In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like reveal the 12 ways emotionally abused people love differently.
First a quick update:
“To Love Or Be Loved? Which Is The Deepest Longing?”
Do you know the song by Queen “Somebody to Love”? It stresses the truth of our desire to love someone – to have someone to whom we can express and show our love.
“The Duggars, Sissy Boy Syndrome, abuse & projection”
What do the Duggars, Sissy Boy Syndrome and Hypocrisy have in common? Why do people that scream so loudly about something being wicked actually secretly engage in that same behavior? Watch the video.
Now, let’s talk about the 12 ways emotionally abused people love differently.
This article is written for those people who are in a relationship with someone who has experienced abuse, and therefore it is written in the first person plural.
Abuse is the mistreatment of a person, often with the primary intention to unfairly or improperly gain benefit.
Abuse is demonstrated as a pattern of behavior used to gain and maintain power and control over someone.
There are many forms of abuse – mental, emotional, verbal, physical and sexual. The degree and the type of abuse will determine the long term effects of the victim.
People that have suffered mental, emotional & verbal abuse tend to give, and receive love differently. Here are 12 ways that emotionally abused people love differently.
1. We have a twisted version of love
The person that was supposed to have loved us, instead abused us by controlling, manipulating, criticizing, judging, berating and belittling us until we felt worthless. Therefore, we don’t really know what ‘love’ is: we only know love as abuse – abuse as love; we have created a twisted version of love where abuse and love is one and the same thing. So, when you meet us and treat us well, we are confused and don’t immediately sense or interpret that treatment as ‘love.’
2. We mistrust kind gestures
You treat us well and you are patient, kind and understanding even though we don’t consciously recognize that you are being patient, kind and understanding; we don’t trust that treatment of us because we haven’t experienced it, and if we did experience it in the past, it came with conditions and was used to manipulate us.
3. We try to sabotage the relationship
You are confused because the better you treat us and the more ‘perfect’ you are, the more we want to run away and we look for ways to sabotage the relationship. We are opening up to you just enough that we are feeling extremely vulnerable and therefore, we are deeply terrified that we will be hurt or abused again. We are confused and scared.
4. We feel unworthy of a healthy, loving relationship
If we are trying to sabotage the relationship, it’s because we subconsciously don’t believe we deserve to be loved. Please understand that because we were abused we actually subconsciously believe that we deserved the abuse and are not worthy of love and happiness, even though our soul cries out for love.
5. We keep our distance for a long time
We are struggling to trust; we don’t know if you are going to hurt us again and we are seeking reassurance about who you are and how you will be with us tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Therefore, we are going to keep our distance for a long time; it’s our way of staying safe and maintaining some sort of control.
6. We play it close to the chest
We are avoiding being vulnerable even though we want to be; we are afraid that if we bare ourselves to you, you will reject, control, criticize or negate our very core essence. We are also afraid that you will reject our love.
7. We struggle in the bedroom
Sex isn’t just physical intimacy; it represents much more. We want to let go and feel safe with you; we want to trust so that we can experience ecstasy and unity with you and yet, in that moment, when we do let go, we know that we might become overwhelmed, flooded with raw emotion and pain that we don’t even yet understand or can fully process. Sometimes, the result is we might be numb or appear to be cold; we don’t consciously choose to be that way.
8. We can easily be startled or flinch at loud sounds
Some of us experienced or witnessed physical or verbal violence such that we are constantly on edge: a sudden loud sound can make us flinch or jump because our “fight or flight response” is too often engaged.
9. We are affectionate – on our own terms
We long for physical touch, for the safety of being held; we just don’t know it as a safe experience. We are guarded. Be patient with us as we reach out to express our warmth beneath the cold exterior; we just need space and time to do it in our own way so we can feel safe and accepted and without it leading automatically to sex.
10. We need space & security
We are searching for safety and security; we long for stability in an environment where we can be loved, accepted and reassured. Our security will come from within and without of us; we need you to be consistent and patient. We need to know that you will be there, so we might be erratic occasionally; we might even push you away just because we doubt ourselves. We have heard you use the “L Word” and we want to reciprocate; we are just unsure about why you might actually love us and we are not even yet articulate or confident enough to tell you we enjoy your company and who you are.
11. We are unsure about what is truly right and what is truly wrong
For years we have only known abusive relationships and our abusers did everything they could to control us, all the while battering home that they are perfect, they know best and that we are flawed, worthless, useless, and never good enough. Therefore, when you are doing the right thing – being mature, responsible, patient, calm, accepting, flexible, supportive – we don’t recognize it as the right thing and we need to turn to others to help us redefine ‘right and wrong’ and a healthy relationship. We might also associate romance with pain; we need patience, persistence and reassurance.
12. We can be very confused about the present and the future
Until we can feel truly safe and secure, we are confused and unsure about our future. We are seeking security, love and acceptance and fear that it might be a fleeting moment. We are confused about whether or not you truly love us and whether or not you will actually stay!
How to love someone who was abused
Reread the above 12 different ways that emotionally abused people love and offer them what they need in their own time. Above all, express patience, kindness, understanding, compassion, security, stability and acceptance. As much as you want to express your love, people who were emotionally abused also want to express their deepest longing – they want to express their love and know that they will be accepted and loved in return!
If you need assistance to feel safe to love again as well as find a healthy relationship, book a one-on-one session with me.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.