The purpose of a midlife crisis, perimenopause and menopause (from a spiritual perspective) is to move us beyond childbearing to birthing ourselves…and this is as true for men as it is for women. During midlife and menopause, we are invited to leave behind the life we have known to make room for the new life that is trying to be born through us. In birthing our new selves, we are birthing our Soul – the unique way we are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose, connection and fulfillment in our lives and the way in which we find fulfillment by contributing to the betterment of our world. One of the challenges of the midlife journey is that in order to birth something new, we have to recognize and confront the things in our lives which are not supportive of finding meaning, purpose and fulfillment and sometimes, one of the things we need to confront is the reality of abuse. It is often at the midlife transition that men and women are forced to admit that they are somehow wrapped up in the cycle of abuse, and then we are invited to do something about it. Today’s blog specifically addresses the topic of emotional abuse, often the most difficult form of abuse to recognize. If this looks familiar or strikes a chord with you, please seek support in unraveling and recovering from abuse.
Midlife and Menopause – Acknowledging Emotional Abuse
While it is difficult to deny physical, verbal or sexual abuse, many who are being emotionally abused are reluctant to admit or acknowledge the abuse because they have been systematically “trained” to believe that they are the one at fault, that they somehow deserve the abuse and that it is not abuse at all….but that there is something wrong with them….they are irrational, crazy, needy, that their needs are ridiculous, unreasonable and undeserving. Emotional abuse is nothing short of brainwashing….brainwashing the victim to believe there is something wrong with them so that the abuser can establish and maintain their position of power and control.
The Effects of Emotional Abuse
Whatever the form the emotional abuse takes, it has the same result. Emotional abuse undermines, even destroys belief in the basic rights that all people deserve in relationship. Patricia Evans defines these rights as:
- The right to good will from the other.
- The right to emotional support.
- The right to be heard by the other and to be responded to with courtesy.
- The right to have your own view, even if your partner has a different view.
- The right to have your feelings and experience acknowledged as real.
- The right to receive a sincere apology for any jokes you may find offensive.
- The right to clear and informative answers to questions that concern what is legitimately your business.
- The right to live free from accusation and blame.
- The right to live free from criticism and judgment.
- The right to have your work and your interests spoken of with respect.
- The right to encouragement.
- The right to live free from emotional and physical threat.
- The right to live free from angry outbursts and rage.
- The right to be called by no name that devalues you.
- The right to be respectfully asked rather than ordered.
Healing from Emotional Abuse
Healing from any kind of abuse requires time, patience and good support. The process begins with admitting that you are being abused and continues as you gather appropriate support around you through counselors, mentors, therapists and support groups. Healing takes root as the lies upon which your life has been established fall away so that you can embrace the magnificent person that you are and enjoy the possibility of a future relationship built on mutual love, honor and respect – the kind of relationship that you dreamed about….before the abuser taught you otherwise.
To learn more about my upcoming course, “Surviving Midlife,” click HERE.