotional strength and they are the only prudent preparation for independence after the abuse. Retaliation is never appropriate, because it fuels confrontation. Instead, the negative experience must be processed through an appropriate ritual. By experimentation, you must find a mentally relaxing practice that can help you to recreate inner emotional space. You will have to go for a walk, do yoga, or meditation, which rebuilds your emotional strength, and renew your love toward (yes!) the abuser. Love is power. Therefore moving toward love is immensely empowering, so is the recognition that abusive behavior occurs due to weakness. Abuse destroys trust and creates an emotional distance, which needs to be restored. Emotional closeness frees your mind, so you can view the relationship from a higher perspective. This way every abusive encounter strengthens you and decreases the pressure that accumulated in the relationship. As you build your patience, love and equanimity, your mental energy, emotional strength will gradually increase and gives you the belief, confidence for life beyond abuse.

Working through abuse is an emotionally difficult process that however gradually will increase your confidence. The emotional load will be arduous, therefore reaching out to a higher power, or outside support might be crucial. Keep your focus on your goal of independence as you gradually increase your inner strength. It is wise to set a date, a deadline for yourself. This gives a realistic target date for which to save up money, find support, housing and means of living. This way you will be well organized and mentally prepared for independence.

Abuse victims often suffer from insecurity and emotional problems long after the abuse itself has ended. This is especially prominent in victims abused in early childhood. Medical findings often support susceptibility of abuse victims to certain diseases and even early death. But there is hope to eliminate the mental, emotional and health consequences. It is possible to follow the above practice in retrospective and move emotionally closer to the abuser if not with love, but with understanding. This systematic mental cleansing gradually erases emotional dependence. The process gives confidence and dignity. Abuse is a curse that arches through generations and cultures. Personal liberation from abuse, which ends the cycle of abuse for subsequent generations, should be an international priority. Please share this blog with others, who might need it.

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