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.

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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 

 

Your wedding day – do you have to conform?

I have spent many years helping my hubby out at weddings and wedding fairs.  He is a mobile DJ and does a lot of work at weddings, besides all the usual parties for 18th, 21st, 50th birthdays and of course anniversaries. I have been to hundreds of weddings over the past 10 years.

The wedding industry is huge and caters for everything you could possibly think of to help make your day the best day of your life.  There is something for everyone at the wedding fairs – wedding dresses for brides, suits for the grooms and their entourage, dresses for bridesmaids, outfits for page boys, dresses for mothers of the brides.  There are venues, photographers, videographers, photo booths, florists with fresh flowers, florists with silk flowers, decorations for the tables, balloons for arches, makeup artists, hairdressers, barbers, lingerie suppliers, marquees, tableware, furniture, caterers, waiting staff, bars (either dry or wet), dance floors, bands, discos, karaoke – to name but a few.

And one thing I have noticed over the years is that there is a huge amount of pressure on the brides to conform.  I say the brides, although it could equally be the grooms at a same sex wedding.  In general, wedding fairs are organised and aimed at the brides and the mothers of the brides.  Often it is the mother of the bride who has the expectations for a wedding for her daughter.

There is pressure to have the right wedding dress, the right venue, the right wedding breakfast, the right buffet, the right music, the right wine/champagne, to invite the right people and so on.

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I have attended many weddings where everything is just the same as the last one.  It all happens in the same order –  a bit like a conveyor belt.  Bride and groom come in one end, perform all the ceremonies, appear at top table, make speeches, cut the cake, do first dance, party and then go off on honeymoon.

And the pressure is on for your wedding to be better than the last one you went to.  Or better than your best friend’s or better than your mother’s best friend’s daughter’s wedding.  And so on.

If what I have described is exactly what you want for your wedding, go ahead and do it.  It may be your dream wedding, the one you have been yearning for since you were five years old.  If that is the case, enjoy your day safe in the knowledge that it is exactly what you want.  After all it is your day.

 But does it have to be that way? No it doesn’t. What if you want something more relaxed, lower key, less pressured, more simple or just completely different?

Go for it!

I have attended a couple of weddings where the whole thing was relaxed.  At one the bride and groom wanted to emulate a beach party.  They hired a hall with a piece of land outside.  The bride and groom wore ‘beach wear’ – she was in a smart, summer dress, he was in casual trousers and Hawaiin type shirt.  The men on the top table had straw hats and light jackets.  The rest of the guests were in smart, casual beach wear.  The table decorations were simple with a circular mirror on each which had pebbles and sand on them, a little candle and that was it.  The table names were all referred to something to do with the sea or the beach.  The food was a hog roast outside, the bar was a trestle table stocked with cans, bottles etc., which the guests helped themselves from.  They all had a great time and were relaxed.

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At another reception, the bride wore a very smart, short dress and the groom wore smart trousers and a jacket.  The guests were all in casual clothes, the food and bar were organised by the family and a great time was had by all.

There was no pressure to conform, no pressure to look the same or better than someone else, no pressure to provide the best food.  They had a perfectly relaxed and enjoyable day.

At another wedding, the couple each had children and grandchildren, they wanted them all to be involved and invited them all to be bridesmaids, ushers, page boys and the day was loosely planned, but they went with the flow.  When the little grandchildren wanted to play, they played.  Once the wedding ceremony was completed, the reception carried on in a way that was good for everyone.  All the formalities were completed and the rest of the time, the party went on with everyone involved.

If you want to be married in the forest by a friend, you may have to do the legal bit first in a Register Office, but you can have the ceremony you want, where you want, with whom you want without the need to compare yourself or your wedding to anyone or anybody else’s.

Why not spend the weekend at a vintage caravan site, hire a small marquee, hire some sound gear and speakers, put on the music from your ipod, get some deckchairs, a barbecue and your friends and have a party outside.  Be relaxed, really enjoy the day and the company.

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Invite the people to your wedding who you really want to be there.  If you don’t want Great Aunt Vi to attend, then don’t invite her.  If you want to have a small wedding with only a handful of guests, do just that.  It is your day. No matter what sort of wedding you have, there is bound to be someone you don’t to be there and who you fear you will offend.  Let them be offended.  It is your day – have the day that you want.

Some people go off to another country to get married on the beach.  The couple go without any guests and enjoy the ceremony on their own terms.  But then they have a party when they come back and invite those they want to help them celebrate.  Do that if you would like.  The reception can be as large or as small as you want.

Remember it is your day.  Have the wedding you want, not what somebody else wants.  If you are happy on your wedding day and everything is as you have planned, you will enjoy it so much more, the memories you create will live with you forever.  Be yourself, have what you want and don’t have what you don’t want forced upon you.

