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A bruise is not a requirement for proof of abusive behavior. There are many other ways a person can be abused. Abuse can be manipulation, exploitation, maltreatment, neglect, violence, cruelty, harm, hurt, ill-treatment, and exploitive. The seven ways it is manifested is through physical, mental, verbal, emotional, financial, sexual and spiritual. The following list is not inclusive but rather provides an opportunity to explore, evaluate and discuss any potentially destructive behavior.
Physical Abuse. Has the victim experienced:
- Intimidation Bullying by standing over, looking down, or getting in your face and then refusing to back off.
- Isolation Limiting the ability to escape from or abandoning in dangerous situations.
- Restraint Confines by blocking a doorway, grabbing when trying to leave, locking doors with no key, or tying up.
- Aggression Hitting, kicking, punching, arm twisting, pushing, beating, shoving, biting, slapping, striking with an object, shaking, pinching, choking, hair pulling, dragging, burning, cutting, stabbing, strangling, and force-feeding (including overdose or misuse of drugs).
- Endangerment Verbal threats of killing mixed with physical violence and use of weapons.
Mental Abuse. Has the victim experienced:
- Rage An intense, furious anger that comes out of nowhere, usually over nothing, startling and shocking a person into compliance or silence.
- Gaslighting Lying about the past making a person doubt their memory, perception, and sanity. They claim and give evidence of past wrong behavior further causing doubt.
- The Stare An intense stare with no feeling behind it frequently mixed with the silent treatment.
- Silent Treatment Punish by ignoring. They also have a history of cutting others out of their life permanently over small things.
- Projection They dump their issues onto others as if the other person did it.
- Twisting When confronted, they will twist it around to blame others for their actions. They will not accept responsibility for their behavior and instead insist on an apology.
- Manipulation Make others fear the worst such as abandonment, infidelity, or rejection.
- Victim Card When all else fails, they resort to playing the victim card to gain sympathy and further control behavior.
Verbal Abuse. Has the victim experienced:
- Extremes in Volume and Tone Voice – One way is to increase the volume by yelling, screaming, and raging. The second is complete silence, ignoring, and refusing to respond.
- Intimidating Words – Swearing and threatening language come easily when a person refuses to do what they want.
- Intense Manner of Speech – It is argumentative, competitive, sarcastic and demanding. They frequently interrupt, talk over, withhold key information, bully and interrogate.
- Personal Attacks Common examples include criticizing, name-calling, mocking responses, defaming character, berating feelings, and judging opinions.
- No Apology – They refuse to take responsibility, become hostile, invalidate or dismiss feelings of others, lie, and conveniently forget promises or commitments.
- Blame Game – Anything that goes wrong is someone elses fault. Accuses others of being too sensitive, is overly critical of reactions, one-up feelings, and opposing opinions.
- Browbeating – Typical sayings include: If only you would, then I wont have to be this way, You dont know how to take a joke, The problem with you is, and That (verbal abuse) didnt really happen.
Emotional Abuse. Has the victim experienced:
- Nitpicking – Whatever is important to others is minimized in comparison to their own agenda. They belittle accomplishments, aspirations, or personality in front of others. Teasing or sarcasm is commonly used to degrade and mock.
- Embarrassment/Shame – They share private information without consent, treat other people like a child, or expose some shameful event. Constantly being reminded of shortcomings, often in a passive-aggressive way.
- Increased Anxiety – It is easy to become anxious when questioned about every move, motive or aptitude. Feeling overwhelmed from the excessive responsibility being dumped, expecting others to drop everything to cheer them up.
- Excessive Guilt – They claim that they should be the most important person in others life. It is selfish for others to take care of themselves.
- Insecurity From being held to an unrealistic, unattainable or unsustainable standard. Then when the person fails, they are treated as inferior.
- Confusion – Being treated as an extension of the abuser, not a separate person.
- Alienation – Belittling friends and family and making others social engagements a nightmare (by contrast, they will be amazingly charming at their social engagements).
- Anger/Fear – They generate an angry response by acting immature and selfish but then accuse the other person of behaving that way. Use of intimidation, threats, frightening behavior, or destruction of treasured possessions.
