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Emotional abuse
Answer
2/12/18 1:11 PM
I'm now aware that my upbringing had little in common with emotional health. Therefore I don't have an ingrained model for a healthy way to communicate. Individual and group therapy helped to some extent, but still I find myself in situations that I don't know how to handle.

For example, my friend recently told me that my defense mechanisms make her upset. Apparently she is able to diagnose people and assign labels to their patterns of behaviour. This upset me and I responded with: "you are an adult and responsible for your emotions, I also reject the label 'defense mechanisms'". The result was silence for about a minute and her sulking, then alternating between anger and assuming the victim role. I refused to engage her.

Am I correct to think that:
- my response was civil and justified
- her reaction was unhealthy?

I bought few books about emotional abuse and it seems I'm an unaware victim. Shaming, deflection, gaslighting - I recognized multiple patterns described.

Does anyone know an online community that deals with this type of stuff? For example, I know I'm being gaslighted by her regarding a certain incident, but I don't know how to deal with it. She simply states that the incident didn't occur.

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/12/18 3:15 PM as a reply to Paul Smith.
This is not intended to be not helpful :-) .  But maybe you should stop thinking so much.  Reading zen stuff is a great antidote to worrying about stuff like this. 

This is from Zen Master Seung Sahn.  I don't know exactly what it means but I love the basic sentiment and think it might help you:

"How do you understand you true self? I ask you, What are you? Don't you know? If you don't know, only go straight — don't know. This don't know mind cuts off all thinking, and your only-me situation, only-me condition opinion disappear. Then your correct situation, correct condition, and correct opinion appear -- it's very simply! An eminent teacher said, "You should understand for yourself whether water is hot or cold.” Understanding your true self is not special.
Next course: if you are thinking, then your mind and my mind are different. If you cut off all thinking, then your mind, my mind, all people's minds are the same.
An eminent teacher said, "One is many; many is one.” So if you cut off all thinking there is no I-my- me. Then you can keep your correct situation, correct condition and correct opinion from moment to moment. This is already world peace; you have already saved all people.
So first: how to you cut off all thinking? Already I asked, "What are you?” if you don't know, only go straight — don't know.
Next: how do you keep don't know mind from moment to moment? You must try, try, try. So every day at Zen center we bow, chant, sit, and work together. Sometimes we do yong maeng jong jin; sometimes we do a kido. These actions help us practice moment to moment: what are you doing now? If your mind is not clear, then simply do no hold your ideas; only don't know. Slowly your desire-thinking your anger-thinking, your ignorance-thinking disappear, so your don't know mind grows strong and becomes clear.
So when you sit, just sit. When you chant, just chant. When you bow, just bow. That is most important.
Don't check your feeling; don't check your mind; don't check your understanding; don't check outside. Then there is no inside, no outside; no I, no you, no they: you are one with your situation. That is very important.
I hope you only go straight — don't know, keep a mind that is clear like space, try, try, try for ten thousand years nonstop, attain enlightenment, and save all beings from suffering." 

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/12/18 3:42 PM as a reply to Paul Smith.
I think everybody sees things differently.  Everybody reacts/feels differently.  Everybody expects different results from stuff. Nobody likes to be put in to a mold, or be expected to change. Most people are reactionary and that leads to twisted logic and behavior. Because of this state of affairs, communications and relations are difficult.  Gentle and unassuming desire to understand is a good neutral approach.

As you describe it, your response sounded a little harsh to me.  I wouldn't hang around a gaslighter if I had a choice.

Maybe she's a mouse trap, primed to snap and hurt you when you're saying the nicest thing.  It's not her fault or your fault.  Maybe you are that way. Just be careful and gentle and try not to get surprised.  

Good luck out there! 
emoticon

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/12/18 9:22 PM as a reply to Paul Smith.
Learn everything you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. 

Here's a playlist I recently completed:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrNBLR4djB7H6GK7XzSuAB6BtNGnLRaqY

It's a mini crash course. The topic seems bottomless when you look at all the manipulation strategies. There are other personality disorders that involve people good at Gaslighting, including Paranoia Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, and Anti-social Personality Disorder. These are extremes and all of us can have these tendencies from time to time, but in disordered individuals it's a long-standing trait.

Gaslighting is based on problem-solving. So in the mind of a manipulater (not just a narcissist) there is a goal, what they tell you (even if it's a lie) is part of their plan, and how you react is some form of reward, usually control.

Gaslighting is everywhere, in workplaces, schools, relationships. People lie and repress things all the time. There are defenses, but the way to keep your sanity is to read books on Boundaries. Boundaries are defenses you NEED and that are perfectly healthy. It can get complicated with things like Transference, Counter-transference, Projection, Introjection etc. If you focus on creating healthy boundaries for yourself and others you won't get lost. The easiest way to look at a boundary is looking at self-care and seeing what you need to do to care for yourself like you are PARENTING yourself. Say no to things that foster exploitation and control.

