Joking or Emotional Abuse
We all know how it feels to be physically abused. But emotional abuse is something that has just shed light on me in the last year of being married. It started when a friend was talking about her step-mother being emotionally abusive to her father and how it was terrible for her and her family. I asked her what things did she do.. she went on to describe the things she did and I laughed and said “that’s everything I do and that’s totally my childhood of my family and other families I knew!” She didn’t seem to find it as funny as I did. I guess what was normal to me wasn’t so normal to somebody else. We ended that conversation awkwardly but it left me with the desire to further understand what emotional abuse was.
Emotional abuse is a more difficult to recognize and can go by unnoticed in a relationship for a very long time. Growing up in a polynesian community it is renowned fact that men are generally speaking the physical abusers. But thinking about the emotional abuse, I grew up seeing this mainly in the women in my family and community. Emotional abuse doesn’t just happen in couples in can happen in friendships between parent and child or with relatives.
Emotional abuse is when there is a regular occurrence of bullying, criticism, shaming, manipulation, verbal abuse etc. Growing up mocking and putting down was a tactic to motivate someone to do better, and just for entertainment. We use to just keep mocking until that person cried and that was usually the goal and it would be jackpot if they ended up crying. It was completely normal although many times we were really hurt inside but couldn’t show that we hurt otherwise we would be mocked even more. Mocking can be disguised as fun and jokes but usually are very personal and offend one to the point that it seeps into their subconscious.
For me I did notice that I was hurting my husband but I just kept telling him he needed to toughen up and man up to not take my mocks to heart. Or that he was just being too sensitive. What I didn’t realize is that It really did hurt him personally, and it made him feel less and insignificant and that is what mattered not what I thought but how he took it. It took me a while but I really didn’t learn and see examples of healthy communication around me that was the only form of communication I had learnt so I had to pick up on some healthy habits quickly.
Break the Cycle
While mocking take a moment to think are you trying to gain power over somebody. This is a key factor to bulling or being emotional abuse you want to be in power you want to have control over somebody. A person who does this can have many reasons to why they do this. They may have been mocked or abused as a child and are hurting and the way they cope with it is by trying to hurt other people verbally. Whatever the case be, see that person for more than their actions. There are usually deeper issues that lie beneath. I know that this was the case for me. Support them and show them love so they can learn from good examples. If necessary offer support and help or kindly refer them to a professional of some sort to work out through these issues.
Jokes are fun but when they go beyond the point of fun and are mean then we got to take a couple of steps back!
Would love your feedback and comments about this. Let me know what you think. If you or somebody you know is going through something like this I would love to talk about or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be Amazing!!! xo Tracy