- Hostility/Rejection – Stalking in and away from the house. Refusing to acknowledge worth by withholding love or intimacy creating a threat of rejection.
Financial Abuse. Has the victim experienced:
- Forbidden Access – To money, checking accounts, or possessions to create a dependency on them for food, clothing, shelter, and necessities. Maintains secret accounts at various financial institutions. Depletes retirement accounts without knowledge.
- Stealing Steals, defrauds, or exploits from family and expects everyone to be ok with it.
- Assets – Demands that all financial gifts, assets or inheritances be placed in their name. Open bank accounts in their name without giving access to records. Cancels life, health, car or house insurance without prior knowledge.
- Paychecks – Forces paychecks to be handed over and deposited it in their account.
- Bills/Credit – Puts all the bills or credit cards in others name. The assets are in their name but debt is in someone elses name. Maxes out credit cards without the other person’s knowledge and ruins their credit rating.
- Taxes – Falsifies tax records to show greater reductions and expects others to sign documents without question.
- Budget – Puts others on a strict allowance with an impossible budget thereby setting them up for failure. Punishes spending with verbal, physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
- Career – Forbids others from earning money, attending school, or advancing careers.
- Work – Interferes in a work environment by calling the boss. Insists on having access to work emails and calendar knowing details about the job that is excessive, unprofessional, and violates confidentiality. Harasses while at work through unannounced visits, excessive phone calls or texting to negatively impact the job.
Sexual Abuse. Has the victim experienced:
- Grooming – Doing an unwanted or embarrassing sexual act designed to catch others off-guard, create a feeling of trepidation, and see if others comply.
- Jealousy Rages – Demands to be told everything about previous sexual partners. Then they use the information to call them a slut. Frequent accusations of being attracted to others, flirting, flaunting your body, and cheating.
- Coercion Tactics – Use of harassment, guilt, shame, blame, or rage to coerce others into having sex. They nag, insult, become disruptive, and refuse to allow sleep until they concede.
- Threatens Infidelity – Dangles the possibility of another person in order to bully into doing uncomfortable sexual acts.
- Inciting Fear – Others submit to unwanted sexual acts out of fear that they will hit, leave, humiliate, punish, betray, or withhold money.
- Selfish Appeals – A classic example of selfish sex is unprotected sex. Because intercourse is all about how they feel, they refuse to use condoms and insist others take full responsibility for birth control or STD/STI protection.
- Sexual Withdraw – Some completely withdraw all sex from the relationship. Any requests for sex are met with ridicule, rants about performance, and excessive excuses for abstinence.
- Ultimatums – For them, other’s body is theirs and their body is theirs. Ultimatums include demands to lose weight, groom a certain way, forced pregnancy or an abortion, and forbidding breastfeeding.
- Destroying Principles – Previous sexual standards are obliterated. For instance, participating in pornography, prostitution, having multiple partners at one time, or sex with animals was completely out of the question but now are common.
- Rape – The FBI defines rape as Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
- Degrading Acts – Degradation is in the eye of the beholder. They will not view these acts as degrading but others might. Here are a couple of examples: urinating on a person, having sex while on the toilet, or forced sex in public places.
- Sadistic Sex – There are two forms of sadistic sexual acts: mild (also known as S&M) and severe which can lead to death. Mild examples include master-slave role-playing, immobilizing others through drugs or alcohol, administering pain (whipping) during sex, confining others to a cage, typing up, blindfolding, or clamping sexual organs. The severe examples include: physical beatings, choking, psychological torture, burning, cutting, stabbing, vampirism, and murder before, during or after sex.
Spiritual Abuse. Has the victim experienced:
- Dichotomous Thinking – Dividing people into two parts. Those who agree with them and those who dont. They make fun of, belittle, and show prejudice towards other beliefs.
- Elitists – Refusing to associate with people or groups they consider impure or unholy.
- Submission – Requires that others completely adopt their point of view. There is no room for differing opinions or questioning their authority. Name-calling, chastising, and the silent treatment are common maneuvers into compliance.
- Labeling – People who dont comply with their beliefs are seen as disobedient, rebellious, lacking faith, demons, or enemies of the faith.
