Mentally abusive relationships are very common. In fact there would be people in these types of relationships, on either side, who may not even be aware their relationship could be classified this way.
This kind of relationship could also be placed in the emotionally abusive relationships category or it might be in the verbal abusive relationship group.
A relationship might be placed in any one of these groups as a lot of what happens in many relationships is covered by these descriptions.
The reason I say people may not be aware their relationship fits into mental abuse bracket, is because there are a lot of things that happen in many relationships, that are accepted as normal.
This is not to say in any way that this is acceptable, it is simply a comment about the state of affairs that exists in a lot of relationships.
It is also important to say at this stage there is a widespread belief today, that women are as likely as men to be abusive in relationships, including mentally abusive relationships.
My response to this view is that it is poppycock! In other words it is nonsense! The issue of abuse against women has barely got the attention it warrants, and we have to put up with this rubbish.
It is a red herring, and takes the focus away from where it needs to be and that is addressing the huge issue of violence against women, which is at epidemic proportions throughout the world.
That is not to deny there are some women who are abusive, but there is no way that the incidence of women being abusive to men is comparable.
There are a broad range of things that occur in mentally abusive relationships. Perhaps one of the most common things that happens is where women are constantly told they are to blame.
They are to blame for everything, it doesn’t matter what it is, including the abuse they are experiencing.
A woman we met socially recently, told us, her now ex-husband, had pushed her to the ground and broke her arm. He told her it was her fault because, as he said, she made him angry. He took no responsibility for his actions.
When I think of mentally abusive relationships, I recall one woman I saw as a client who stands out as a classic example of what happens to so many women in their relationships.
Her husband was like an ogre in the home. He was not physically violent, but he had been abusive to her and their two children in a whole range of other ways for a long time. She was to blame for everything, especially the abuse.
Early in our session, I said to her “it (the abuse) has nothing to do with you.” After I said that, she was transfixed, motionless, in a trance like state and silent for what seemed like a considerable time.
Being involved in this mentally abusive relationship, she had been so brainwashed into believing she was totally to blame for the abuse.
Eventually she responded and said, “you mean it (the abuse) has nothing to do with me.?”
This was such a breakthrough for her. It was so evident in her appearance. It took such a load off her mind. She relaxed and became calm. She was overjoyed as indicated by the huge smile on her face.
This is an example of one of the key aspects of mentally abusive relationships. You are bombarded with an assortment of mental abuse that plays havoc with your mind. This causes such turmoil you become a target to accepting beliefs uncritically.
This is just one example I can give you, to demonstrate and highlight how your mind can so easily be played with and manipulated to work against yourself.
The perpetrators in mentally abusive relationships, become skilled at using this arsenal, and know how well it works.
Leo Ryan is a counselor with over twenty years experience in the field dealing primarily with relationships and particularly abusive relationships. He has given many talks, seminars and workshops on the subject, as well as being interviewed by all sectors of the media about his work. He is the author of the ebook "How to Have An Extraordinary Relationship". www.relationship-tips-for-you.com