All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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BPD – WTF IGO IMM?

Ok. We’ll need to talk more about that but we’re out of time for today.
Ok
Before you go, I’d like you to have a look at this. It was something that came to me yesterday…and I wanted your thoughts.
Ok

She went over to a file and produced a piece of paper, which I had – for a brief moment – hoped contained some mystical spell/incantation which would magically cure my ailing mind – but alas – it was just something that made things even more complicated!

Cool, just what I need right about now! :)

I looked down at the piece of paper and read the words, I wasn’t really taking it all in as I read it on that first occasion. Just processing the information enough for it to register, the actual processing to the point of confusion would come a little while later.

The piece of paper had a list of nine symptoms listed, and these symptoms are as follows. Now, I would like you to see if any match yourself:

Symptom List 1:

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse, reckless driving). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself.
  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms

How many do you have?
They are by the way straight from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association. They quote:

“A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self image, and affects, and marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.”

How many do you have?

Now, have a look at these, which are also from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association:

Symptom List 2:

  1. Characteristic symptoms: Two or more of the following, each present for much of the time during a one-month period (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).
    • Delusions
    • Hallucinations
    • Disorganized speech, which is a manifestation of formal thought disorder
    • Grossly disorganized behavior (e.g. dressing inappropriately, crying frequently) or catatonic behavior
    • Negative symptoms—affective flattening (lack or decline in emotional response), alogia (lack or decline in speech), or avolition (lack or decline in motivation)
    If the delusions are judged to be bizarre, or hallucinations consist of hearing one voice participating in a running commentary of the patient’s actions or of hearing two or more voices conversing with each other, only that symptom is required above. The speech disorganization criterion is only met if it is severe enough to substantially impair communication.
  2. Social/occupational dysfunction: For a significant portion of the time since the onset of the disturbance, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care, are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset.
  3. Duration: Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least six months. This six-month period must include at least one month of symptoms (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).

Okay, I included that second set, which were listed on the paper for a reason I will get to in a moment. Let us return to the first set.

How many did you have?

One?

Two?

Three?

Four?

All?

Well, if I was being honest I have seven of them. Technically, if you have more than five, then you may be suffering from something called Borderline Personality Disorder.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

“Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual’s sense of self-identity. Originally thought to be at the “borderline” of psychosis, people with BPD suffer from a disorder of emotion regulation. While less well known than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), BPD is more common, affecting 2 percent of adults, mostly young women. There is a high rate of self-injury without suicide intent, as well as a significant rate of suicide attempts and completed suicide in severe cases. Patients often need extensive mental health services, and account for 20 percent of psychiatric hospitalizations.”
(from the National Institute of Mental Health)

Now, the reason I included a quote there instead of writing about BPD in my own inimitable fashion is because I haven’t got a clue what it is. In fact some GPs and MH workers I’ve spoken to have been unable to fully explain to me what BPD is. There are even some health professionals who don’t believe in the validity of the condition because of the wide variety of and frequent overlap of symptoms with other disorders.

Which is why I included the second set of symptoms…

…and of those three, I have demonstated over the years to have all of them, including the “at least six months” part.

Those symptoms are for schizophrenia.

So, following this, I have an official diganosis of bipolar type 1 – but according to the criterias above, I’m also suffering from borderline personality disorder as well as schizophrenia.

Which is where things get complicated!

What the fuck is wrong with me??

Borderline Personality Disorder – What The Frack Is Going On In My Mind?

After months of pondering, thinking, researching and trying to work it out – I have come to the conclusion I will never know.

You see diagnosing mental illness is not an exact science, there are many factors which must be taken into consideration and with the frequent and intense overlap of symptoms – especially with the personality disorders of BPD, bipolar and schizophrenia – of course I am going to exhibit symptoms of all three illnesses, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I suffer from all three illnesses. Even the medication which is used to treat these illnesses are very similar, in some cases, exact.

It’s obvious I do have traits of all illnesses, but regardless of the label (which is all the diagnosis really is) I just suffer from a mental illness.

