An emotionally abusive relationship

All Woman

DEAR COUNSELLOR,

I am in an emotionally abusive relationship and I want out of it. I can't seem to do anything without an argument. The simplest issue turns into a major argument, and problems or issues that we solved years ago will come right back at me. I want to be free and become a Christian. I fear the Lord and have faith in Him. Sometimes when the situation becomes unbearable I just feel like ending my life, but God is there holding on to me.

I get blamed for things that I haven't done. This is one of the reasons I want out — he is not supportive, he only acts like he is. He keeps malice for weeks and even months and I haven't done anything. I need help.

Like yours, there are many relationships that are characterised by emotional turmoil and the partners are antagonistic towards each other — passively or aggressively. This relationship would be considered dysfunctional as one or both partners feel imprisoned and unhappy.

One can sympathise with your situation as emotional abuse is, by far, more penetrating and enduring than physical pain and can lead to serious psychological impairments. Before you get there, you really need to access professional help as soon as possible. Talk of hurting yourself cannot be taken lightly and so you must reach out for help immediately.

Your partner has obviously mastered the art of manipulation and has been successful in messing with your head, causing you much distress. One of the tactics emotional abusers use is to refuse to answer questions that would clarify an issue. They'd rather keep you in the dark and keep you second-guessing yourself. The plan is to frustrate you to the point of giving up on yourself.

Partners in such dysfunctional relationships will either freeze, fight or flee. Those who freeze would give in to the abuse and become helpless victims. The fighters would stand up to the verbal and non-verbal attacks and not be intimidated by the abuser. For others, their solution is to remove themselves from the toxic situation completely.

As you reflect on your life and assess the status of the relationship, ask yourself the following questions: Do I deserve to be treated so badly? How am I benefiting from remaining in this relationship?

Do a pros and cons assessment of the relationship and determine if the cons far outweigh the pros. If that is the case, then you need to do what is in your best interest. Your personal happiness is paramount, don't forget that.

Take care and all the best.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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