© 2013 Rhonda Freeman, PhD| All Rights Reserved
Abuse and love are combinations you’ll never find in healthy relationships. You know this, however if your partner was a narcissist or psychopath, they likely tried to make you feel at fault for not accepting their treatment as normal.
Their gaslighting, manipulation, taunting, secrecy, lying, cheating, selfishness, were realities they twisted into ‘your problem or your hypersensitivity.’
But, the fact is, if someone has the capacity of deep bonding (the foundation of love) they would never try to convince you to accept abuse. There would never be abuse.
The impact this type of relationship has on the mind is profound. You love someone who tells you they love you, yet their behavior has you feeling tense, anxious, paranoid, self-conscious, insecure, and doubtful. Little by little you lose yourself and function from a place of survival. This is not love. No matter how much they attempt to convince you this is a ‘different’ kind of love (e.g., “It’s the way I show love.”)
No, no, no. Love does not send the brain into a negatively stressed state coupled with pain. Love is safe, a place of comfort, and initiates an entirely different set of chemistry from the brain in comparison to abuse. One set of chemistry is healing, while the other set is damaging over time.
But he didn’t hit me? | She didn’t strike me?
Abuse comes in many forms, physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological. All have a negative impact on the brain. After gaining your trust and love, abusers tend to morph within their relationships and display patterns of control, disrespect, and danger toward their mates.
Even if there is no physical harm toward their spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend, these relationships can cause tremendous damage.
Psychological trauma is often more difficult
to overcome than physical trauma.
Because psychological trauma has the potential to leave scars that can change the way a person approaches life. It can change their personality, their decisions, the way they view themselves, and how they feel about letting anyone else come close to them emotionally. Trauma and abuse can impact how an individual interacts in the world and filters all future relationships.
Psychological trauma can shake your confidence to the core, causing you to feel ‘less than’ or inferior. It can change a person’s perception of their self-worth and lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. In its most extreme forms, depression can potentially be an imminent risk to a person’s life (i.e., suicide).
Psychological trauma should be taken very seriously and should never be minimized. Therefore, it’s important to understand that if you’re attempting to look at the bright side with statements such as, “Well, at least he doesn’t hit me,” please be aware that it does not make the harm of a narcissist or psychopath less damaging.
Of course the absence of physical abuse takes the risk of broken bones and visible bruises off the table. However, emotional trauma through demonstrations of callousness, manipulation, planned aggression, gas-lighting, coldness, deceit, betrayal, lack of caring, and low empathy has a significant impact on the brain that can be felt life long.
Abuse, regardless of the form, can lead to a trauma response (e.g., anxiety, depression, PTSD), even for adults. Given that psychological changes are often neurologically based, there are usually parallel changes taking place within the body that can lead to major health problems. Such changes can include conditions like chronic pain disorders, joint disorders, cardiac problems, and autoimmune disease (Humphreys, Cooper, Miaskowski, 2010).
Falling in love with an individual with controlling, callous, and aggressive character traits nearly always results in pain to the healthy partner. The severe shifts in emotional states and behavior from the abusive individual can be confusing and cause psychological harm to their unsuspecting victim.
Take care of yourself.
All the best,
Rhonda Freeman, PhD | Neuroinstincts
• Want the basics of psychopathy? You might find this article helpful Go
© 2013 NeuroInstincts | All Rights Reserved
Humphreys, J., Cooper, B., Miaskowski C. (2010). Differences in depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and lifetime trauma exposure in formerly abused women with mild versus moderate to severe chronic pain. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 2010 Dec;25(12):2316-38.
Flower Image Credit: @ iStock Images
Other Images: Presentermedia