It doesn’t matter if it’s called borderline personality disorder, bipolar, schizphrenia, narcissitic personality disorder, Bob or Fanny Craddock’s Apple Pie Disorder (who wouldn’t want to have that!)

They’re just my condition, not who I am.

They just complicated things because I like knowing what it is I am fighting, it gives me a focus and something to hold onto. It took me long enough to come to terms with bipolar, let alone a possible new addition to the wealth of frackedupness in my mind. All this incident did was create further confusion and complication in an already confused and complicated mind.

It wasn’t what I needed.

Not after everything that had been happening.


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Psychiatric Help 5c – The Doctor is in!

The human brain.

One of the most impressive yet fragile organs in the body.

It gets us up in the morning, helps us move, make breakfast, choose our undies, let’s us walk and talk and run and eat (and shag). It remembers our friends names, stores our most treasured memories and enables us to work and schedule and plan and hope (and shag). It even gets us through the night, entertaining us with movies and song and dance (and shags to help us nod off in the first place). When we get in trouble it even steps in to protect us, blocking out painful memories with smoke and mirror and repression. Sure this doesn’t always last forever, even the tiniest reference or conversation or smell (or shag) can bring things flooding back. You can’t blame it though, it has a lot to do and nobody – or thing – is perfect.

But what happens when it does go wrong?

If any other organ or body part fails…heart, lungs, legs, arms, eyes, ears, penis, feet, toes, kidney, pancreas, spleen, ovaries, fingers, epidermis…we notice, people can see, people believe.

Yet our brain?

When it goes wrong we can’t see it, no-one can, so it’s harder to believe something is wrong.

In the eyes of many, Mental Illness becomes nothing more than a figment of the imagination.

So where in this big ole jigsaw puzzle of the last couple of years are we, it’s been a random few days of blindingly confused thoughts and mood shifts so I need to remind even myself where I’m up to.

Following the events of Alice and the collapse of my life (again)…
Following the unsuccessful attempts to rebuild in Inverness…
Following the suicide of Stephanie…
Following the appearance of the mysterious {screwyou@}…
Following the increasing isolation I was experiencing…
Following the resurgence of self harm and suicidal thoughts…

It doesn’t take a genius to know I needed to see someone!

I’d been trying to access the MH services since my arrival in Inverness, but nothing came of it until a visit to the GP where I outlined my suicide thoughts. The appointment they made was for the following morning so I spent a restless night keeping things sedated with olanzapine, Planet of the Dead, Skins and 24 and took off to the psych hospital at 8am.

One psychiatrist. One nurse. One student.

The questions flowed thick and fast from all but the student – they’re generally not allowed to talk, just sit there and observe (and occasionally look cute)

Conversation #1
(where I’m in a really bad mood and not really giving all that much information, only one word or short sentence answers, as I tend to do in a ‘low’ mood!)

When did you start feeling suicidal?
Few weeks ago
Do you have a plan?
Always
Tell me about your childhood?
Bullied, self harm, ya know
What about your relationships?
What about ’em?
You said you still love your last girlfriend?
Yes
But she…?
Yes
So why?
Because
Are you still in touch?
Yes. When she needs me.
What about when you need her?
No
Why?
(shrug)
You blame yourself?
For what?
Things that go wrong?
Yes. I have to.
Why?
That’s the only person you can blame
But you said you were emotionally abused
Yes
Wasn’t she to blame?
No.
We’ll come back to that. 2007?
What about it?
You had a breakdown, self-harmed then you had a period of euphoria. When?
June/July
Where?
Adelaide
Why?
Have you ever been to Adelaide?
No
Go, you’ll understand :)
How did it feel?
Like I was an immortal misogynistic God.
God?
Like I could do anything or have anyone I wanted for supper and then oral for dessert
Oral?
Sex. I like the taste…and the smell.
Oh.
Oh indeed.
So you had an increase in sexual appetite?
Yes
Did you think about protection?
Sex isn’t purely about penetration
How long did this period last for?
A few weeks
Do you remember it all?
No, just fragments
What about your friends, couldn’t they fill in the blanks?
My friend at the time never saw me. No-one I knew did.
And you came down naturally?
No
Triggered? What was it?
Next question
Triggers are important.
I know they are, I wrote an article on them once. I don’t want to talk about it.
Anything you say is confidential.
Well after I came down I hit a deep depression and then tried to hang myself.
Hang yourself?
In October 2007
Is that the plan now?
Seems as good a way as any
Do you often feel like this?
Mostly, don’t have much I like about life
What do you like about life?
(shrugs)

…and etc and onwards and blah blah blah.

