How To Stop Emotional Abuse and Gain Respect For more information about stopping emotional abuse, please visit Healing Emotional Abuse Annie's husband was emotionally abusive, and she suffered greatly every day. For example, Joe would get upset if she wasn’t paying him her complete attention. You could see this happen as she was finishing dictating her daily report for work in the phone, when he began to scream at her for not paying attention to him. He slammed the door when leaving the house, causing dishes on the wall to break and fall. But Annie - even when hurt - did her usual routine: she cleaned, cooked for him and kept the house in order besides attending her full-time job. Annie had decided that the most adequate response was to continue as if nothing happened; she attributed his behavior to exhaustion and had her best face on when he came home. Was she being empathetic to him? Or was she being a person unable to stand up for herself? Even more important: was her response the right behavior for stopping emotional abuse in the future? The answer to the last question is “NO.” There are many factors by which people decide to ignore abuse, but it will not make the abuse disappear if you ignore it and be nice to your abuser. Annie went through much of the early relationship believing that if she could be accepting and supportive, continually creating a loving home atmosphere, her husband's abusive behavior would disappear. Essentially, she believed that the abuse came because of something she wasn’t doing well enough. Unfortunately, she was rewarding her husband's negative behavior. When he was abusive to Annie, Joe saw that she was attentive, nice and caring toward him afterward. Ask yourself: why would he change his treatment of his wife if she responded so positively to his abuse? Basic psychology tell us that behavior varies depending on its consequences (reinforcement). Annie’s “no critique, no punishment” ideology only sends the message that she can take it, and that Joe will get what he wants when he acts abusively (positive reinforcement). So, what is the right attitude for healing emotional abuse? A firm, assertive response that clearly expresses your unhappiness. No grey areas here, but a strong condemnation of the abuse, and a definition of what is acceptable in the future. As in: “When you become so angry with me that you yell and curse like this morning, I feel really upset and hurt. That abusive behavior threatens the trust I have in you.” “If this abuse goes on, I will leave the house. I will stay by myself until we can both reconsider what kind of marriage we want and how to get it.” Remember that if you speak up assertively, you have to follow your words up with actions. If you say that you will leave the house temporarily when he yells at you, then do it. There is no other way to teach an abusive husband what are your limits about what kind of behavior will be acceptable. Worse still, if you say you will do one thing but never do it, that is just another signal that you “submit.” Being assertive also requires respecting yourself. You need to realize that you are worthy of gentle, caring and respectful treatment by the person who says loves you the most. You also need to realize that you have a right to demand that treatment from the person who calls himself your “partner.” Do you need help learning assertive techniques, or learning how to respect and empower yourself? We have many resources that you can start with: ● A coaching session with Coach Nora to talk about your personal situation and what is best for you. ● “Healing Emotional Abuse,” a book specifically for women who have left (or want to leave) emotionally abusive relationships. ● Our Healing Emotional Abuse blog, dedicated to giving you more information about what emotional abuse is. Don’t suffer in silence, hoping things will just magically get better. Learn what you can do to actively make your life the way you want it to be: happy. Act now! Neil Warner is the “relationship guru,” and his main focus is to increase the quality of love-based relationship experiences. In this ground-breaking guide he offers useful strategies on healing a difficult emotionally abusive relationship with love and compassion. You don’t have to stay in an unhealthy relationship one more minute. Let Neil share his tools with you today! You can begin with Healing Emotional Abuse, a book that gives you a plan for action to change your life with new skills included. Just click this link and get started now!