All posts by AnnetteYoung

Abuse – Write From the Heart

Annette Young

by Annette Young

I was asked the other day why I focus my intent on helping women to recover from abusive relationships rather than reaching out to men who may have suffered similar, and the answer is simple, I write for the majority. Research indicates that more women are victims of abuse – both physically and emotionally than are men. I do not favour either sex in respect of recovery, abuse is abuse in my eyes and it’s a vile act. My heart goes out to anyone who has suffered from or is suffering a controlling or manipulative relationship.

I do know men who have endured manipulative relationships and have lost their confidence, identity and self-worth as a result. In addition, they have plummeted into the gloomy depths of depression and some no doubt, will have contemplated how to even carry on. So while men do suffer, notably, more women come forward than men.

I write as a direct result of my own personal experiences. Initially for me, it was therapeutic. Following on from this, I realised that I was on a mission to stand up for and to help others. I write about this subject with conviction and empathy and, I write from the heart.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I hear from so many women who have suffered similar experiences to me and I’m not just talking about a few locally, but on a worldwide basis. Around the globe, there are women almost driven to the depths of suicide, they are so unhappy and lost and damaged.

In this world, there are far more destructive relationships in existence than is possible to calculate, if you look around at your neighbours and friends and peek behind closed doors, you might notice the signs of a toxic relationship but in public, the abuser paints the picture of a loving connection, the abuser is often charming and gracious but, when no-one is there to see, the mask of love comes off.

Seriously, take a good look around. When you see beneath the mask, you see an ugly and evil soul.

I write with women in mind because as kindred spirits, sharing the same emotional viewpoints, my words probably resonate with them more. But abuse is abuse. Whether these acts are carried out by men or women, it is terribly wrong. I often wonder what pleasure these vile people can possibly gain through the belittling of others but bullies are bullies and control I guess is intoxicating. Unless we can stand up to them in the face of adversity, they win.

I’ve been through it, I’m living proof that there is a way out of the darkness and your first step has to be to accept it is happening and to then make a vow to yourself to get out.

Need a little help? Take a look at my book: Emotional Abuse – Get Out of My Head and Out of My Bed!

Just remember, you are not alone!

Relationships – Watch Out for the Red Flag of Change

Relationships and red flag

by Annette Young

We all want to feel fulfilled and cherished in our relationships and when we meet someone new, it should be one of the most exciting times of life. There’s nothing like the dizzy sensation of romance, sexual chemistry and a new-found connection. You should feel wonderful, beautiful and so appreciated and valued, but what if you don’t?

Here’s an example of a potential red flag.

What if your new partner doesn’t gel with your long-standing friends? It’s an awkward but not unusual scenario. It’s true to say that we don’t all see people in the same way so, disharmony or discord is possible even if unwarranted, sometimes, it is a mixture of resentment between the people who profess to love you the most. Often, this naturally settles in time.

Initially, you may be so madly in love that you are tempted to spend all your time with this new love interest. It’s not a deliberate act of dropping your friends, but the new romantic liaison is intoxicating. However, if your new partner is nudging you to spend less time with your friends, compelling you to move away from them, to start believing that they are not as good a friend as you may think or that they  hold you back in life, this is a real danger sign.

Okay, it may not be spelled out in so many words, but there may be little signs of disapproval that gnaw away at your sub-conscious mind, you may not want to listen, but you should. But there are other red flags to consider too. Your partner doesn’t like how you look, how you dress or, where you live. In fact, there’s an underlying criticism about pretty much everything. There’s a sense of urgency for change, you are almost perfect…but that ‘not quite’ hangs in the air creating self-doubt. Some slight changes here and there and you’ll be a whole new person and deserving of that all-important happy ever after.

Hmmm. Sound familiar?

Watch out for red flags such as these. No relationship is perfect and it may be necessary to adapt some aspects of self – with both participating in these changes so to create the foundations of a strong relationship but, you should never feel belittled, be made to doubt yourself or, be dictated to drop friends or change key aspects of your life. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t settle for less than the best, find someone who really appreciates you for who you are. 

Worried that you are in a manipulative relationship? Take a look here:




That Old Familiar Smile…

Annette Youngby Annette Young

You’d think  it would be easy to spot the warning signs and to nimbly side-step them.  After all, didn’t I promise myself….never again?

The problem is, irrespective of past experiences, we all want to have the ability to develop a good romantic relationship in life. Even those of us who say we prefer to be on our own would secretly love to welcome in that perfect other who compliments our lives rather than seeking to destroy it. But, where there have been toxic relationships, or emotional or physical abuse,  it’s likely that you’ve not only raised the barriers but nailed them shut.