Been there before, will no doubt be there again. They sent me off after alternating my medication (this was when I started the AM/PM olanzapine dosages) and I spent the rest of the morning sitting on Craig Phadrig before heading home to think about the second meeting they had arranged for me – and to divulge myself once again in the rather obvious mystery of “He will knock four times” which I’d kindof already figured out but it’s still a wonderful scene, and hey, Michelle Ryan is kinda hot :p

The second meeting went along much the same lines. Only one person this time, one of the ones who had been in the room the day before. It was in another location, on the other side of town.

The only difference was my mood had swung a little and I was more vocal, uncontrolled in my emotions, somewhat angrier and more inclined to give detail and ramble on tangents I don’t really believe 100% as I do when I go a bit hyper. It’s because my in-built guards are down and I’m not bothered about what I’m saying or what people think of me. Inhibitions, that’s the word I was looking for. They dissipate when I go “up” in my moods…

Conversation #2
(some of the answers I’ll give as links as they’re things I’ve covered previously – plus this is an edited account, a couple of things we talked about are not for public digestion)

So, about your childhood. What stands out the most?
The bullying mainly. Mostly verbal, sometimes physical. I mean c’mon, I was an overweight kid who looked 9 months pregnant, glasses, Scottish accent – at an age when it wasn’t sexy! One time I was thrown up against a wall and kneed in the bollocks for no reason. One time I remember I was called to the front of French class to say something or other and as I was getting up two girls decided to hook something onto my belt and yank my trousers down. That wasn’t embarrassing in the slightest. Then all the name calling and verbal insults, they always hurt the worst. Oh, and Natalie, I remember.
Who was Natalie?
Two people. Well, not really. Well, what I mean is she wasn’t one Natalie with a split personality, but two Natalie’s with the same spelling. One Natalie, we’ll call her Natalie, had problems, the other we’ll call Nats and as far as I know she didn’t have problems, just a really excellent bottom and a slayer smile. It would have been much easier if they’d had different spellings, but that’s the way of the world.
Natalie, what sort of issues?
Anorexia, OCD, it started when she was young
How young?
About 9
That is young
That’s what I said, she was young
How did it affect you?
Hard. I was overweight, as I said, and as I remember it she had it in her mind she could “catch” it from me so we couldn’t touch, be in the same room, speak…it was hard.
And the other Natalie?
She was someone at school
With an excellent bottom?
And a slayer smile…hey, I was a guy even then :) She was the most beautiful girl in school and I had it for her bad. I wanted to talk to her so much, but, I was shy, painfully so, didn’t know how and the bullying all the time. It got impossible to talk to people…which is when I started self-harming, which turned to depression, which turned to social anxiety. I really want to talk to people but I just find it so hard.
Ok. After school, did you go to Uni?
I did not. I probably could have got in somewhere but the self-harm and all, kinda screwed up my GCSEs and I fucked over my A-levels so…I dunno…I kinda knew what I wanted to do but didn’t have the confidence to pursue it because of…well, it’s as if the bullying put me off education. Does that make sense?
You equated education with bullying?
Yes. It took me ages to get the confidence to go to college in Inverness – and then again in Melbourne, the demons were still there both times.
So what happened in Melbourne?
I tried really hard, really fracking hard, ya know. It had been a rough year in 06…
That was the year you and Lucy broke up?
…yes. We tried to make it work but, we couldn’t. It was painful, affected me badly.
Which was partly behind your suicide attempt that year?
Yes, in March, pulled me back into a deep depression and re-ignited self-harm urges. Everything got too much. Anyway. I worked really hard that year to get over everything, get it all sorted and under control. You know what they say, friends are the best medicine and I had friends, had a new relationship, I felt better than ever by the end of the year.
How so?
My confidence, self esteem, belief in what I could do. Everything. I got glandular fever then, which really fucked me up, but i tried to give it my all – all I could anyway.
That can be a rough illness, I had it once. The PFVS got to me quite badly?
Absolutely! Screwed me around that did as well. But hey, for the first time in ages I didn’t feel depressed. I was happy with where I was, where I was going and what was happening. I had a five year plan for the first time in, well, ever.
And then?
CLL, dumped by text, really screwed me up and I had all these assignments, worked my arse off but…
…you lost college, I remember you saying that yesterday.
It was really hard going back, but I had to, stepping stone to uni and all. I’ve never understood what the frack happened that year.
Did she tell you why she ended it?
Not really. The only straight answer to the question as I remember was in April.
That would have given you some form of closure at least…
…if you can call the answer “I don’t know, I didn’t want to, why are you shouting at me?” a solid answer to the question ‘why did you break up with me’ yeah. But I don’t. That to me is bullshit. Sorry, language.
And then the abuse started?
It had always been there in some way or another, when we were together I was more willing to push it aside or let it go…but it went to a whole new level after she broke up with me. I dunno, the way she acted sometimes was as if I’d broken up with her, she just didn’t seem to understand things from my point of view. It fucked me up.
That’s a common issue with people who fall into abuse, not being able to see things from other perspectives than their own.
Yeah, I wrote some articles on it once, did some research.
Did that help?
No. Nothing I’ve done has helped with that.
