Mental Health: Abuse and Toxic Guilt
The DSM V is choke full of psychiatric diagnosis’s that run the gamut from chronic mental illness to temporary disorders, from inheritable conditions to acquired conditions, from no capacity to feel remorse, guilt and shame to mentally disabling admission to guilt, shame and remorse. For those people falling into the last categorization – persistent mentally disabling admission to guilt, shame and remorse – it is time for them to rethink their “badness” and begin to re-frame how they see themselves and start to live a life of joy and pleasure.
The human psyche is fascinating and complex. No one, at this point in time, really understands how it works. We have good guesses and some medical facts, but not thorough understanding. We do understand what we can see and observe in ourselves and others but not what is really happening in the depths of our constitution. Being addicted to abuse is an example of how complicated the psych is. Why would anyone want to be in an abusive relationship? What does the victim of the abuse got out of the relationship? How can someone addicted to abusive relationships kick the habit and get on with life?
You’re probably familiar with addictions and mental health disorders like alcoholism, bipolar disorder, and heroin addiction, but there are many other addictions out there.
People who are addicted to being abused and keep getting into abusive relationships are great deniers. They are experts at telling themselves what is happening to them isn’t as bad as it looks and that the abuser really isn’t being abusive. All they have to do is stick with the person and one day he/she will discover how wonderful they are and then they will have a relationship made in heaven. Geez! Every so often an abuse addict will get a meager handout of something seemingly kind and loving from the abuser and they have this sense of euphoria “an adrenaline high” that reinforces to them that they are the problem, not the abuser. This is not true forgiveness and letting go, but often another mind game.
When someone, who is addicted to abuse, senses they are in a bad relationship and tries to get out of it, they often find that the abuse increases. This new level of abuse starts to erode what little self-esteem is left in a person. The guilt and shame they feel, about not being strong enough to kick their habit, increases exponentially. When an abuser senses they may be losing ground with their victim, they often resort to the ploy of being nice and saying the things the victim wants to hear. They suck up big time to restore the domination of power in the relationship.
The victim feels joy while in the suck up phase. The victim feels like they have been vindicated. They really are lovable and their true soul-mate has finally discovered how valuable and dear they are to them. When the suck up phase ends, and it always does, the abuser is even more brutal emotionally and unfortunately often physically. The victim feels even more duped, dumb, stupid, weak and unlovable than ever.
For someone who is in an addictive abusive relationship, it is important to seek help and counseling. Not from friends, but from a trained therapist who can challenge the false beliefs they have about themselves and can guide them to seeing the pattern in their life. In many cases, this pattern was set in childhood by an abusive parent or older sibling etc. The addiction to abuse is about the past and not a person’s character or who they are. Realization of this fact often helps people start to see the cause of the addiction and to begin to be able to unravel its roots.