That’s what happened to me on a recent trip back to the UK. I encountered someone who had once been an incredibly enticing and, intoxicating part of my life. When we were together all those  years ago, I was going through a very bad time in my life. I was under a great deal of stress and was grieving, so for some gloriously claimed moments, I had clutched at the chance of a distraction from my life, forgetting about everything but those moments and to feel truly alive again.

Years on, that flash from the past came back into my  life promising good ol’ familiarity and in a way, a safe haven from loneliness and the fear of having to meet someone new and, starting the whole ‘get to know you ‘ process again.

Even though I am an advocate for women recovering from any type of abuse because of my own experiences, I’m quite tough, mentally and emotionally these days, but I know all too well the temptation of succumbing to that old familiarity. The smile that still melts, the accent, the scent and remembering the simple pleasures of holding hands, it’s potent stuff. It’s a spark that ignites, it’s a hint of a promise and a reminder that life is for living and yet, it’s also less fearful because you remember so much about each other.

We both said it would be different. The years had taught us that life moves on, we’d grown and matured. He liked my positive spirit, my mental toughness and he recognised that I was whole again. But that didn’t stop those old ways emerging and infiltrating the simple pleasures and I began to remember why I had left him all those years ago.

There was no physical violence or scathing words, but, a failure to truly appreciate or to, I think,  value our connection. He wasn’t and still is not, a bad person, but shallow, and unfeeling …maybe.  He lacked depth, or the ability to really give of himself. Although I will never regret time spent with him, he did after all, provide a lifeline during some very gloomy days, it’s just not a good connection for someone who has endured the emotional pain of manipulative relationships. Frankly, the realisation that you still come way down the list of priorities is a stark reminder of how easy it is to make the same mistakes.

After the initial excitement of feeling flattered and alive in his presence, the vibrancy of our re-connection began to fade and my brain started calculating, noting age-old patterns and yes, I started to feel de-valued. With a sinking heart, I finished it again, emotional but determined that we all have times of weakness, we all have moments when we want to be loved but most of all, we want to be valued. There was no big drama as the sunset faded away on years of what might have been….just general acceptance that I am worth  so much more.

Have you suffered from emotional abuse? You are not alone. You can read my story here. 

Protect and Nourish Your Self-Worth

Break free from abuse

by Annette Young

We all know the importance of self-worth but when your confidence has been shaken to the core after experiencing a manipulative or damaging relationship, it’s a fair assumption to say that your sense of self-worth is likely to be impacted too. Each relationship has its own positives and negatives and it is only fair that we enter each relationship with an open mind, hoping that we have made the right choices and that the positives of this connection far outweigh any difficulties that may exist. But when a relationship starts to chip away at your very essence until you begin to question and doubt your own abilities in life, those alarm bells should be ringing very loudly indeed.

Your self-worth is often all that will stand between your staying in a destructive relationship and having the courage to strike out alone. It’s not easy, but the belief that you deserve better will carry you through. When a partner is deliberately manipulative, you can guarantee that the aim will be to strip away your confidence and to make you start second guessing yourself. It’s an easy hop to then destroying how you feel about yourself. Bit by bit, your self-worth will be shredded until it is less easy to remember the person you once were or to rebuild that sense of self.

You may have given away your power but note, you can take it back too. Don’t think about mending a relationship that is a selfish one-way street, instead, concentrate on building your appreciation of who you are, one building block at a time. When your heart is filled with love and pain at your partner’s treatment of you, it can be overwhelming and difficult to see with true clarity. But, if you are in the midst of a heartbreaking but damaging connection ask yourself this, what do you really gain by staying in this relationship? Does it make you happy or do you self-destruct yet further each day that passes?

Your self-worth is an integral part of you, protect and nourish it and it will serve you well.

 

 

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The Fear of Leaving and Coping Alone

Leaving

 

by Annette Young

When you are deep within the clutches of an abusive relationship, you’ll experience a multitude of emotions – mostly negative ones. There may be feelings of depression, a desire to withdraw physically or emotionally and you’ll often feel trapped and alone within the relationship. Although these feelings are negative, they are also very powerful and will keep you hanging in there as the days, weeks and even years go by and your self-esteem erodes. But if life is so unbearable, why not just walk away?