Your history with bullying wouldn’t have helped either.
Nope. To be told every day that whatever you do, say, think or feel is wrong…fucks you up. I’m sorry about the language by the way.
That’s ok. I want to skip on for a moment, your next relationship was with…(checks notes)
Yes. That was a hard one to get into. I was attracted to her from the word go but, well, trust isn’t exactly my strong suit – especially with my history. Self confidence was shot to fuck, trying to rebuild my life, but I definitely wanted her.
You liked her?
Hell yeah. I was trying so hard to get my life back on track. I wanted to feel good again, especially with my 30th coming up.
Did you have trouble trusting her after the abuse?
Yes. It was hard but I didn’t let it be an issue, not openly because I knew it was my issue and not hers. I didn’t think…well, maybe a little.
Did she ever give you a reason not to trust her?
A few times.
Did she…?
Yes.
How did that feel?
My first girlfriend cheated on me whilst I was sacrificing everything in my UK life to move to the other side of the world for her and then directly lied to my face about it whilst expecting me to sacrifice friends for her. My second girlfriend lied to me and then emotionally abused me after instigating a situation which shouldn’t have happened had she had the ability of empathy which set about the destruction of my life and then spent months attacking me for not caring about her and her feelings. How do you think it felt?
(breath)
Sorry. I didn’t mean to get angry, moods a bit, and this is a whole sore point for me. It’s just, I know I made mistakes, we all do, we’re all human, but sometimes I wanna know what I did that was SO wrong, ya know? It just feels that they were all ‘take’ relationships, that’s how it feels, anyway.
What do you mean?
Lucy, she had a four year visa for the UK, stayed for just over half that time. She could’ve worked there for another year and then we could have gone to Australia together, gone to Europe together. I understand why she wanted to go but…sometimes it’s like, was she expecting me to go to Australia? Did she even want me to? And then there was…which opened up a whole barrel of bilbys. Then Kathy, when she had glandular fever I was there for her, always, whenever I could cause I wanted to help her get better, not feel so shit. Then when I have it? I’m not being nasty here but she did fuck all, actually pushed me harder than when I didn’t have it. Then it’s like she knew I had glandular fever…knew about the assignments…what was she seriously expecting to happen when she dumped me like that? Happy bunny feelings and nothing go wrong. You can’t dump someone by text message when they have an illness like that and expect things to end well.
Do you think she did it deliberately?
Sometimes, yes, she’s a smart girl, one of the smartest I’ve ever known…but I’ve never thought her as malicious. Then Diane. She had problems, depression and etc and sometimes I was there for her 24-7; leaving work, having to make up hours, calling in sick, putting her above me and friends whenever she needed me. Full time job, full time carer, mental illness. It was bloody hard. Then when I got down or self harmed or whatever…she was never there for me, then Christmas. I dunno. It just feels that it was always about them and to me a relationship should be two way – give and take for both people. I gave whatever I could but it just feels that emotionally and supportively they gave nothing back. Ya know? I’m venting, sorry.
That’s ok. Let’s move away from the relationships for a bit. After college?
I had my nervous breakdown
And then mania?
A few months later in Adelaide
And your hallucinations?
My imaginary friend? Well, enemy. Well, complete bitch…jeez, I only just got it, that’s funny.
What is?
Nothing, sorry, personal joke.
OK. Then your suicide attempt?
Indeed. Fun day. Barrel of wacky entertainment.
You’ve been through a lot.
Thank you. You don’t know the half of it!
Let’s talk about “now” for a while. You’re living in Kingsmills.
Up near the gold course
What’s it like?
It’s a room in a house, a rooming house. Well, a nursery. Well, a kindergarten. Converted kindergarten.
Bathroom?
Two showers, two toilets, sixteen people, can be hard.
Kitchen?
One. Small. Not much space.
Entertainment?
No TV, lounge, nothing. Just me…in the bedroom…alone…with an empty bed. I have a computer but no internet, tried a wireless drongo thing but no signal in the house.
So what do you do?
Nothing really, watch stuff on the computer, the odd DVD if the drive decides to work. Sit. Stare. Self harm. Don’t have much money so can’t go anywhere. No friends, no social life.
And with no money…
…it’s impossible to do anything. Plus the trust and social anxiety issues makes it impossible anyway. The only people I talk to are my parents…and Diane, when she needs me.
You must be lonely.
That is the understatement of the year.
When was the last time you saw a friend, not family, face to face?
February – just over three months ago
You mentioned Stephanie yesterday?
Yep. Steph. She was cool.
Do you blame yourself?
Yes
It wasn’t your fault, you did your best.
In ’07 I was blamed for everything. To put in perspective how much she blamed me for – the September 11 terrorist attacks, if she could have pinned me in New York that day, I would have been responsible – tell someone something enough, they’ll believe it. If I’m to blame for everything in my life and everyone elses then I’m also responsible for everything, and everyone.
It appears to me the emotional abuse has affected your self-esteem quite badly.
Second understatement of the year :)
So what about you?
What about me?
Who looks after you, other than family?
Me
No-one else?
Not now.
And if you’re trying to look out for everyone else when do you find time for you?
They take priority. Kathy used to tell me that I didn’t do enough to care about her, or anyone back then, and that I deserved to lose everything because of it. I did, lose everything. If I try harder with others maybe things will be karmically resolved.
Even at the expense of yourself? Your health, happiness?
If I’d done more for people then, as she said, I wouldn’t have lost everything. I’m not important.

