Dealing with emotional and psychological abuse

I discovered that emotional abuse came from several directions.  It came from my first husband who, for years, told me that I was not clever, no use at ironing his shirts, not like his mother, not good enough to be part of his family….. and so on, and on he went.

It also came from my parents who encouraged me to stay with my first husband even though I was plainly unhappy and the marriage wasn’t working. I was told that I was far too young to know my own mind and that divorce was out of the question.

My parents-in-law agreed with my husband that I wasn’t good enough for their family and therefore I should learn how to be a good wife and do everything that I was told to do by my husband.

I dealt with this in the only way that I knew how at the time. I kept my head down, did as I was told and just plodded on through life.  I was unhappy and I couldn’t see any end to the misery that I was enduring.

 

I did, however, find a way out in the end. I was more and more unhappy, the marriage was just not working. My husband was diagnosed as being schizophrenic but he would not accept this.  He refused to be treated in any way and accused me of being the instigator of his supposed illness.  He was unreasonable and unpredictable and became obsessed with the idea that I was having an affair and would tell me that because I had taken five minutes longer to do the shopping than he expected I must have been meeting a man.  This was plainly ridiculous as I had three small children and the shopping to carry. I had neither the time, the energy or the inclination to do so.

This emotional and psychological abuse went on for 10 years.  In the end something clicked in my head and I couldn’t take it any longer.  I realised that this was not normal.  I had assumed that every marriage was like this.  I was wrong.

tiredwoman

I plucked up the courage to consult a solicitor who, after hearing my story, agreed that this was not normal and that I had grounds for a divorce.  I filed for divorce and it took nearly 2 years to go through as it was contested.  We all lived in the same house, but separately for that time.  After 2 years I was granted divorce and I took the children and left.  I received enough money to buy a small flat where we could live in another town twenty miles away.  A new start, in a new town, with a new flat and no emotional abuse day after day.

The feeling of relief was immense, though it took some months before stopped being overwhelmed by it all.

I am now a much different person and I won’t tolerate emotional abuse from anyone, not from my children, my parents, friends – whoever.  My husband now of 31 years would never emotionally abuse anyone and I am so very happy now.

Looking back I do realise that I allowed this to happen to me.  At the time I didn’t realise it, but now I understand. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

20 ways to increase your confidence after divorce

So to deal with emotional abuse can be difficult and it can become impossible. If it becomes impossible for you then you have to choose whether you deserve better or not – I think you do.

So what can you do to get out of this place where you are emotionally abused?

  • Get some help from a qualified coach or therapist – make sure it is someone who understands what you   are experiencing and can relate to what you are telling them so you can begin your healing process.
    •Look online for some blogs that refer to what you are going through. Read them, make comments on them.  Open up a dialogue to help you get some answers.
    •Buy a self-help book and take some action to change the way you think about yourself.
    •Make the decision to not be emotionally abused any longer.

Get in touch today to find out how my inspirational coaching can transform first you – and then your life

Maggie Currie

Thought Leader, Coach, Speaker, Author, Survivor
 
Contributor to BBC Radio, Vectis Radio, Susan Rich Radio
Published author and regularly write articles for national and international magazines.
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Find out more about me and my ‘Why’ on my website 

 

Do you have relationship anxiety?

Relationship anxiety is very destructive, as you know. If you don’t learn how to get rid of anxiety in your relationship, it leads into a very devastating downward spiral:

One of the first things you will notice is that you become suspicious – you begin worrying about your partner not loving you, or not caring as much as you do. Thoughts of them being unfaithful. Many more self-destructive thoughts and emotions. And of course, all of these will fuel your relationship anxiety.

In order to learn how to get rid of anxiety in your relationship, think about what you can do:

Ask your partner for reassurance. When you find yourself becoming suspicious in your relationship, try to remember that it is probably being fueled by your anxiety. You may be able to get some relief from your relationship anxiety by asking your partner for occasional reassurance. They will be happy to give this if they are patient and understanding of your anxiety.