Fear is an intrinsic part of an abusive relationship. If you live with a bully – whether violent or manipulative verbally, you feel the weight of this threat hanging over you constantly. You don’t know when it’s going to happen, you are just pretty damn sure that it will. This perceived and barely concealed threat also causes a chain reaction in emotional terms because the core feeling of frustration, fear and anger manifests outwards into everything you do. It doesn’t matter if it’s the little things in life – cooking, ironing, cleaning…you are always looking over your shoulder in case you are picked up for doing something wrong. Sadly, you always will in the eyes of an abusive partner.

Fear has another effect; it puts a strangle-hold on your leaving. Even if your financial state is healthy, actually packing up to go is another thing altogether. You might say it, shout it and stamp your feet while dramatically throwing things into your suitcase, but your partner knows that his control over you is pretty much secure. What you want inwardly is contrition from him, you want him to say he’s sorry – and mean it. You want him to throw his arms around you and say he’s realised his mistakes and he’ll change. An abusive partner may do that or, he’ll just let you pack and revel in the glee that you won’t ever get to the door and if you do, you’ll never cope without him.

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But there’s your real fear, will you cope without him? This terrifying fear residing right in the heart of you has the power to overcome the fear of staying with him. Make no mistake – this fear is crippling your chances of escaping and finding someone decent, one who truly cares for you.

So let’s figure out if you can survive without the bully in your life:

  • No more insidious or cutting remarks
  • No more physical threats
  • The chance to live your life as you see fit
  • The potential for inner peace and well-being

From my perspective, one who’s faced the same dilemmas as you, life on the outside of a relationship is pretty good. I’d choose peace and quiet and contentment over a torturous and volatile relationship any time. The hardest part of starting over is actually walking out the door. It takes courage and sometimes it takes time before that ‘last straw’ snaps and you are finally ready to take action. Believe me, once you have done so, life starts getting dramatically easier.

Does this article resonate with you? Need to find out more about emotional abuse?

Emotional Abuse

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When You Know It’s Toxic – It’s Time to Go

by Annette Young

We all long to have a perfect relationship and spend a great deal of time and effort trying to find a soul mate, that perfect other who will complete our lives. Sometimes though, we fail to recognise dangerous elements within an individual, we fall for the gloss, the wonderful exterior, the facade that could be perilous.  We fall in love with a person who doesn’t really exist. It may be a highly polished act or just appealing to us individually, but if it’s fake, an act, part of a polished performance, we will soon start to see the nasty side of the relationship. When there is an edge, a sinister underbelly to the loving partnership, its toxicity threatens to spill out and poison.

If it sounds dangerous, then know this, it is.  A toxic relationship will drain the life out of your partnership and gradually impact how you think, feel and act. It will drain your energy and eradicate your confidence.  Think you are too strong to let this happen? Think again, a toxic relationship doesn’t announce its intentions ….the poison trickles into your life, it erodes good old common sense, it squeezes your heart, it sends confusing signals around your body – fear, trust issues, doubt, regret and emotional hurt. It also causes deep apprehension in your belly where your gut feeling will be tied up in knots.  The hardest thing will be to feel your sense of self gradually slipping away.

At some point you may become worried about saying anything – it’s always wrong after all, you’ll get fed up of being called stupid, or, your partner accusing you of trying to cause an argument. If you could just stand back  and look at the situation from the outside, you’ll realise that the blame will always be laid at your feet. You’ll stop being you and you’ll worry about every little thing,  you will become a shadow of your former self.

There will be a battle. Your intuition will say get the hell out and your heart will beg you to stay. Coming to the realization that its your happiness vs. your peace of mind will enable you to see things a little more clearly.  The gradual demise as you  lose control and your partner gains it all could be the final nail in the coffin if you allow it to be, after all, who wants to live in a relationship where treading on eggshells and being controlled is the norm?

Opening your eyes to potential options is recommended -taking the chance to escape when you can but it’s so, so hard when you are in the midst of it all. Unfortunately, the longer the situation remains, the harder it will be to break free.

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The Cycle of Abuse – When You Are On the Outside Looking In

by Annette Young

Do you know someone who is stuck in the middle of an abusive relationship? Are you worried about their safety or fear hearing the news that they have tried to commit suicide? It can be the most difficult and frustrating of situations if you are worried about someone close to you and yet, feel powerless to act. You may feel undecided how to make things better for your loved one, should you report it to the police? Should you confront the abuser? Will your interference make it better or worse? It can be incredibly difficult to reach out and offer assistance to someone caught up in the middle of an abusive relationship, however close your relationship has been. Understanding the cycle of abuse though may help to prepare you for action, whether it’s giving emotional support or, making the decision to step in and make a stand. It will certainly give you an insight into the make-up of an abusive person.