Do you think she was right?
She was about everything else.
Emotional abuse can leave bad scars, inside. Do you really believe she was right?
Tell someone something enough they’ll believe it to be true. Criticise, tell them they’re useless and worthless and a bad friend and a waste of space, pour water over their head in a restaurant for stating an opinion – which is gonna make stating an opinion in the future difficult – keep this going for months…what do you think’s gonna happen. It’s had me questioning the essence of “me” for years.
We need to work on that.
Be my guest :)
Guilt is a funny thing, sometimes we blame ourselves – punish ourselves even – for things we have no say in. No control over.
And other times, like Steph…Rachel…and…
And…?
…(pause)…sometimes we blame ourselves for things because we screwed up. Period. It was our fault. Therefore the blame is ours, the guilt is ours, and we should have the strength to admit that to ourselves instead of endlessly blaming others.
And…?
That’s it. We screw up.
I get the impression there’s something else, is this what we mentioned earlier?

(later in the conversation)

Ok. We’ll need to talk more about that but we’re out of time for today.
Ok
Before you go, I’d like you to have a look at this. It was something that came to me yesterday…and I wanted your thoughts.
Ok

She went over to a file and produced a piece of paper, which I had – for a brief moment – hoped contained some mystical spell/incantation which would magically cure my ailing mind – but alas – it was just something that made things even more complicated!