This kind of support may well be very helpful to you. Ask a trusted friend who is prepared to give you an honest answer if there might be some real reason for you to feel this way. But even when you get that real information, it may not help alleviate your relationship anxiety. You will have to work on that yourself. Perhaps your worry is that you feel that you are too “needy” in your relationship.

For instance, do you need constant reassurance and want your partner to regularly prove that things are really okay? This will inevitably put pressure on you and your partner and will add to the relationship anxiety.

A grateful attitude helps in times of extreme stress
I got married when I was 19 years old and discovered after about six months that I had made a terrible mistake. I was under a lot of pressure from my parents to stay in the marriage as it was not ‘the done thing’ to separate or divorce. In their opinion, I was far too young to know what I was doing. I believed them as I knew nothing different and so I tried to make the marriage work.

Inevitably the pressure of trying to make it work instead of figuring out how to get rid of anxiety in my relationship made me very unhappy and anxious indeed. I stuck at it until I couldn’t take it any longer and I made the decision to leave, take the children, and strike out on my own. That was the right decision for me, and the anxiety was lifted almost as if a huge weight had been taken off my shoulders.

If any of this is resonating with you, then you will need to find ways to cope with your anxiety and learn to rely more on yourself for feeling better – taking the pressure off your partner. This will allow you to become more self-sufficient, even in your anxiety. Give yourself permission to reassure yourself instead of turning to your partner for comfort each time you are anxious. Find ways to learn to think more positively. Try being grateful for what you have.

When you are anxious you can create all kinds of ideas in your imagination that appear so intolerable that you feel compelled to take impulsive and totally misguided actions. You will find yourself:

  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Making decisions that are destined to fail
  • Behaving in a totally childish manner, sulking and demanding attention.
Look for solutions that will relieve your relationship anxiety and won’t result in increasing your problems further. 

When you are anxious your partner will be anxious too. It becomes a vicious circle and the anxiety is fed constantly.
concept

Learning to trust your intuition is an important part of reducing your anxiety. So, slow down, think through anything you are considering doing and follow your intuition. Make the effort to stop listening to that nagging voice that is telling you something is wrong. It is very likely when you slow down and think rationally that you will find a much better solution for you and your relationship. In this way, you can successfully get rid of anxiety in your relationship.

Maggie Currie

Thought Leader, Speaker, Author, Survivor
 
Contributor to BBC Radio, Vectis Radio, Susan Rich Radio
Published author and regularly write articles for national and international magazines.
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Find out more about me and my ‘Why’ on my website 

Why do people stay in abusive relationships?

There are many, many reasons why women and men don’t leave an abusive relationship.  Often it is because they don’t realise that they are being abused.  They think it is normal.  I know from experience that I believed the emotional, psychological and financial abuse I suffered was normal.  I thought everyone’s relationship worked in this way.  It wasn’t until I literally woke up one day and thought ‘this is n’t normal’ and started really looking at other people’s relationships that I realised I was in an abusive relationship.

I went and consulted a solicitor who agreed that not only was this an abusive relationship but I had grounds for divorce.  Unreasonable behaviour. And so I took my courage in both hands and filed for divorce.

What is an abusive relationship?

One where you are treated in one or more of these ways:

Manipulated – Have their will imposed on you so you do as they say without realising it

Controlled – told what to wear, what to do, where to go, where you can and can’t work, who you can and can’t speak to

Insulted – in private and/or in public

Treated as a possession

Told that everything is your fault

Deprived of money – only allowed so much a day not allowed your own income

Deprived of friends – not allowed to have friends

Only allowed a mobile phone as long as you only call the abuser and they control the bill

Psychologically mistreated – made to feel worthless

Emotionally mistreated – constantly told you are useless and nobody wants you

Physically – beaten, burned, tortured

Sexually – raped, made to perform acts you don’t want to, made to be part of a threesome

Verbally – shouted at, berated in front of other people, made to feel small and inadequate

Held prisoner/locked up

Made to have meals on the table at specific times and threatened with various consequences if they don’t appear on time.