Understanding the pattern that seems to go hand in hand with abusive relationships can give you some idea of how volatile the relationship can be. The cycle of abuse is a repetitive one. If the relationship remains, the abusive behaviour repeats over and over, until something or someone buckles under the strain.

First, there’s the actual abuse. This may be physically violent behaviour, threats or aggressive and manipulative word play that’s designed to make the victim fearful, isolated and to feel less than worthy. This abusive behaviour may last for days at a time. Guilt then seems to make an appearance, but usually, it’s not guilt through the cruel words spoken, or the damaging actions, it’s the fear of being caught.

Abusers will always blame someone else for their actions and usually their partner. Something was said or done and this was unacceptable, in fact, it triggered their behaviour. It’s never the fault of the abuser.

The control of the abuser is quite considerable. Make no mistake; the abuser will do everything in his (or her) power to keep full control over the victim. Once the abuse and then guilt cycle has completed, life returns to some normality. The relationship may even improve, life is less like walking on eggshells, and it lulls the victim into thinking that things will change for the better, just when things seem settled and positive, the mood changes again.

The next cycle of abuse is the deadly planning stage. This is where the abuser contemplates ways in which to make the victim pay. Because the normality stage may last for a period of time, there are plenty of opportunities to plan and to construe reasons for future abuse. The fantasy develops and then erupts. It spills over into everyday life and the physical act of abuse starts all over again. Once the abuser can justify the act of belittling and hurting the victim, there is little that can stop it until the scenario has played out and the next stage of the cycle of abuse starts.

Knowing what to look out for may give you a way to step in and to pre-empt volatile situations, but trying to communicate with your loved one and to provide emotional support may be all that you can do until they reach out and ask for help.

 

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Emotional Abuse

It’s filled with personal stories and content that will help you to understand your situation.
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The Truth about Abusers

Victim of Domestic Violence

by Annette Young

It’s hard to view life with any type of clarity when you are in the midst of an abusive relationship. Domestic abuse clouds judgement, understandably, it impacts every aspect of life and all too often, the victim makes excuses for the abuser.

“He doesn’t mean the things he says.”

“I know he loves me.”

“He’s promised to change.”

But here’s the reality of abusive relationships. Abusers are in control of their behaviours. They pick their victims and they often save up their abuse for those people whom they profess to love. Abusers won’t just pick on everyone who supposedly irritates them, instead, they paint a false picture to the world and act out their role in it and when they come home, they look for a victim and guess who then gets the brunt of their vile behaviour?

You may not want to believe it if you are caught in the restrictive confines of an abusive relationship but, abusers choose their moments to abuse. They are not fuelled by temper and lose control because of something that you may have said, far from it, they can switch back to normal mode in an instant – when it suits them.

Think carefully….just for a minute…..

Have you ever witness your partner stop the act of emotional or physical abuse when interrupted unexpectedly? Have you noticed the face of anger and control dissipate, the mask changing from violent abuser back into the face of reason and normality?

For domestic violence, the abuser often directs those physical blows to the areas of your body that won’t show bruises. There may be some physical marks on those exposed features but, your arms, legs, and torso may end up black and blue. So if you think that they are acting in a mindless rage because of something that you have said or done, STOP right now and listen. An abusive man knows exactly what he is doing, he chooses when to pick on you, he chooses when and where to hit you. You do not deserve to be a punching bag, or, to be the victim at the brunt of endless disparaging comments.

Don’t wait until it is too late to make a move.
For help and support, sign up for our FREE newsletter or take time to read Emotional Abuse – Get Out of My Head and Out of My Bed! 

Emotional Abuse

It’s filled with personal stories and content that will help you to understand your situation.

 

Note: We are aware that men become the victim of abuse too and do not condone such acts, however, the majority of abuse victims are women and this site reflects the current statistics. We urge any individual who is experiencing abuse to seek help.

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Are You Recovering from Emotional Abuse? Give Yourself Some Time.

by Annette Young

If you are now in the process of recovering from emotional abuse, having escaped from the clutches of the relationship, there is bound to be a deep sense of relief. It’s also likely to be intermingled with sadness and regret, even if the relationship was beyond repair and damaging. Freedom may have been a long time in the planning, or, you may have suddenly realized that enough was enough and walked away. Whatever the circumstances; it takes time to get back to normal.