Cool, just what I need right about now! :)


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Emotional Abuse Part IV: Related Links

It’s not that I’m obsessed or anything, but I’m really struggling to overcome the emotional abuse I suffered so have been spending as much time as I can afford trying to find new information and coping strategies to recover.

So here are some excellent sites/blogs I have discovered regarding emotional and/or other abuse.

Sanctuary for the Abused
A blog containing articles, links and support for survivors of verbal, emotional, online and psychological abuse. LOTS of information here I’ve only touched the surface of what they have to offer, but so far it is excellent, and come highly recommended.

Abused No More
Emotional abuse recovery Coach Annie Kaszina enables women to understand and heal swiftly from the trauma of an abusive relationship.

And a couple more articles:

From the Abuser’s Point of View
An interesting insight of abuse as told from what the abuser may be feeling. Once again, the abuser is painted as a man; although in a lot of cases the abuser is male, it would be nice to occasionally find a sight which discusses the man as “victim” rather than “perpetrator”.

Eight Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator
Another great article on eight ways in which someone will act if they are emotionally abusive or have the potential to be emotionally abusive.

Effects of Emotional Abuse
A nice article on what the longer term effects of emotional abuse could be if not dealt with in any way.

And with that I think I’ll leave my emotional abuse series for a while. It’s opened up a lot of scars I had forgotten about and I need to work on finding ways to overcome these issues, but with everything will keep you posted on my progress/lack of progress.


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The let’s answer people’s "google searches" post!

My minds racing at a thousand miles so many thoughts, feelings, emotions, rational thoughts, irrational thoughts, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and they’re driving me insane not even slowly insane fast fast faster than the speeding colour red insane that I need to do something pointless and rather weird to try and take my mind of the suicidal urges I’m feeling.

So here we have it folks, the let’s answer people’s google searches post!

It amazes me sometimes what brings people to my site. The things people write into google which brings them into my merry world: denise welch drinking again alcohol that’s a good one, but the best, the absolute best which had me merrily laughing and giggling away, “emily lloyd” wanking…who would have thought that would bring someone to my site? Bet they were disappointed!

Anyhow…some searches are actually pretty cool, gets me thinking, so here we go, hold onto your hats and lets see what we can find out.

1) “Movie TV Show Self Injury”
This one got me thinking. I can think of only one example of each: Takin’ Over the Asylum on TV and Secretary at the movies. So I flung myself into research mode and tried to find a few more…Girl Interrupted, Thirteen, 28 Days, Seventh Heaven (TV Show), Strong Heaven (TV Show)…and that’s the best I could come up with, which is pretty pathetic, but then I’m in that sort of mood…anyone know any others?

2) “Songs about depression and self harm”
This is a good one. So many songs are about love and lost love and happy bouncy pop numbers by ridiculously under-dressed pre-pubescent starlets gyrating around as if they know everything about sexy sensual antics it’s ridiculous. What about songs about depression and self harm, where are all they, eh? How about these?
[RED ones are self-harm, BLUE ones are depression]
Underlying Depression – Van Morrison
Black and BlueCounting Crows
Manic Depression – Jimi Hendrix
SmokeNatalie Imbruglia
Terminal Spirit Disease – At the Gates
If You Can’t Leave it Be, Might as Well Make it BleedDashboard Confessional
I Won’t Stay Long – Sixpence None the Richer
My Heart Is The Worst Kind Of WeaponFall Out Boy
When Silence Cries – Trail of Tears
Judge Yr’selfManic Street Preachers
Only Happy When it Rains – Garbage
Not an AddictK’s Choice
Put on Your Old Brown Shoes – Supertramp
Roses in the Hospital – Manic Street Preachers

3) “Overcoming emotional abuse in friendship”
An excellent point. In my posts covering emotional abuse I talked specifically about emotional abuse occurring in a sexual relationship, however emotional abuse can occur in any form of relationship. It could be teacher/student, parent/child, friend/friend, boss/employee even student/teacher or child/parent is possible. Overcoming emotional abuse in any form is an incredibly difficult thing to do, as even if you talk to the abuser and try and get s/he to realise that what they are doing is having a detrimental affect on you and your self esteem, they will often deny what is happening is their fault, they will in fact deny the abuse is occurring.