Oh and mental health professionals are not immune from these behaviours.

Good luck!

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/12/18 10:59 PM as a reply to Paul Smith.
I would respond in a genuinely interested manner because it is such a gold mine for someone to find something I did not know about myself and ask, "Can you please elaborate, I am really interested in knowing about the defence mechanisms that I have but unaware of!"

Weigh them carefully and agree with her (check honestly if it's true), keep silent if not and prompt her to finish respectfully. Before it ends, she might self-discover that she is eating her own tail and change the subject. If it turns out its bullshit - well, you can still choose to be polite and say, "I will watch these very carefully." to cut it short or go full monty on her. If it persists, gentle honesty is a good policy. 

Then 4Fs <- Depending on your relationship with her. emoticon

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/13/18 5:26 AM as a reply to Richard Zen.
Thanks for replies.

I started to set boundaries recently and she reacts with displeasure. I noticed it's pointless to talk about certain topics and now refuse to engage in conversion about them. I gave her the option to talk in the presence of a therapist, but she doesn't seem interested. I guess there is nothing to gain from it for her, so why would she do it?

Good thing is I'm starting to notice certain communication patterns and how tension gets built - quite interesting.

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/13/18 1:01 PM as a reply to Paul Smith.
Paul Smith:
I'm now aware that my upbringing had little in common with emotional health. Therefore I don't have an ingrained model for a healthy way to communicate. Individual and group therapy helped to some extent, but still I find myself in situations that I don't know how to handle.

For example, my friend recently told me that my defense mechanisms make her upset. Apparently she is able to diagnose people and assign labels to their patterns of behaviour. This upset me and I responded with: "you are an adult and responsible for your emotions, I also reject the label 'defense mechanisms'". The result was silence for about a minute and her sulking, then alternating between anger and assuming the victim role. I refused to engage her.

Am I correct to think that:
- my response was civil and justified
- her reaction was unhealthy?

I bought few books about emotional abuse and it seems I'm an unaware victim. Shaming, deflection, gaslighting - I recognized multiple patterns described.

Does anyone know an online community that deals with this type of stuff? For example, I know I'm being gaslighted by her regarding a certain incident, but I don't know how to deal with it. She simply states that the incident didn't occur.

aloha paul,

   Your friend told you that you were defensive and you got extremely defensive. You read books about abuse so that you can identify patterns. Not to identify patterns that you are wreaking on others, but patterns of what they are doing to you, so that you might defend yourself better. You regard her reaction as "unhealthy," not as untrue.

   Maybe you actually are defensive, as your friend points out, and as you react strongly to her assertion. Perhaps if you responded, "you are right, what can we do?" you might find a path to love. You might consider whether being "right" is more important than a loving relationship. It may be; can't tell without knowing you personally. But it looks like paranoia to me (sorry).

   There is always solitude. Or you could give up both the desire to be right and the desire for love. Settle for letting the mud settle.

   Just trying to help bra. Sometimes we expect things from people and are surprised and hurt when we don't get them. Martin buber talks about the "I" as coming in two versions: "I-and-It" and "I-and-Thou." Most people, most of the time, regard the world as "out there" for their exploitation, that all objects are "goods" or "tools" or they don't matter. (Aka "shopping mall world.") We can, however, engage the world as "other," realizing that all beings are the same as "me" and working with them and learning from them. In practice, a person we may regard as "my wife" with certain expectations may be seen differently as another fully developed human being with needs and desires and loves like our own. If we regard "my" wife, or secretary, or friend as a tool for our own gratification, we become frustrated, angry and deluded when they "fail" to supply our wants adequately and swiftly. This adds greatly to our frustration - we neither get the "good" we expected nor the pleasant relationship we depended on.

   I liked yilun's advice, and quote, also.

   This is from the tao te ching:

chapter eight
(feng/english trans)

Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub; 
It is the center hole that makes it useful. 
Shape clay into a vessel; 
It is the space within that makes it useful. 
Cut doors and windows for a room; 
It is the holes which make it useful. 
Therefore benefit comes from what is there; 
Usefulness from what is not there.

   "Thirty spokes share the wheel's hub": in the center of every being is an empty place, the "Self" or "hub." From that empty center we can see even our own paranoia as "just more ego" and let it go. Let go the frowning; try smile.


metta, terry 


ps  If any relationship is going to work, you have to let a lot of stuff go and just press on, with love... my wife an I have been together since we were nineteen years old, and have been married now 42 years - and we still go through stuff like this! and we overcome it. Accept that another human being is as deep a mystery as the hub of the universal wheel. You will never "really" know her nor she you. But your love can blaze nonetheless; two loves are one love.