- Public Performance – Demand perfection and happiness at all times. Religious activities such as attending church have extreme demands, excessive expectations, and rigidity.
- Legalistic – Strict adherence to their rules and regulations are commanded with absolute statements about insignificant issues such as hair color or style. Non-compliance is met with severe discipline and even excommunication.
- Segregation – Use secrecy or withholds information to a few select worthy individuals. Estrangement from extended family members and friends outside of the religion. This includes shunning, alienation, or persecution.
- Blind Obedience Is expected. They have replaced religion with themselves and people are expected to worship them.
- Abuse of Authority Use position or authority to connive for their personal benefit which is often financial. They justify the behavior by saying they deserve it.
- Fraud – Engaging in criminal misconduct or cover up the transgressions of others in the name of their religion. This includes covering up sexual abuse, physical abuse, financial felonies, and misdemeanors.
Reminder: This list is a starting point to bring about a discussion. There are many more ways a person can be abused.
The 7 Characteristics of Assertive People
Assertive people are not just born that way, they are made. Of course, there are conditions that help develop certain assets or abilities. But in the end, we all have to work to change the way we behave and act in order to be more appropriate and constructive. There are certain characteristics of assertive people that we can identify.
Assertiveness can be defined as the capacity to relate to others in a sincere and uplifting manner, forming a bridge that leads to trust between people. It can also be defined as an attitude towards oneself and others that leads to a balance between human rights and the responsibilities we have towards others, while at the same time maintaining mutual respect.
It’s much easier to theorize about this than to carry it out in our daily lives. Assertive people are the fruit of the effort and actions that come together to form this attitude. In the end, all of our effort forms part of the long road to learning to live well. It is worth the effort to identify the characteristics make us assertive. Here, we will talk about 7 of them.
“The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behaviors affect the rights and well being of others.”
7 Ways Feeling Unloved May Have Roots in Your Childhood
Personally, I have abandonment issues, along with all the other quirks, personality flaws, and disorders that I also endure. For many years, I struggled to understand why I was so afraid, and why I was feeling unloved. Over time, I’ve realized where these struggles and feelings are coming from. My childhood has framed the woman that I am today, fears, anger, anxieties and the ability to be loved.
Feeling unloved has deep roots
Unfortunately, feeling unloved is a product of a dysfunctional childhood. I’m not saying that all parents are horrible and abuse their children causing unloved feelings, but many do. In fact, only 30% of children from healthy families actually get by without unloveable feelings of some kind. It’s just difficult to find the balance.
To understand the correlation between the past and our feelings today, we have to examine multiple connections between the two. Here is the way this works.
Afraid of failure
Have you ever noticed how terrified you are at failing a test or failing in a relationship? In many cases, a history of failed relationships can contribute to the fear of failure, but there are other reasons as well.
For one, a childhood of feeling unloved can cause decades of fear. The lack of proper parenting, including neglect, makes a child, then an adult, afraid to try new things. They just always see a negative outcome.
There are many adults who do not trust others or situations. This characteristic can come from many things in the past. Trust issues stem from the destruction of trust in a relationship or repetitive event during life. Parents who cannot provide the love that the child needs can taint trust at an early age. This child can carry those trust issues well into adulthood, damaging future relationships.
There are three basic attachment styles: healthy, avoidant, and anxious. While the first one is normal, the other two have come from a dysfunctional parenting style. The anxious one probably never had a stable home as a child, and always expected anything chaotic to happen.
This predisposition displayed in the adult as a form of anxious attachment style. The avoidant one has experienced neglect as a child and will always be afraid of intimacy. Both these unhealthy styles of attachment can cause problems in relationships and intimate unions.
The toxic connection
Many adult toxic relationships come from somewhere deep and long ago. I remember watching my father manipulate my mother and become abusive over time. Although I did grow angry with him, I started to see the marriage as normal, learning that this is what I was to expect as an adult.
When I grew older, I married a man much like my father, controlling and manipulative. I was left feeling unloved. There was a clear connection between the two. Adults of toxic situations, like my example, tend to have childhoods filled with toxic family members. They frame their lives by watching their parents and how they interact.