Interestingly in 1995 a national survey showed that just under 50% of abusers are in fact female.

I believe that most of the reasons that people don’t leave abusive relationships, once they realise what it is, stem from fear.

Most of the fears are understandable, but often irrational.  For instance, fear of having no money if they leave.  Because women are generally at home looking after the children, they don’t have any income of their own.  The fear of financial ruin builds in the mind until it becomes ‘I can’t survive if I leave’. And so they stay.

Fear of losing the children. If a man has been abused he may find it very difficult to leave with the children.

worriedman

Most of the fears are understandable, but often irrational.  For instance, fear of having no money if they leave.  It may be they don’t have any income of their own.  The fear of financial ruin builds in the mind until it becomes ‘I can’t survive if I leave’. And so they stay.

Fear of what other people might think.  There is often a social stigma that labels people as failures if they dare to leave their partners.  Usually nobody outside the home realises what is going on which adds to that stigma.  This leads to feelings of insecurity. And so they stay.

Fear of what might happen to them at the hand of their partner if they did leave.  Often people believe that their partner will come after them and kill them and/or their children. The threats are made to them over and over again, until they are ingrained in their mind.  And so they stay.

People often fear that they are the reason that they are abused.  That it is their fault. And if they were to change their ways their abusive partner would be different.  A false supposition.  And so they stay.

Of course, the abuser will tell their partner that they will change, they won’t do it again. But they do. They never change.

worried

I know how difficult it is to leave an abusive relationship.  I was verbally, emotionally and financially abused by my first husband. He would belittle me in front of the children and other people, always tell me that I knew nothing, that I was of no use and he would do anything to stop me succeeding at anything.  Add to that the fact that my parents believed that I should make the marriage work because I was too young, in their opinion, to know what I was doing, and I was financially dependent. And so I stayed.  I stayed 10 years.

I did, eventually, wake up to the fact that it was not normal to be treated in this way, and found the courage to leave and take the children with me and started a new life in a different town.  The feeling of relief was immense.  Although I was threatened with all sorts of things, such as having the children removed, losing my flat etc., I discovered that the threats were empty.  And this is probably true of most abusers.  They are cowards and when someone actually stands up to them, they generally back off.

There are ways out of this horrendous situation.  There are both men’s and women’s refuges who will help you so that you can get yourself out of the abusive home.  Once you are out and can think about what options there are for you, there are counsellors and life coaches who can help you see yourself as you, the real person, and not a punch bag.

There are various organisations who can and will help you to start your new life. Social Services and the Police will work together to ensure that you are safe and help you to move on with your life. They will give you respite and guidance in a safe environment. There are solicitors, the Samaritans, Citizens’ Advice, Relate and they can all point you in the right direction for help. Schools will have contacts if you are worried about your children. There is a whole lot that can be done for you once you are out of the abusive situation and in a safe place. There are protocols that can be introduced and put into action for you.

tiredwoman

There are trusted friends and family who may be able to help you too.

If I had known about life coaching back then I would have been first in the queue.

There is no reason good enough to actually justify staying in an abusive relationship.

It can be hard to admit that you are in an abusive relationship.  But if you think you are being abused and you are unhappy, get out of that relationship as soon as possible.  Take your courage in both hands and make the leap.  Often men find it much harder to admit to being abused than women do, but I believe they are just as justified as anyone else.  There is help out there for everyone.

Do you want to remain stuck and miserable? If your answer is no, find your way to get out and start your new life on your own terms.

Remember, the relationship has failed, not you.  You are not a failure.

If you would like to chat confidentially about your situation, contact me hello@maggiecurrie.co.uk

 

Maggie Currie

Thought Leader, Speaker, Author, Survivor
 
Contributor to BBC Radio, Vectis Radio, Susan Rich Radio
Published author and regularly write articles for national and international magazines.
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Find out more about me on my website.