If any of this resonates with you, and you would like some help building your confidence and gaining the courage to stand up for what you really want, get in touch with me and we can have a free 15 minute chat.

 

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 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Are you being emotionally abused?

If only I had known there were questions to ask myself thirty years ago, I would have been asking them of myself daily.

I spent many years being emotionally abused by my first husband, my parents, my in-laws.  At the time I was totally unaware that it was happening.

For instance I was advised by my parents to stay in a marriage that wasn’t working because they felt I was too young to make a decision on divorce.  I was treated as a possession by my husband who was obsessed with the idea that I was having an affair whilst out shopping with my three small children.  My in-laws constantly told me I wasn’t good enough to be part of their family.

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But now, after working so very hard to find myself and who I really am, I have thought about what was happening to me and how it affected me.

If I knew then what I know now I would be asking these questions of myself:

  • Am I living my life for me or for someone else?
  • Am I really happy with the way I am treated by other people?
  • Is this all there really is for me?
  • Why do I always feel so miserable?
  • Why don’t people listen to what I have to say?
  • I am doing my best to please everyone, why aren’t they pleased?
  • I have no self-esteem, why doesn’t someone appreciate me for being me?
  • I am going through life in a daze, is there more to life than this?
  • I didn’t sign up for this, why am I being treated like an idiot?
  • Am I invited along just to make up the numbers?
  • Is there a way that I can make my life better?

Do any of those questions have some relevancy to your life today? If they do, even if only a couple of them, then you are being emotionally abused.  You are allowing other people to run your life, and you are allowing them to judge you and make decisions on your behalf.

The answer to the last question is yes, there is a way that you can make your life better.  Start living your life for you.  Don’t allow other people to judge you, you are a person in your own right and deserve to live the life you want.  There is nothing at all wrong with disagreeing with someone who you feel is wrong.  The world won’t end if you move away from people who are causing you misery. If you feel you are being invited along to make up the numbers, then politely refuse the invitation.

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You will find that when you change your attitude to other people, they will also change their attitude towards you.  It will take time, but you will notice the difference and start to live the life you want to live and stop the emotional abuse.

I have some availability for coaching clients, we just need to fix some dates if and 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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Self Awareness

When I was in my teens and even up to my early 40s I had very little self-awareness.  I plodded along doing what I was told to do, manipulated by so many people.  I was so totally not self-aware I didn’t even notice that I was living my life on other people’s terms.

It is only since I have trained to be a life coach that I have really discovered myself and discovered my own self awareness.  I have found that to be able to grow into my own self-awareness I have to understand my feelings and emotions.  This was quite a difficult journey for me, as I have suppressed feelings and emotions for many years.  The reason – I was told by my parents when I was a child that I should be seen and not heard.  I was told that I should not express anger or display any emotion.  And so I learned to repress them.

Having this understanding now after learning so much about my feelings and emotions and rediscovering who I am really am, I know that I can express my feelings and emotions. And this is a huge step for me towards self-awareness.  But what does self-awareness do for me? What are the benefits to me?  Being self-aware has given me the opportunity and freedom to change those things I want to change about myself and create the life that I want.  I now don’t allow others to manipulate me.  I live my life on my terms.  I am seen and heard and I do express my feelings and emotions.

 New for 2013. From confusion to clarity – Becoming ME again

The more clarity I get about who I am and what I want, and of course why I want it, the more I empower myself to consciously make those wants a reality. But, how do I get this clarity? I turn to the expert – ME.  I know more about myself than anyone else, I know I have been manipulated and by whom.  I know I have suppressed my feelings and emotions,  and I know why.  And I have got to know myself even better over the past few years by becoming so much more self-aware.  I am, of course, still learning.

To get the clarity I want I have learned to ask myself questions and expect specific answers. The more specific my answers, the more impact they have on my life and then I have a much clearer picture of  me.  Of course, there are times when my answer is ‘I don’t know’ and I know that is okay too.  I give myself the freedom to take a wild guess and this allows me to carry on.  What I have discovered is that I really do know more than I ever thought I did.

Honesty is vital in my answers to myself.  It will lead to my true self-awareness, but it does take a lot of courage.  It is the courage to face my fears or to face something I find difficult to accept about myself.  For instance, I know that I am impatient and want things to happen now.  I also know that when people are speaking to me I get impatient to hear the end of what they are saying, and I tend to try to finish their sentences for them.  I know this about myself and do my best to bite my tongue and not jump in with the answers.  By being totally honest with myself I take ownership of my actions, thoughts and feelings and find those beliefs that are no longer serving me. Those beliefs can then be discarded, altered or whatever feels right for me.