When mothers fail to love their children correctly, the child grows into a conflicted adult. This means the adult always wrestles between hating her mother for neglecting and abusing her and wanting so desperately to be loved correctly by her mother. This conflict is tormenting and it rotates continually leaving the abused adult with no real solution. Sometimes you have to forgive and move on for yourself.
Many adults are overly sensitive to certain situations. Most of the time, there are triggers which emotionally take the adult back to their childhood. In the past, these children may have been covertly abused and told that they are too sensitive because they are hurt by the insults.
To use the terms “too sensitive” is a common retort by abusers in order to take the blame off themselves for what they say or do. As adults, these abused children will actually become more sensitive to things in response to this accusation. It’s strange how this form of feeling unloved can transform into a personality flaw.
This indicator took me back in time to when I was sexually abused. No, it wasn’t by my parents, but it creates a good example to help you understand. In sexual abuse, boundaries do not exist to the abuser. After so long, the child forgets what healthy boundaries are if they ever really knew in the first place.
For me, as an adult, I always felt rejected if someone told me that they need space or boundaries. It was alien to me and I had to learn the hard way to respect those boundaries and then create healthy boundaries for myself. Feeling unloved as a child, and yes sexual abuse is the opposite of love, can create strong feelings of neglect through setting boundaries.
The foundation of adulthood
You never really understand the details of your childhood until you reap the results as an adult. Some of these rewards are good and some are bad. The best solution is to take the negative and think back to when this feeling truly appeared. More than likely, what you are experiencing today has a root in your past. It’s a deep root, that until pulled free, will forever impact your life.
I hope you find your peace from childhood trauma, abuse, and neglect. Remember to be open-minded and approach these things with love. I wish you well.
2. Making you feel insecure
Insecurity is another one of those feelings that people take advantage of when they want to manipulate you. They do it by identifying situations where you have weak convictions or little self-love. They take advantage of it for their own benefit.
If you’re insecure, then negative criticism about what you do or say, making fun of you and belittling you are all forms of manipulation. Manipulators may also try to confuse you, turning your simple mistakes into a big one. They may make you think that they know more than you about yourself.
Signs of Physical Abuse
Physical symptoms of abuse might include burns and scalds—especially those that appear in particular or unnatural patterns—bruises, bite marks, frequent fractures or broken bones, chronic injuries, or chronic health concerns. However, the presence of any of these physical signs may not necessarily indicate abuse, especially in children, who can be prone to falls or other accidents that cause injury. When an individual has frequent injuries or bruises, when the injuries appear to have a pattern, or when the explanation of the injury does not fit, then investigation of the situation may be recommended.
Individuals—adults and children—who appear suddenly withdrawn, anxious, or aggressive, or who exhibit any of the following behavioral signs, especially in combination with the physical symptoms listed above, may be experiencing abuse:
- , nightmares, or trouble sleeping
- Bedwetting or soiling oneself (in children) , threatening self-harm , threatening suicide
- Changes in eating habits, development of an eating disorder
- Clingy behavior, a depressive or low mood
While abuse is always a serious concern, shaking or throwing a baby or small child can often be fatal. Injuries received as the result of a head injury, when not fatal, may lead to brain damage, disability, speech or visual impairment, or learning difficulties later in life. Babies who have been shaken may also sustain internal injuries, broken bones, or fractures. While respiratory problems, seizures, vomiting, irritability, lethargy, or lack of interest in eating may also indicate a baby might have a head injury, abuse may not always be the cause. No matter the potential cause, a n individual who has reason to believe a baby has been shaken or thrown should seek medical attention immediately.
5. Blurred gender roles may make it harder to identify abuse.
Gender roles can play a really big role in abusive transgender relationships. In an effort to be more masculine-presenting, a transgender person might “put up” with abuse from their partner more because they feel obligated to “take it like a man.” Or some transgender women may experience gender affirmation from being abused because of the traditional depiction of domestic violence being a male-on-female issue.
10 commonly abused psychology words — and what they really mean
If you're like many people, you can be a little OCD about language, but at the same time you can go ADHD and lose the thread and use some words loosely. Like you're kinda bipolar or schizophrenic about it, ya know, and maybe you get paranoid that someone's gonna go psycho on you about it.