 

 

Bouncing back

Life happens. It doesn’t matter how positive, balanced and centred you are, there are going to be times when you are knocked sideways. Times when your carefully organised life is turned upside down and you get knocked for six. Life happens!

You may be challenged with any number of situations that will leave you feeling like you were kicked in the stomach. It may be the loss of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of a job, bullying or the plain stupidity of some people who affect your life.

Let’s face it. Things happen. They’re part of life and although I know that “everything happens for a reason,” things still hurt. And they hurt a lot! They hurt at the very core of your being. The pain begins in your heart and radiates throughout your entire being.

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At times like these, you may feel down, possibly depressed. You may feel anger or some other manifestation of your pain. You may feel out of control and that life will never get better. Whatever you’re feeling, it’s ok. It’s ok to feel hurt, sad, angry, used, miserable or whatever your true feelings are. You cannot deny pain any more than you can deny fear. The only way through this is to give yourself permission to feel the feeling.

The question is not whether or not you will feel down. The question is for how long will you stay in this state?

The difference between people who get through life’s challenging moments, regardless of the seriousness, and those who are immobilised by the events is their ability to bounce back. That isn’t to say they care any less, they give themselves permission to move on.

How quickly can you bounce back?  Of course, the severity of the event will have a lot to do with the time it will take you to get past the pain and on with your life.

Take the example of two people being downsized from their job, something that is becoming a common occurrence these days. One is floored by the news of her dismissal. She expresses her pain by becoming angry at her employers, her colleagues and the system in general. She spends her days telling anyone who’ll listen, about her “problem” and how hard done by she is.  And usually from a bar stool!

As she sees it, her life is ruined and she’s blaming everyone for her troubles. People who react like this spend weeks, even months, wallowing in despair until, if they’re fortunate, someone close to them convinces them to seek professional help.

On the other hand, the other person reacts very differently. Although they have gone through the same experience and have pretty much the same issues like living expenses, etc., they choose to react differently.

After a brief period of feeling a loss of self-esteem, self-pity and anger (quite naturally), they decide to get back in the game. They begin contacting their network of colleagues and friends, avail themselves of courses and other services their former employer offered everyone and starts actively looking for a new position. In a short time they find their “dream job” with an exciting new company.

While both people in our hypothetical example had the same experience and both went through a period of hurting, the time each allowed themselves to remain in that dis-empowering state was vastly different. While one remained “stuck” in their problem, the other handled their loss and moved on with their life.

A caucasian college student talking on the phone

This is the key. It’s not whether life occasionally puts you into a tailspin, it’s how long you choose to remain there.

When something devastating happens to you, allow yourself some time to grieve your loss, that is essential.  However, don’t allow yourself to get stuck there. Take some action. Join a support group, talk about your feelings with a trusted friend or a professional.

In the case of a job loss, perhaps you might want to take some time to re-evaluate your career goals. You may even consider a change in career altogether. When you’re ready, you can begin networking and making new contacts.  Attend social or networking events. Call people you know. Do something!

One of the most important things to remember in high stress situations is not to allow yourself to become isolated. While spending some time alone is normal, even necessary, isolation can be dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Get out and be with people as soon as possible.

Remember “life is for the living.” It’s important to get back to your life. In time, the pain will pass.

Contact me to have a free chat on how my coaching will help you get back on track.

Maggie Currie

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Fear of crowds

Fear of crowds is very common for a lot of people whether they are single, married, male, female, high flyers, students, teachers, old or young .

I know how it feels to be alone in a crowd. I often feel totally overwhelmed in a large crowd of people, especially if I don’t know anyone in that crowd. It can feel like I am on the periphery and not allowed into the inner circle, and that, of course, makes the fear even worse. I wonder if the fear is actually of the crowds themselves or is it a fear of feeling lost or being unnoticed amongst a large number of people?

