Mental Emotional Abuse
When Your Partner’s Judgments
Are Your Defects
by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Have you ever noticed how your partner’s judgments about you say more about him than they do about you? Yet, he/she stands behind these judgments as though they are a certified list of your defects.
“You are a lousy housekeeper, because you don’t fold the laundry ‘correctly’," he/she declares. “You’re a pig because of the way you keep your car (or better yet, don’t keep up your car),” your partner insists. Or, how about this one: “You are a spoiled brat because you have the safety net of your family’s wealth,” he/she whines.
Now as an outsider looking in, at first glance, you could think your partner is actually talking about you. And even in your reality, their observations could be accurate. But, these so-called defects of yours that they relentlessly points out are as much about them as you think they are about you.
Our Judgments Are Our Projections
From classical to pop psychology we know that reality is perception. You can only see that which already exists within you. And when it doesn’t, it does not register.
I’m reminded of a story Deepak Chopra used to tell about kittens raised in laboratory rooms with walls painted in horizontal lines. And then once chairs were placed in the room, the cats walked right into them because they didn’t see the vertical legs on the chairs.
Vertical lines had not been imprinted in their neuro-sensory bank as had the horizontal lines during their formative development. Consequently, later in life, they simply did not register...they went unnoticed as though they didn’t exist.
Whose Problem Are His Judgments, Anyway?
When your partner badgers you with “your defects,” be mindful that these are merely his judgments. And more importantly, his sharing these judgments say more about him than they say about you.
So, pick up your head, take your tail out from between you legs and be mindful that he is talking about his preferences…his opinions…his experience. You don’t have to own his commentary unless you chose to do so.
You always have the option of looking out before looking in. It is for this reason that some individuals will tell you that mental abuse is in the eyes of the beholder. Now don’t get me wrong, this in no way suggests that derogatory comments about you do not hurt and aren’t delivered to mess with the way you feel and think about yourself. Rather, I’m reminding you that you have a choice in how you take it in. You can see it as having as much if not more to do with the bully than the bullied.
This shift in your thinking over time can help you restore your dignity in the face of mental emotional abuse. It can give you the inner strength to deal with emotional verbal abuse in ways that support you rather than destroy you.
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Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.