Well, maybe it's time to know what all these mental-health-related words are really supposed to mean, and what the disorders they name really involve.
1. OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)
Many people use OCD to mean "a desire to be tidy and keep things in order." Alphabetizing your bookshelf? "My OCD kicked in." Tupperware always neatly stacked? "I'm a little OCD about my kitchen." One tile out of place on a floor? "This will drive people with OCD crazy."
But OCD is not just a desire for order. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), says that OCD obsessions are "intrusive and unwanted" and its compulsions are "aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety or distress, or preventing some dreaded event or situation" but "are not connected in a realistic way" with what they're supposed to prevent "or are clearly excessive." They take up a lot of time or interfere badly with life.
DSM-5 distinguishes between OCD and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, however. OCPD involves extreme versions of traits you probably recognize in some people — extreme preoccupation with rules and order "to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost," "perfectionism that interferes with task completion," excessive devotion to work, extreme inflexibility, miserliness, and what we often call "control-freak" behavior. If you know someone who is so stuck on getting something exactly right that it never gets done or other things get ruined entirely, or someone who insists on rules or moral principles to the point of hurtfulness or destructiveness, that person may have Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. A key point is that it's a personality disorder. People with personality disorders are generally difficult to deal with, but they see other people as the problem.
If you just like to have everything tidy, you probably don't have OCPD, and you certainly don't have OCD.
2. ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
Some people use ADHD loosely to mean "can't pay attention or concentrate." Others scoff at it as a way of prescribing pills to kids who just eat too much sugar. But it's a clinical condition, which means the real thing makes life a lot more difficult than it should be.
DSM-5 has a list of nine symptoms of inattentiveness and nine of hyperactivity and impulsivity. To qualify for diagnosis the person has to have at least six of one, six of the other, or six of each, "that have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is inconsistent with developmental level and that negatively impacts directly on social and academic/occupational activities." Also, several of the symptoms have to have been present before age 12, and several have to be present in two or more settings.
ADHD is a comparatively common diagnosis, and there are probably many mild cases of it that are never diagnosed. But getting bored when doing something most people find boring is — to use the terminology — not diagnostic.
It's common to use "narcissist" to mean "vain" or "egomaniacal" or "self-obsessed:" "OMG millennials are such narcissists, always taking selfies!" "Aw, that politician is a narcissist, always taking credit for everything and needing his ego stroked."
Much of this is just common reference to the mythological figure Narcissus, who spent so much time looking at his own reflection that he died. But there is a clinical diagnosis, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, defined by DSM-5 as "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts." You need at least five of nine characteristics to be diagnosed, including arrogance, exploitativeness, and a sense of entitlement.
There are public figures who are thought by many to have these characteristics, but don't expect them ever to go in and be clinically assessed. Being self-centered isn't automatically NPD, and liking to take lots of selfies isn't diagnostic. Also, "Narcissistic traits may be particularly common in adolescents and do not necessarily indicate that the person will go on to have narcissistic personality disorder."
Many people seem to think bipolar disorder is having "mood swings" or "up days and down days." Jimi Hendrix's song "Manic Depression" is about romantic uncertainty and its attendant emotional ups and downs, not quite something that could hospitalize you.
"Manic-depressive" and "manic depression" aren't technical terms anymore. The DSM-5 term is Bipolar Disorder, and it's a whole spectrum of disorders, all characterized by both major depressive episodes and manic episodes. And they don't last just a few hours or a day or two. Manic episodes involve "abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and persistently increased or goal-directed activity or energy, lasting at least one week" this tends to include such things as extreme talkativeness, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and risky behavior. Depressive episodes are not necessarily exactly the opposite in every way — the person may be agitated rather than lethargic — but they are generally the opposite, and strongly so.
Manic and depressive episodes resemble the happy and sad moods most of us have in about the same way an aircraft carrier resembles a yacht.
Some people think schizophrenia is multiple personality disorder (now called Dissociative Identity Disorder) — when a person flips between different distinct personalities. But while the term schizophrenia comes from Greek for "split mind," what it means is that different functions of the mind are dissociated from one another.