I know when I am in a large crowd of people entirely ‘on my own’ I feel nervous; I have an irrational fear that nobody will even notice that I am there.  I look at the little groups of people who do know each other within that large crowd enjoying themselves and the company of each other and that somehow increases my nervousness and the fear.  Of course they may feel just like I do but when I feel that fear, it certainly looks like they’re having a great time and I’m not. When I am in a large crowd of people and I have my own ‘group of people’ with me I feel safe and secure and know that I am noticed and therefore I don’t have those same feelings as when I am alone in a crowd.

Business people communicating with each other against white

Did you grow up in a house where “children were seen and not heard”? That might be the root of these feelings of nervousness and insecurity as they are for me. I can ultimately relate feeling like this to my childhood when I was constantly told that I should be seen and not heard.  So I would sit in the corner with my toys and only speak when I was spoken to.

Having worked hard on discovering my authentic self, discovering, acknowledging and accepting those unexpressed feelings and emotions of when I was told to be seen and not heard,  I now think and act differently.  I know there is a solution to this fear of crowds.  Based on what I know to be true about fear.  I know that FEAR is:

False

Expectations

Appearing

Real

I have found the solution that works for me and might work for you too:

  • Don’t worry about pleasing anyone else. Just be you.
  • Here’s what I do – I take a deep breath or two and take the plunge.
  • I walk amongst the strangers in the crowd and I expect to be noticed. I’ve decided not to expect to be or feel lost.
  • I make eye contact with people and smile at them.
  • I say hello to people I have never met before and strike up conversations.  They aren’t always long conversations, just long enough to introduce myself and be friendly and to listen to the other people.  Sometimes they are much longer, it depends on the person of course. Once the conversations start to happen, other people start to talk to me and to each other and before long I am part of the ‘crowd’ and not isolated on the periphery.

Even if being you just says it’s ok to not talk to anyone – which is a good friend of mine’s solution for her fear of crowds.  She’s decided to not push herself and just enjoys watching people. Funny thing is, she reports people come and talk to her.

winelady

So I know that I am not alone in feeling alone.  There are other people who are in the same position as me and I make a special effort to speak to them as well and include them in the conversations.  The energy and dynamics of the crowd change visibly and it becomes much more enjoyable.

The most important thing is to find a way to feel comfortable being you whether you decide overcoming the fear by talking to people is your way, or overcoming the fear by giving yourself a break and just allowing others to talk to you is your way. Bottom line, stop pressuring yourself to be like everyone else and just be you.

Contact me to have a free chat on how my coaching can help you find solutions to your problems.

Maggie Currie

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Relationship anxiety

Relationship anxiety is very destructive, as you know. If you don’t learn how to get rid of anxiety in your relationship, it leads into a very devastating downward spiral:
  • Suspiciousness
  • Worrying about your partner not loving you, or not caring as much as you do
  • Thoughts of them being unfaithful.
  • Many more self-destructive thoughts and emotions.
And of course, all of these will fuel your relationship anxiety. 
In order to learn how to get rid of anxiety in your relationship, take the following steps:
Ask your partner for reassurance. When you find yourself becoming suspicious in your relationship, try to remember that it is probably being fueled by your anxiety. You may be able to get some relief from your relationship anxiety by asking your partner for occasional reassurance. They will be happy to give this if they are patient and understanding of your anxiety. 
iStock_000004418879XSmall (2)
 
This kind of support may well be very helpful to you. Ask a trusted friend who is prepared to give you an honest answer if there might be some real reason for you to feel this way. But even when you get that real information, it may not help alleviate your relationship anxiety. You will have to work on that yourself. Perhaps your worry is that you feel that you are too “needy” in your relationship.
For instance, do you need constant reassurance and want your partner to regularly prove that things are really okay? This will inevitably put pressure on you and your partner and will add to the relationship anxiety.
I got married when I was 19 years old and discovered after about six months that I had made a terrible mistake. I was under a lot of pressure from my parents to stay in the marriage as it was not ‘the done thing’ to separate or divorce. In their opinion, I was far too young to know what I was doing. I believed them as I knew nothing different and so tried to make the marriage work.
 