I find that sometimes I do slip up and give an answer that perhaps I think I should give, rather than what I really know is right.  That means I am giving answers from my head rather than getting in touch with my feelings and getting the answer there. To get out of my head again, I take several deep breaths and start to listen to my body, to notice where it is hurting and breathe into that place.  This helps me to balance myself and to find the answers I need, and they come from inside me rather than from my head.

How do I know I am in a relationship that is bad for me?

I know that whatever I discover about myself I can handle with ease and acceptance.  I trust that whatever I discover about myself will in some way lead to a greater sense of me and increased self-awareness.

I have found that practising listening to my body has enabled me to get to grips with my emotions and feelings in a way that I have never been able to do before.  And of course I am learning every day more and more about myself too.

I have some availability for coaching clients, we just need to fix some dates if and 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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Learning to set my personal boundaries

Setting boundaries was difficult for me at first.  I have this innate wish to help and please other people and I have learned that this is not a good way to behave.

I learned that my behaviour was dictated by my parents who wanted me to be the person they thought I ought to be and did not allow me to be ME. They did the best they could and they meant well, they didn’t abuse me in any way, but they did dictate what I thought, who I spoke to, who I mixed with at school and who I should or shouldn’t be friends with. I was manipulated from a very small child to become who they wanted me to be, to allay their fears that I might become like my birth mother, a sixteen year old single girl who got pregnant at a fair ground by a traveller.

It has therefore taken a lot of work on my behalf and with the help of my coach to change that way of thinking and to start living my life as ME and uncovering the real ME.  This has led to some amazing realisations and huge shifts in my consciousness and my perceptions of myself and acknowledgement of my emotions which have been suppressed for so many years.

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One of these realisations is that I can live my life in my own way, not be manipulated by anyone, and not feel guilty about it. After all it is my life and I must look after me first, otherwise I can’t possibly look after anyone else.

I have been manipulated in the past by my daughter.  She uses emotional blackmail, whether she realises it or not, to get what she wants – and this is usually money.  When she and her boyfriend bought their first house I helped out with the deposit. We bought her the basics – a fridge/freezer, cooker, washing machine to go in the house.  A year or two later she and her boyfriend got married and we paid for the wedding – to be fair to her she got some very good deals and she had the day that she wanted and that was all that mattered to me for her wedding day.

She then sold her house and bought a flat.  She dumped all the kitchen stuff, fridge, cooker, washing machine and started again with new stuff in the flat they had bought.  We helped with the moving costs at her request because she had no money.

Then she gave birth to her daughter and we helped out with the usual baby stuff and a whole lot of bits and pieces too.  Then her husband decided he wanted to open a cafe and they asked if we could help with the deposit.  So we did.  The cafe failed after six months.

They decided they wanted to open a sandwich bar, could we help out with the rent – s0 we did – this too failed after a year, basically after the pre-paid rent ran out.

All of the above requests for money were to be ‘loans’.  Of course they were never repaid and ran into many thousands of pounds.

Then she gave birth to her son and they decided between them that they would have a year off working to be at home with the children.  They applied for every benefit they could and got them.  Then they sold their flat at much under the market value and moved into rented accommodation and have moved around a bit since then.

Then came requests for school uniforms for the children, as they needed more things and she had no money.  I bought some school uniform items on her behalf on the internet, again expecting to repaid, but nothing was forthcoming.

At this point I decided that if they weren’t going to help themselves then I wasn’t going to help them either.  After all she was 30 years old, married with two children.

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Inevitably this caused a rift as she felt that I was abandoning her and that I didn’t care and that I didn’t love her.  I do love her very much, I do care and I wasn’t abandoning her – she has to live her life as she wants and if that is the life she chooses then I am not responsible, and I do not judge her.

Now she is 34 years old, pregnant again, still has no money and I have agreed to buy a cot for the new baby.  I was asked if I would buy anything else too and I have said no.

Although I love my daughter unconditionally, I cannot and will not live her life for her or bail her out any more.  I have my own life to lead and my own expenses.  My boundaries are set, I am sticking to them and I am living my life as ME.  I will not be manipulated or emotionally blackmailed any more.

I cannot be held responsible for somebody else’s life, it is up to my daughter to live the life that she wants, and if this is it, so be it.  I am always here for her whenever she needs me to support her in all that she does.

This has been a very hard lesson to learn for me and when the realisation finally came that I was ME, and I had missed out on all those years of being ME because of the manipulation and emotional blackmail from my parents, my first husband, my children etc., I was at first angry and then happy because now I know that everything I am doing is for me first and when I feel good and happy then everyone around me feels the same.

I have learned  how to look after myself first and how to say no without guilt.  I have learned that my boundaries are vital to my day-to-day living and that once people are aware of those boundaries they respect them and me.  That isn’t to say that I always say no, I know when to say yes and when to say no.
I have some availability for coaching clients, we just need to fix some dates if and 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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