There is quite a lot of variation in the symptoms of schizophrenia, but in order for it to be diagnosed according to the DSM-5, a person must have delusions, hallucinations, and/or incoherent or frequently derailed speech, and may be catatonic, grossly disorganized, or lacking in emotional expression or volition. The symptoms have to last a long time: at least a month in full severity, and six months for associated signs.
While many people have ideas from TV and movies of people with schizophrenia as "psycho killers," the DSM-5 points out that "the vast majority of people with schizophrenia are not aggressive and are more frequently victimized than are people in the general population."
"Paranoid" is often used conversationally to mean just "worried" or "self-conscious": "I'm paranoid that I have something stuck in my teeth" "I'm paranoid when someone asks me to hold their baby, like that I'll drop it or it'll poop on me" "I'm always paranoid at border crossings." This has little to do with the clinical version.
Classically, "paranoia" was the original Greek catch-all term for mental illness, from para "beside" and nous "mind" — in other words, out of your mind. More recently it's become a more specific diagnosis. Paranoid Personality Disorder, in the DSM-5 sense, means "pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent." This doesn't mean worrying too much that things will turn out badly. It means taking compliments as underhanded criticisms, viewing honest mistakes as maliciousness, and bearing grudges for a long time. In short, people with Paranoid Personality Disorder don't just worry that people are out to get them they're sure that they are, and they despise them for it.
"Psychotic" is, in popular use, like an amped-up version of "crazy." People use it to describe people whose behavior or political beliefs seem wildly irrational. "Psychotic" in the DSM-5 sense, on the other hand, is a broad term encompassing a number of different disorders, including schizophrenia. What they have in common are one or more of "delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking (speech), grossly disorganized or abnormal motor behavior (including catatonia), and negative symptoms." What they mean by "negative symptoms" is feeling less, saying less, doing less, and wanting to do less than is considered normal.
In short, the difference between what many people use "psychotic" to mean and what it officially means is like the difference between "I died laughing" and a coroner's report.
"Psychopath" is popularly used to mean someone who is dangerous and lacking in shame, remorse, or an appreciation of consequences. Various disliked public figures regularly get called psychopaths.
The DSM-5 doesn't use the term "psychopath" to refer to people. It avoids essentializing disorders: A person is not a "schizophrenic" but an "individual with schizophrenia," and not an "alcoholic" but an "individual with alcohol use disorder." But it uses the term "psychopathology" quite a lot. That's because it's from Greek roots meaning "mental illness." So it encompasses pretty much everything in the manual, not just conditions that involve remorseless cruelty.
In other words, "psychopath" isn't a clinical term, and if it were one, we'd still be using it wrong. The way most people use it is just another way of saying "nasty crazy," which is not clinical or, for that matter, particularly useful.
The word "insane" is not used in the DSM-5 even once. Yes, it used to be used officially. It comes from Latin meaning "unhealthy," and at one time it was a dry clinical term. But its use got polluted by popular misperceptions and prejudices. Sort of like "psychopath" and, for that matter, a number of other terms for mental illnesses.
Unlike "insane," the word "crazy" is actually used in the DSM-5. Not as a diagnostic or clinical term, of course! It's used to describe something that people with some kinds of anxieties are afraid of becoming or being seen as. A person with social anxiety is worried about being judged as "anxious, weak, crazy, stupid, boring, intimidating, dirty, or unlikable" a symptom of a panic attack is "fear of ‘going crazy'" — the manual explains that "'fear of going crazy' is a colloquialism often used by individuals with panic attacks and is not intended as a pejorative or diagnostic term."
Because of course that's how people in general use it: pejoratively. "Crazy" comes from the verb "craze," which means "crack up" (literally) crazed glass has a lot of small cracks. So a crazy person is, metaphorically, seen as all cracked up. We have in our culture a long history of derisive use of terms for mental diseases, just as we do for some kinds of physical diseases and disabilities: "leper," "cripple." A word like "crazy" shows us how we tend to respond to mental illness: with fear, meanness, or a desire to laugh it off.