Inevitably the pressure of trying to make it work instead of figuring out how to get rid of anxiety in my relationship made me very unhappy and anxious indeed. I stuck at it for twelve years until I couldn’t take it any longer and I made the decision to leave, take the children, and strike out on my own. I realised eventually that it wasn’t normal to be unhappy and anxious in a relationship.  A hard lesson to learn. That was the right decision for me, and the anxiety was lifted almost as if a huge weight had been taken off my shoulders.
 
If any of this is resonating with you, then you will need to find ways to cope with your anxiety and learn to rely more on yourself for feeling better – taking the pressure off your partner. This will allow you to become more self-sufficient, even in your anxiety. Give yourself permission to reassure yourself instead of turning to your partner for comfort each time you are anxious. Find ways to learn to think more positively. Try being grateful for what you have.
teenage depression - teen woman sitting thinking
 
When you are anxious you can create all kinds of ideas in your imagination that appear so intolerable that you feel compelled to take impulsive and totally misguided actions. You will find yourself:
 
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Making decisions that are destined to fail
  • Behaving in a totally childish manner, sulking and demanding attention.
  • Look for solutions that will relieve your relationship anxiety and won’t result in increasing your problems further.
  • When you are anxious your partner will be anxious too. It becomes a vicious circle and the anxiety is fed constantly.
 
Learning to trust your intuition is an important part of reducing your anxiety. So, slow down, think through anything you are considering doing and follow your intuition. Make the effort to stop listening to that nagging voice that is telling you something is wrong. It is very likely when you slow down and think rationally that you will find a much better solution for you and your relationship. In this way, you can successfully get rid of anxiety in your relationship.

 If you need help with any of the above, contact me.

 

I am helping people to become the very best version of themselves and would love to work with you.

 

Maggie Currie 

 

Creedence – Confidence for You

International Confidence Coach, Motivational Speaker, Author

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Conquering the fear of failure

Fear of failure is probably the single greatest obstacle to success in our adult lives. We often become totally preoccupied with not making a mistake and with seeking approval. The fear of failure is expressed in the words  “I can’t”.

We feel it in a physical way by the fast beating of the heart, rapid breathing, sweaty palms and a tight throat. We also experience this in the irresistible need to run to the loo.

Our second major fear that creates an obstacle in our performance is the fear of rejection.  We learn this at a very early age when our parents or guardians make their love conditional upon our behaviour.  If we do something to please them, they give us love and approval. If we do something to displease them, they withdraw their love and approval – which we often interpret as rejection.

tiredwoman

Going through divorce can trigger these feelings of failure.  But a very important thing to remember is: the marriage failed, not you.

As adults, we become preoccupied with the opinions of others because of this perceived rejection.  Many people develop hostility, suspicion and an obsession with performance to some imagined high standard.  It is virtually impossible to achieve this as it really doesn’t exist.

There is a belief that we have to work harder and accomplish more in order to please the boss.  The boss has replaced the parent and is  therefore perceived as the approval giver.

Research has shown that more than 99 percent of adults experience these fears of failure and rejection.  They are caught in the vicious circle of feeling, “I can’t, but I have to,” and “I have to, but I can’t.”

We can beat  these fears by developing our self-esteem, courage and character.  We can increase our self-love and self-respect.  Acting with courage in a fearful situation is one technique that boosts our love for ourselves to such a degree that our fears subside and they lose their ability to affect our behaviour and our decisions.

journal

Firstly, we need to realise and accept that we can do anything we put your minds to. Repeat the words, “I can do it! I can do it!” whenever we feel afraid. Write ina journal all your successes so you can remind yourself how good you actually are.

Secondly, we need to continually remind ourselves of just how wonderful we are, think of ourselves as valuable and important people and remember that temporary failure is one way we learn how to succeed.

If you need help with any of the above, please contact me.

I am helping people to become the very best version of themselves and would love to work with you.

I have some availability for new coaching clients, we just need to fix some dates for when you want to get started.  Get in touch today.

Maggie Currie 

Creedence – Confidence for You

International Confidence Coach, Motivational Speaker, Author

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