Emotional abuse can be done in several ways, ranging from narcissism, manipulation, even verbal to physical abuse. No matter how violent you are to others, there are ways you can stop doing it. Acknowledging violent behavior and beginning to apologize and make amends to victims can help you resolve past violence, as well as prevent possible future violence.
Part 1 of 3: Troubleshooting
Step 1. Admit that you were emotionally abusive
Recognizing the problem and acknowledging violence against others are the first steps you can take to change your behavior. Take some time to look at the impact of violence on others so that you become aware of the extent or seriousness of your violence.
- If you're not sure whether the behavior you're exhibiting is violent, pay attention to how to identify emotional abuse. Some examples include the use of abusive and aggressive language (eg, such as calling out insults, cursing, and humiliating others). The desire to control others through intimidation, threats, and surveillance or withholding of money, as well as physical acts such as withholding food or drink, hitting, and pushing hard are also examples of violence.
- Contact the National Commission on Violence Against Women or the Commission on Child Protection if your behavior includes physical violence against a family member or partner.
- It is important to remember that people who commit violence against others have experienced violence before. Maybe you can talk to a therapist about being abused so you can forget what happened and stop treating other people the same way.
Step 2. Identify the source of the behavior
By identifying the source of the behavior, you can understand the origin of the stress and the pressure that triggers the behavior. The person you are angry with or emotionally abusing may not be the source of the problem, but the victim of the situation. If you have problems in your life that are difficult to control, you may find it easier to scold or vent your emotions on others who are weaker, including people who have nothing to do with the real problem.
- Take some time to think about the factors in your life that trigger stress, such as work, conflicts with loved ones or partners, or financial problems.
- Ask yourself questions such as “Am I too stressed at work?”, “Are there any resolved issues that haunt me?”, or “Are there events in the past that affect my current behavior?”
- Think about whether you have ever used illegal drugs or abused alcoholic beverages. Use of illegal drugs can trigger violent behavior.
Step 3. Remove the source of negative behavior from life
Once you identify the source or cause of your violence, you can take steps to remove it from your life. While you may feel relieved after removing these factors, there are actually a lot of other behaviors and effects that need to be addressed to actually stop the emotional abuse you inflict on others.
- Talk to a friend or family member about the possibility of quitting your current job if it is very stressful for you.
- Seek financial advice from a financial planner if you're having trouble paying off debt or living without debt.
- If you think your negative behavior stems from an unresolved conflict or past trauma, try seeking help from a therapist or counselor.
Part 2 of 3: Changing Behavior
Step 1. Listen to the experiences of others
Take the time to sit down with people who have been victims of your violence and listen to their experiences so you know what the violence was like and the impact it had on the person. Listening to stories of victims of violence may make you feel attacked or accused. However, instead of responding violently to his story, try to listen to him carefully until the end, without responding right away.
- Listen to other people's stories without getting defensive or making excuses. It's natural to feel defensive, but if others are hurt by your behavior, remember that what you did was violent.
- Don't equate, belittle, or ignore her experience.
- Don't make yourself the center of other people's stories or experiences.
Step 2. Demonstrate responsibility
Take responsibility for all the violence you do in the relationship. While there may be different sources or causes of violence, you are the only person who can prevent yourself from being violent to others. Taking responsibility and carrying out a mandate requires great courage, but it is necessary so that you can understand and change negative behaviors that exist.
When talking about violence, use "I" pronouns to start your sentences, such as "I overruled you when I didn't want you to leave the house without me," or "What was it like when I controlled you?"
Step 3. Respect other people's feedback
Don't expect compassion from victims of violence at this stage, but show a willingness to seek support from trusted friends and family members. The goal of maintaining trust and taking responsibility for your violence is not really getting others to forgive you, but changing yourself and respecting others. Victims of violence may not be able to forgive you yet, and taking advantage of your sense of responsibility to seek forgiveness from them may lead to you being seen as another phase in the dynamic of violence.
Remember that no one is obligated to forgive you. It takes time for someone to forgive you and, of course, you can't force someone to forgive you right away
Step 4. Forgive yourself
Admitting guilt and taking responsibility is actually a form of self-help because you can find out how and why you hurt another person, and how to stop the violence. Even if the victim of violence isn't ready to forgive you, try to forgive yourself so you can leave your violent tendencies behind and bury them in the past.
Remind yourself of a commitment to change by saying, “Violence towards others is a choice and I will do my best to change my behavior” or “I can change my behavior with patience, the right help, and hard work.”
Part 3 of 3: Getting Help
Step 1. Seek help from a therapist, counselor, or life coach
There are various types of specialized therapy available, from cognitive behavioral therapists, group therapy, family therapy, to journal therapy. Find the therapist that best fits the type of therapy that you feel is most appropriate for you.
- Life coaches can also provide consistent long-term strategies for self-improvement. However, some coaches are not trained to handle more serious types of behavior or physical abuse.
- Take cognitive behavioral therapy if you want to process a traumatic experience, such as previous violence, the loss of a loved one, or a sense of disconnection from others that may have triggered your own violence.
- Take family or group therapy if violence occurs in a relationship with a spouse, children, or sibling.
- You can also search for support groups. Try looking into groups like Emotions Anonymous to learn how to deal with difficult emotions.
Step 2. Discuss the situation with friends and family
By asking friends and family for advice, you can get another point of view and support when dealing with negative behavior. Friends and family can provide important support to improve and help yourself.
- Schedule weekly phone chats with friends or family members to find out and evaluate your progress in therapy, discussions with victims of violence, or simply your overall condition.
- Make sure you contact people you feel comfortable talking about honestly about the violence.
Step 3. Contact a domestic violence aid agency
If the violence begins to be physical, immediately contact a domestic violence assistance agency, such as the National Commission for the Protection of Women or the Commission for Child Protection so that you know what steps to take next. Commissions like these also give you access to international support groups and resources on interventions that can be taken to prevent violence.