Something you can do is talk to a trusted friend and tell them what is happening and how it is making you feel. You could also try and convince the abuser that they require “help” to overcome whatever issue is causing them to be emotionally abusive, but this is dangerous, as it could lead to further abuse or an escalation into physical or sexual abuse.

Overcoming emotional abuse is a very tricky and difficult thing to do. Ultimately, you may have to sever the friendship/relationship with that person if you feel nothing is ever going to change. This will hurt more than you can know, but if it is the only way to stop the abuse, it may be the only option.

I’m not sure if that’s been of any help to anyone, including myself. I’m just in a really bad way today and trying to occupy my mind. It’s not really working so we’ll call an end to this post and see what happens.


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Emotional Abuse Part III: Further Reading and Support

In part I; I looked at what emotional abuse consists of…
In part II; I looked into my own experiences as the victim of emotional abuse…

There are a lot of people out there who are either in, or think they are in an abusive relationship. It took me months and several hours spent in the Adelaide public library to work out that I had been the victim of emotional abuse.

Collected here are some resources and articles which you could use to better understand your situation and ways you can deal with it.

(A lot of these articles have been written from the POV of abusive man/victimised woman which I find a little frustrating, as more needs to be done to bring the “abused man” into the spotlight – but if you are an emotionally abused man just swap the s/he’s around and you’ll be fine)

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Articles of Interest…

Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak Out: On Relationship and Recovery
By Patricia Evans
An article which summarises a book on emotional abuse, very informative with insight from victims of abuse.

Emotional Abusers
By Natalie P.
An excellent “rant” on emotional abuse that made me laugh, made me angry and made me cry. It was like reading about my previous relationship (if you swap the he’s and the she’s!)

The Guilt of the Abused
By Sam Vaknin
An article about the how the abused often feel guilty or blame themselves for what is being done to them.

Emotional Abuse
By Steve Hein
An excellent resource of emotional abuse information, written predominantly from the perspective of abused teenagers/children from their parents but the information is equally relevant for the abuse in adult sexual/friend/work relationships.

Verbal Abuse
By Kerby Anderson
An article which includes a religious/biblical reflection on emotional abuse.

Responding to Emotional Abuse: How you can help someone you know
Includes some excellent information on how to help and support someone who is in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Facebook Groups…
These two Facebook groups offer information and support to victims of emotional abuse.
You will need a Facebook ID to access these groups.

STOP Emotional Abuse
Stop Psychological Abuse!!!

Recommended Reading…
Some books which deal with emotional abuse.

– Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse [Gregory L. Jantz, Ann McMurray]
– Trauma and Recovery [J L Herman]
– Emotional Abuse: The Trauma and the Treatment [Marti Tamm Loring]
– Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse the Erosion of Identity [Marie-France Hirigoyen]

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As I have mentioned in both previous parts you are not to blame for the abuse! Nothing you have done warrants such appalling, insidious and damaging treatment.


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Emotional Abuse – Part II: The Effects of Emotional Abuse

The above diagram illustrates the cycle most abusive relationships rotate through.

My Abusive Relationship

Anyone who has visited my Facebook page will see that my relationship status is listed as “it’s complicated…”; I cannot be with another person until I have healed the scars from my previous relationship.

The reason I am finding it so hard to heal those scars is simple; I still love her. I know this is irrational…but that’s what depression is. A cavalcade of irrational statements being flung at you by your own mind. You know it is wrong, you know it is unhealthy, you know you shouldn’t feel that way…but love is just as irrational as depression. Combine the irrationality of love, depression and an abusive relationship and what do you get: utter brain shutdown.

It’s so hard for me to write about my abusive relationship because of this love. A huge part of me despises this person for what she did to me earlier this year, a huge part of me blames her for what has happened.

Which isn’t to say I don’t also blame myself; I do. I made mistakes, I did many things wrong.

We all do.
We are all human.