Since I wrote my book, Emotional Abuse – Get Out of My Head and Out of My Bed! I have spoken to many women who have experienced varying degrees of abuse. Some had endured a nightmarish situation for many years, scared to leave but deeply unhappy within their individual environments and afraid for their futures. Others are now free and yet feel as if they are still trapped on an emotional level. Freedom has not enabled them to feel safe or whole. Sadly emotional abuse is everywhere and if you looked into the relationships of those around you, no doubt, you would uncover some ugly realities. The stark reality is that abusive relationships exist everywhere.

Emotional and physical abuse is far more common than any of us would like to imagine. Worse, the harsh reality is that many women fall back into the clutches of an abusive relationship without realizing it. This may seem unlikely considering the traumatic and long reaching effect of abuse but, it seems that we become used to a certain type of behaviour, it becomes familiar and therefore is easier to slip back into.

The most important thing that you can do once free from a relationship is to give yourself time. It takes time to make sense of the past, to heal any emotional wounds and to then prepare for your future. Recovering from emotional abuse does not happen overnight, there is no magic wand to wave and you have to deal with the rawness of the reality and for some, this deeply rooted hurt is the hardest to overcome.

I have often found myself looking back with a sense of disbelief, questioning why I had put up with such an uncaring relationship, but, as much as we can analyse over and over, we have to accept the past and to come to terms with it. We can’t go back, we just have to learn which type of relationships are damaging and to avoid them. We cannot blame ourselves for loving someone. Everyone makes mistakes but, in time, we can work out patterns of behaviour and to identify those relationships that should be avoided. Rushing straight into another relationship is usually a mistake. It can be terrifying being on your own and starting life again, but I have no doubt that it is a better option than being with someone who wields their words like a weapon and who makes you feel bad about yourself.

 

For help and support, sign up for our FREE newsletter or take time to read Emotional Abuse – Get Out of My Head and Out of My Bed! 

Emotional Abuse

It’s filled with personal stories and content that will help you to understand your situation and to re-build your life.

 




 
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Do You Deserve Love? That is the Question

Deserving of love?

by Annette Young

We all know that relationships are difficult and what starts off as a match made in heaven, can over time splinter and fragment leaving the very foundations of the relationship beyond salvage. But many of us fall for the wrong types in a romantic sense, there is discord beneath the romantic liaison and so the relationship is doomed from the start.

If you are a naturally giving person, you may have found yourself with someone who is cold emotionally and who finds it hard to show feelings. This alone can cause conflict in a relationship. Most people search for a relationship that is built on trust and compassion; there is an intrinsic need to feel safe within any partnership and there has to be balance with mutual love and respect. Yet for so many of those who have experienced cold or abusive relationships, it can seem an ever elusive task.

While mulling over the possibilities of why some people struggle to achieve commitment and love, it made me wonder why so many of us fall for people who are so incapable of loving in return. After a great deal of analysing, I realized that many people – and this includes men and women, often feel that they are not deserving of more. When I talk to friends about this, it’s always met with mixed reactions. Who wants to admit that they feel less than worthy? But it’s easy to say yes, I deserve more, but think, is that really the truth deep down inside?

We can all say we deserve more and of course, the reality is that we all do deserve healthy relationships, no-one should ever be made to feel like a victim emotionally or physically. No-one should suffer vindictiveness or coldness within a relationship and yet it happens on a daily basis. If you ask yourself whether you deserve more, take a look at your deepest feelings confined in your very core first because it’s easy to cheat yourself into thinking one thing and yet mean something entirely different. Let’s change the question – have you ever wondered if someone  will truly want you in the future?

If your sense of self-worth is low, you may find yourself considering all the reasons why you won’t attract anyone. Perhaps you feel less than attractive? You feel unsatisfied in life in comparison to others? You feel too fat or too thin?  Low self-esteem will have you second guessing every aspect of your life and it’s  these core insecurities that cause much of the problems and make you feel less than whole. These doubts will infiltrate not just your present but your future happiness too.

If this sounds familiar, consider trying to get to the root of the reason as to why you experience less than loving relationships  and how you feel about yourself. If you have experienced damaging relationships and your confidence has been impacted, take time to build up this aspect of yourself instead before rushing into a new relationship. Your self-esteem or, lack of it will make a huge difference to the fruitfulness of future relationships.

I know I deserve much better relationships than I have experienced to date. What about you?

For help and support, sign up for our FREE newsletter or take time to read Emotional Abuse – Get Out of My Head and Out of My Bed! 

Emotional Abuse

It’s filled with personal stories and content that will help you to understand your situation.

 

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