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/13/18 1:15 PM as a reply to Francis M. Crawford.
Francis M. Crawford:
This is not intended to be not helpful :-) .  But maybe you should stop thinking so much.  Reading zen stuff is a great antidote to worrying about stuff like this. 

This is from Zen Master Seung Sahn.  I don't know exactly what it means but I love the basic sentiment and think it might help you:

"How do you understand you true self? I ask you, What are you? Don't you know? If you don't know, only go straight — don't know. This don't know mind cuts off all thinking, and your only-me situation, only-me condition opinion disappear. Then your correct situation, correct condition, and correct opinion appear -- it's very simply! An eminent teacher said, "You should understand for yourself whether water is hot or cold.” Understanding your true self is not special.
Next course: if you are thinking, then your mind and my mind are different. If you cut off all thinking, then your mind, my mind, all people's minds are the same.
An eminent teacher said, "One is many; many is one.” So if you cut off all thinking there is no I-my- me. Then you can keep your correct situation, correct condition and correct opinion from moment to moment. This is already world peace; you have already saved all people.
So first: how to you cut off all thinking? Already I asked, "What are you?” if you don't know, only go straight — don't know.
Next: how do you keep don't know mind from moment to moment? You must try, try, try. So every day at Zen center we bow, chant, sit, and work together. Sometimes we do yong maeng jong jin; sometimes we do a kido. These actions help us practice moment to moment: what are you doing now? If your mind is not clear, then simply do no hold your ideas; only don't know. Slowly your desire-thinking your anger-thinking, your ignorance-thinking disappear, so your don't know mind grows strong and becomes clear.
So when you sit, just sit. When you chant, just chant. When you bow, just bow. That is most important.
Don't check your feeling; don't check your mind; don't check your understanding; don't check outside. Then there is no inside, no outside; no I, no you, no they: you are one with your situation. That is very important.
I hope you only go straight — don't know, keep a mind that is clear like space, try, try, try for ten thousand years nonstop, attain enlightenment, and save all beings from suffering." 

aloha francis,

   Good quote, good zen. I was inspired.

   (gassho)

terry

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/14/18 1:05 AM as a reply to terry.
Terry, your post contains quite a lot of assumptions about me, my behaviour and my philosophical stance towards relationships in general (the Martin Buber part). My comment on these is: no comment. 

I also noticed that you make no comment regarding my female friend - no assumptions there.

I think I made an error by disclosing her gender - now I will never know what the board's response would be if we discussed two people of undisclosed genders and not male/female.

I guess your intentions are good, so thanks for that.

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/14/18 3:59 AM as a reply to Paul Smith.
Paul Smith:

For example, my friend recently told me that my defense mechanisms make her upset. Apparently she is able to diagnose people and assign labels to their patterns of behaviour. This upset me and I responded with: "you are an adult and responsible for your emotions, I also reject the label 'defense mechanisms'". The result was silence for about a minute and her sulking, then alternating between anger and assuming the victim role. I refused to engage her.

Am I correct to think that:
- my response was civil and justified
- her reaction was unhealthy?

Hi Paul, based on just what I read here, I'd say your response was civil and justified. She was acting in ways that could benefit from some reflection, I think. Both at the start and the end.

But I realize that it is hard to judge the situation, especially from afar and I might just as easily make the same mistake as the one I'm now criticizing her emoticon It's a touchy subject but I do think there is truth to be found, pragmatically speaking, if one has the willingness to confront one's own misconceptions. It is hard work and you can never be sure that you have actually done it with the most sincere motivation and are not just lying and deceiving yourself when thinking that you have.

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/14/18 4:43 AM as a reply to Paul Smith.
Paul Smith:
I also noticed that you make no comment regarding my female friend - no assumptions there.

Ηi Paul, 

Epictetus once said in a similar objection, that "it's your negativity, and it's your reactive patterns on this negativity that is the problem, and i give you accordingly advises on how to benefit your soul. If the other person wants to benefit too, she can come here and i will advice her too" 

You see the point is that everyone suffers according to his mind, so you can benefit by fixing your own. 

Let's say that there three ways to deal with some tension:

1) It is me that introduces negativity in the conversation (when all things are good, i remember to make an obnoxious comment)
2) It is the other person that introduces the negativity, but i react back with more negativity (-"you are lying", -"i'm not lying you garbage")
3) It is the other person that introduces the negativity, but i do not react back with negativity and i make something positive from that. 

The point is to aim for the 3d) option, the difficult one. So we are focusing mainly on our attitude and not the other's (but the more we cultivate this, and the more awake we are to this exchange of energies, the more we realize that in many situations it was us that we behaved immaturely. So it is very important to begin to be aware of what is happening, who is tense? Me? Let's relax. Is it the other? Let's not react badly. 

