This is a blog that Cyndall wrote and I am going to add what my take on this blog of Emotional Rape.
I do believe God, the Universe, (whatever you want to call your higher power) works in mysterious ways. I was at work doing in person readings the day Cyndall emailed me her blog. I had a client that came in for a reading. I was looking at her relationship with this man and I was not getting the greatest feelings coming from this man, it was all negative. All I kept seeing was that he treated her badly and that he had some serious issues when it came to being with a woman, or just being in a relationship. My client blurted out, he’s emotionally raping me. I looked at her and said, you know that is a good way to explain it, I have never heard of that before. When I came home that day from work, there was this email from Cyndall. I do believe there is a reason for this.
So, below you will see Cyndall’s input in a larger indented Font and my input in a smaller Font.
Recently I was talking to a client who had finally broken off her dysfunctional relationship. She has been out of major contact with her ex for approximately 26 days. She kept saying how good life looked to her now, how she could see possibilities for herself now that she had not seen before. Her thinking was different and her emotions were stable. "How the heck did I let this happen to me?" she asked. I asked got quiet and heard "She was emotionally raped".
WHAT?? In shock I repeated this to her and she got quiet and after a moment said "Not only was I emotionally raped, I also had the Stockholm Syndrome". Wow.
After we hung up I typed a question into Google. What is emotional rape?
For the sake of simplicity I am going to use 'he' as the rapist and 'she' as the victim even though this is often a reverse situation.
Unlike a physical rape, emotional rape can take months. Emotional rape is the using of someone's emotions without their consent because of a hidden agenda. The 'rapist' usually starts out being charming and very attentive. He cannot do enough for his intended victim. He shows so much appreciation and tells her how wonderful, how understanding, how beautiful she is. The 'victim' feels secure, loved and appreciated in ways she has never been before.
In my client’s case, the man was very attentive. He would show up at her house, bring her coffee, and do whatever needed to be done around her house. He would show up at the gym she would workout at. She saw this as being sweet, how nice of him.
Then things start to change. He becomes less attentive, acting distracted and distant. The 'victim' makes excuses for this. "He is going through a lot at work". He apologizes and she feels her first touch of fear, she could lose this amazing relationship. He mentions somewhat wistfully that he loves blonde hair; she runs out and gets her hair streaked. She only wants to please him. After all he has been wonderful. This starts so simply, so subtly, so insidiously, that looking back it is hard to see where it started. Eventually nothing about her makes him happy, long term. She works too much, she dresses inappropriately, she is too fat, and her boobs are too small. She starts feeling there has to be something wrong with her. Just one more thing she can do to make him happy, make him see how good she is for him and to him. And ever so often he will shamefacedly admit it (that she is wonderful) and she feels justified in her behavior. She is doing so much for him that her friends have all just disappeared. She does not have time for them because he may need her and be hurt by her choosing her friends over him, even though he does that himself, choosing his friends over her but discouraging her to go out with her own friends. "They don't like me". She knows this to be true, none of her friends approve of him or the way she has changed since meeting him.
After a year, things started changing. When they were with mutual friends he started subtly saying things to indicate she was stalking him. She would show up where they all would hang out and he would be there, but would act friendly, not at all like the man who was her lover at her home. He started to say things to her, that she did not have friends, that her hair did not look good, etc. (This client is in her 40’s and when I first saw her, I could not believe her age, she looks like she’s in her late 20’s, because she takes care of herself.) When she first came to me, she thought it was her and I kept telling her, no, it’s not you, it’s him. She believed what he was telling her and I kept telling her that this is not true. This man is trying to manipulate you. She couldn’t believe it, because he had been so nice, sweet and thoughtful to her for the past year.
The Stockholm Syndrome comes into play when a captive cannot escape (or does not want to escape) and is isolated (all her friends are gone) and threatened with death, (death of the relationship) but is shown token acts of kindness by the captor. Small acts of kindness by the captor are magnified, since finding perspective in this situation is by impossible. It typically takes about three or four days for the psychological shift to take hold.
He kept telling the mutual friends they would hang around with that it was her, that he wasn’t going out with her and that she was showing up to chase him. He would tell the friends that he was not interested in her, but at the same time he was coming to her house to see her, calling her and telling her a different story. At one point, I did tell her to change the times she went to the gym, to change her cell phone number and to try and move and not go to where the mutual friends hung out. Even her friends believed this man. She felt so alone, there was no one to talk to.
She did finally leave the situation. She knew it was not a good relationship and finally broke away from it. It was difficult because the man he seemed to be when they were alone was the man she loved. She is a stronger woman now than she was before meeting this man.
A strategy of trying to keep your captor happy in order to stay alive (keeping the relationship alive) becomes an obsessive identification with the likes and dislikes of the captor which has the result of warping your own psyche in such a way that you come to sympathize with your captor. She no longer blames him; she blames herself for not doing that one extra thing to make him happy. For talking when she should have kept quiet. For demanding attention when she should have seen he was in a bad mood. She starts feeling worthless. She is like a thermometer, always gauging his moods. She is only worthy when he is happy. If only she could see what would make him happy today, more sex, wilder sex, Chinese food, new DVD's, a backrub?
Often the 'captor' will break up with the 'victim' and after making her suffer for a time, allows her back into his life but she is constantly on probation and can be kicked out on a whim. This is not a relationship.
If you should find yourself involved in this type of relationship, however mild it may seem. If having that other person becomes more important to you than anything else, your dignity, your honor, your integrity, your job, your sense of family, your sense of self, you need professional help. My client got professional help and she is so happy to have herself back. I am too; I missed her when she was 'away'.