But the thing is, and the thing which finally made me realise that I was in an abusive relationship was that she never, not once, admitted to doing anything wrong. Everything was my fault. Everything was always my fault. Even if it had absolutely nothing to do with me, she found a way to blame me for how she was feeling – even after she broke up with me, everything was still my fault.

What finally made me realise I was the victim of abuse, after research, were:
1) Everything on the lists in “Part I” she did at some point inflict on me.
2) That my feelings or needs were never of any importance to her.
when I asked for things they were often made light of or completely discarded out of hand as being not what she wanted. Whilst suffering from glandular fever I was not making enough effort in the relationship or in my personal life, despite the fact I could have died if I pushed myself too hard. When I was diagnosed with CLL, as mentioned in previous posts, she did not seem to care in any way what my problems were – focussed instead on only hers.
3) That no matter what I did, said or thought – it was never good enough for her.
I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter what I did. No matter what I said. No matter what I thought. Nothing was ever good enough for her. I have so many examples of my words and actions never being good enough for her we would be here til Doomsday if I were to list them all! The final straw, and what made me finally realise I could not have anything to do with her was when she attacked me for doing two things – one of which she had categorically asked me to do – the other being something she had implied she wanted.

Being a victim in an emotionally abusive relationship is painful, it has long reaching devastating consequences in all areas of your life. The affects of the emotionally abusive relationship in my life are clear to anyone who has read this blog.

So we’re back to the whole irrationality of life, love and depression. She abused me, frequently, I know that, I don’t however know if she knows this. Do abusers ever know what they are doing? Or have they excused their behaviour to themselves as being something the victim has bought on themselves?

I even know why she was abusive toward me, I know why she was eliciting control and the excuse she gave for it.

It is an excuse so many people give in her situation: they hide it behind the pretence of changing you. That what they are doing they are doing for your own good; not realising they are actually doing the complete opposite.

I also have an idea as to who she was trying to change me into, and therefore have a much clearer idea of why she needed to illicit control over me. Which is something most people who are victims of emotional abuse do not ever understand, so at least in this case this is a positive.

This understanding however has not made it any easier to overcome the scars and hurt she has torn into my soul; I honestly don’t think I will ever get over them.

I still love her, I have never lied about that at any point in time. I think I always will love her.

Why am I writing this?

There is a method of treatment for mental health problems called cognitive behavioural therapy. CBT is a psychotherapy based on modifying the assumptions, beliefs and behaviours of a person. In the simplest possible terms, it is all about positive thinking. If you do something wrong, instead of reinforcing the belief that you are a “terrible person” and a “complete failure”, CBT works to modify the way you think so that instead of the negative statements you’re saying to yourself, you instead reaffirm yourself with positive statements. You can read more about CBT at this Wikepeida entry.

The emotionally abusive relationship I experienced, in essence, was CBT in reverse.

If you are telling yourself, and are being told, that you are strong, smart, a good person, courageous then you will eventually believe that you are (CBT at work people!)

If, however, you are telling yourself, and are being told, that you are weak, useless, pathetic, insignificant, never thinking of others, selfish then you will eventually believe that you are (reverse CBT at work people!)

No amount of pretending will make you believe you are a good person if all someone is telling you is the exact opposite. Especially if you have more than one person saying those things to you.

I think emotional abuse is something the world needs to become more aware of. Everyone in relationships make mistakes, argue, bicker, annoy, upset and hurt the other person. It is how these issues are handled and overcome that defines the emotional connection the two of you share. There is a difference between constructive criticism and abusive criticism, there is a difference between a constructive conversation and an abusive one.

No-one – ever, period – deserves to be the victim of abuse in any form.

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Endnote:

I have written these two posts in an effort to bring emotional abuse into the spotlight.

I am aware of the mistakes I made in my relationship and am not excusing them in any way.

Whilst in the relationship I never thought what was happening to me was abuse, it was only after (specifically the months following the break-up) that I realised I was not (nor had been) treated well in any respect. It was only through research that I started to make the connection with emotional abuse.

If you feel that you are the victim of abuse please talk to someone, anyone. You do not have to deal with it yourself, and you should never feel that you are alone. In hindsight, this is what I should have done.