Keep walking, you will do fine

 

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/14/18 4:40 PM as a reply to jonjohn.
In relationships we have to work the ability to extract meaning not only from the words that are being said, but from the emotions that underlie them too. The more we understand tension in our own body, the more we understand when someone else is tense. Someone that has mastery of this thing can soothe a negative person in seconds, and the opposite is true for the immature and the negative one. 

About the problematic "fact" fixation in relationships, you can check this one also:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S74C-XF9kYY

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/14/18 4:51 AM as a reply to jonjohn.
"Someone that has mastery of this thing can soothe a negative person in seconds..."

https://www.facebook.com/HappinessHeroes/videos/808866382612677/

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/14/18 1:01 PM as a reply to Paul Smith.
Paul Smith:
Terry, your post contains quite a lot of assumptions about me, my behaviour and my philosophical stance towards relationships in general (the Martin Buber part). My comment on these is: no comment. 

I also noticed that you make no comment regarding my female friend - no assumptions there.

I think I made an error by disclosing her gender - now I will never know what the board's response would be if we discussed two people of undisclosed genders and not male/female.

I guess your intentions are good, so thanks for that.

   de nada

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/17/18 8:38 AM as a reply to Paul Smith.
Paul Smith:
Thanks for replies.

I started to set boundaries recently and she reacts with displeasure. I noticed it's pointless to talk about certain topics and now refuse to engage in conversion about them. I gave her the option to talk in the presence of a therapist, but she doesn't seem interested. I guess there is nothing to gain from it for her, so why would she do it?

Good thing is I'm starting to notice certain communication patterns and how tension gets built - quite interesting.
Good job! You're learning to trust your intuition and observations. Your awareness of the tension building intuits the Cycle of Abuse, so I would look into that to see if you can notice alternating patterns of mean and sweet behaviour used to condition you.

You're also learning that trying to change people (which trained psychologists have trouble doing) is futile. People change when they want to. You don't have to take responsibility for what is another's responsibility. This leads to self-care and that can relieve a lot of stress. 

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/17/18 3:10 PM as a reply to Paul Smith.
I am going through similar things with my family. What is wrong with the cycle of abuse is that the perpetrator makes you feel guilty for having feelings. It is a very selfish way to put label on others and force a certain view. I don't think anybody should blame you for defending yourself, you do what you do and what you know. You are learning, you are trying to get through life. I actually found this app yesterday called "7 cups" you can live chat (texting) with anonymous people called "Listeners" for free and they will discuss with you your personal problems and at least help you express your feelings. There are also therapists there you can talk with. They have various categories from mental health, confusion, abuse, anxiety, overwork etc etc. I recommend you check it out. 

here's the link on the Apple Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/7-cups-online-therapy-for-anxiety-and-depression/id921814681?mt=8

here's the link on Google Play:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=7+Cups+of+Tea&hl=en

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/18/18 2:30 PM as a reply to Paul Smith.
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) might help strengthen a healthy emotional connection, and this playlist on Cultivating Clear Communication combines nvc with dharma if need be; Philosophical Meditation might also help both of you prepare in advance if real-time communication is difficult. People often accumulate layers of unprocessed emotions and then act with or point at the top layer(s) without realizing some of the deeply rooted emotions may be busy gluing together the top layers with miscommunication and/or misunderstanding.

If you care about the person, it might help to share vulnerabilities and forgiveness to heal a relationship going forward; neuroticism can drive people to strange and sometimes divisive behaviour, and it could be as simple as they like or care about you deeply and are terrified to lose you, or averse to recognizing possible divisiveness (gaslighting, etc) if it would make them feel unworthy to be in your life, or they think/feel you are unhappy and are desperate to get your attention even if it means what they think are divisive reality checks.

Something to think/feel about, but it might be unnecessary speculation. I apologize, I had a better response prepared, but this computer froze so I salvaged what I could from fuzzy human memory late at night; here's a few extras if anything helps: hair, identity, love, why are people so nasty, how to be a better person, happiness.

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/20/18 12:17 AM as a reply to Paul Smith.
One of my favorite blogs is Captain Awkward https://captainawkward.com It’s chock full of solid advice about setting and maintaining boundaries with people. Browse around a bit and see if you can apply anything to your situation. Good luck!

RE: Emotional abuse
Answer
2/26/18 7:14 PM as a reply to Paul Smith.
I'm now aware that my upbringing had little in common with emotional health.

Nurturing influences your emotional health.


For example, my friend recently told me that my defense mechanisms make her upset.

That's how people hurt people.

For example, my friend recently told me that my defense mechanisms make her upset.

She is right. Check the Enneagram. However be aware that there are a lot of immaturity around it. If you want to be aware of a strong component of own's illusion, that's one part of it.


This upset me and I responded with: "you are an adult and responsible for your emotions, I also reject the label 'defense mechanisms'".

You should not. They exist and because of them, you will suffer make others suffer. In the send you act out, it's the moment you go auto-pilot.