16 Signs that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship

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16 Signs that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship

I learned that abuse is not always a clear-cut issue (e.g. someone either hits me or doesn’t; either someone puts me down or doesn’t; someone either attempts to control me in very visible ways or doesn’t). Emotional and mental abuse can be difficult to spot. Abusers can be adept at creating emotional instability in a very subtle way.

Listed below are examples of emotionally abusive behaviour:

1) Silent treatment. often won’t tell you why he is ignoring you either.

2) Controlling, makes the rules

3) Jealous, possessive

4) Critical and judgemental

5) Instills fear – has you walking on eggshells. a supportive relationship is supportive, brings out best in you and encourages you. An abusive partner’s insecurities means they like to keep you down so that you do not get too big for your boots. They need to be in control and keep you with low confidence.

6) You feel a lot of self doubt in the relationship, lose confidence, become indecisive and this leads to lowered self esteem.

7) Selfish, narcissistic.all about them and their needs

8) Negative body language – tutting, sighing, rolling eyes.

9) condescending language – why are you doing that? why have you put that there? what made you think that? Constantly undermining you

10) Passive aggressive – subtle non direct ways to thwart you and frustrate you, leave you feeling crazy. They find it difficult to be assertive and direct but will make sure you get the message and feel their disapproval in some way or another.

11) Tease you and then mock you when you get upset – so sensitive. There is no care for your feelings

12) You may start feeling you need permission to do things

13) It’s somehow always your fault, never theirs. Abusers are good at twisting things. Blame shifting occurs frequently

14) Accuse you of things that arent true

15) Implies that you lie

16) Withholding approval, appreciation and affection as punishment

Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde

Very rarely do abusers conform to the stereotypical image of a constantly harsh, nasty or violent person, either in public or in private. More frequently the abuser portrays a perfectly normal and pleasant picture to the outside world (often they have responsible jobs or are respected and important members of the local community or Church) and reserves the abuse for you in the privacy of your own home. Nor are abusers always overtly abusive or cruel, but can display apparent kindness and consideration. This Jeckyll and Hyde tendency of the abuser serves to further confuse the victim, while protecting themselves from any form of suspicion from outsiders. Many victims describe “sudden” changes in mood – one minute nice and the next explosive or hysterical, or one minute happy and the next minute sad. This does not indicate some special “mental problem” but are typical of abusive personalities, and related to other characteristics such as hypersensitivity.

Emotional abuse is incredibly destructive. If you have the slightest suspicion that you are in a relationship with an abusive person seek help as soon as possible. Abusers very rarely change their behaviour. They will slowly chip away at your confidence and self-esteem-don’t give them this power. There abusive behaviour is not your fault.

Mandy X


Get Help:  www.womensaid.org.uk


Fear of starting over


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Fear of starting over

Dealing with change is stressful for most of us. Humans are creatures of habits and the unknown can be very unsettling. Unfortunately the moment we think about change, our thoughts turn negative and we tend to focus on all can go wrong. Our insecurities and self limiting beliefs start to run riot. Think about how differently you would approach life if you knew you couldn’t fail. Do you think you would be more adventurous? Life is a series of trials and tribulations and we are all here to complete and learn from certain life lessons.

It saddens me when I think about the numerous clients that I see whose stay stuck in unfulfilling and unhappy relationships. When they talk about starting over, they rarely see the positives of making changes. At times I can get through to them when I asked them what the disadvantages will be of staying in the current unhappy situation. But still the fear of loneliness seems greater than the pursuit of happiness.

Starting over does involve a leap of faith. It helps to have high self-esteem and a strong sense of inner resilience that you can deal with whatever comes your way. It’s also about knowing that you deserve a life full of opportunity and that achieving your true potential may never come about if you fear change too much.

Starting over is never as frightening as the anticipation of starting over is. I know this from personal experience. Looking back, life hasn’t gone quite according to plan that I know that in terms of personal development I have made huge strides. Had I not taken the leap of faith I am certain that I would still be fearful, lacking in confidence and less worldly wise. I want to be able to look back on my life and know that I gave myself the best chances to experience life as fully as possible. I had the same fears as many of my clients-will I find somebody else? Will I regret my decision? Will anybody love me with a child in tow and health complications (cystic fibrosis)? Isn’t it easier just stay with what I know?

The more you see yourself as an independent person experiencing life in various stages without becoming too attached to any one thing specifically, the more you are likely to learn from the world around you and grow as a person. The brave, shake it up a little and have faith in your ability to deal with whatever comes your way.

Mandy X


Photo by mitramirae

Happiness isn’t always a good thing


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Happiness isn’t always a good thing

Happiness is often a byproduct of other life experiences. When we try to force it, it often ends up outside of our grasp. When we focus solely on feeling happiness we can end up disappointed and with decreased happiness as a result. It is the expectation that we set up and the result that we feel disappointed by that works against us feeling happy.

Believe it or not, being too cheerful can lead to problems as well. For some people it is so important to be happy that they deny their unhappiness, and as a result they are unable to remedy the underlying sadness. One study followed children from the 1920’s to old age. Researchers found that those that had died younger with the same people rated as very cheerful by their teachers.

Feeling happy inappropriately can also put you on a downer. It shows a level of unhealthy thinking when happiness results from the misfortune of others. This time of inappropriate happiness often occurs in people with mania.

Psychological scientists have discovered this that what appears to truly increase happiness, that is the strongest predictor of happiness is not money or external recognition through success or fame. Real happiness comes from meaningful social relationships. The best way to increase happiness is to stop worrying about being happy and direct your focus to the relationships you have with people.



References: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110516162219.htm

Photo by symphony of love

Money can buy happiness up to a point


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Money can buy happiness up to a point

We all need money to survive. With our basic needs are met and we have shelter and food and basic necessities, happiness levels naturally increase. Economists have shed light on whether money can buy happiness and from the results it appears that life satisfaction decreases among people living in the wealthier countries.

A new analysis led by Eugenio Proto at the University of Warwick, found that as expected, the poorest countries enjoyed increased levels of happiness as people were able to meet their basic needs. However, once that income reaches a certain point ($36,000-approximately £25,000 per year), life satisfaction levels peak after which it appears to dip slightly in the wealthier countries.

The reason for this drop in life satisfaction is due to the fact that with more money comes higher aspirations. If these aspirations are not met this leads to a dip in happiness. The inevitable comparisons ensue and the typical case of “keeping up with the Joneses” becomes evident. When we feel deprived we feel less happy. It is human nature to always want more and this gap between our actual income and the inconvenience aspire to have can be the source of discontent.

It makes sense therefore to foster an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for what we have in life rather than a constant hankering for what we do not have. There will always be those with more and always those with less. The trick is to focus on our own goals and our own progress.

Mandy X

Photo by Materials Aart

How to Build resilience and happiness within you

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How to build resilience and happiness within you

If you want to be unhappy, make sure that you gain your self esteem and validation from external sources and temporary pleasures. The most insightful and wise way to improve contentment is to build a strong inner core within yourself of self acceptance – a core that cannot be taken away by something external. How precarious will your confidence be if it relies upon someone treating you a certain way? How sad it is if a person lacks the necessary skills to comfort you and connect with you – internalising another person’s lack and personalising this lack so that you end up blaming yourself is a true pity.

You can’t control others so never base your worth on their behaviour. If someone does not treat you in a loving way, it does not automatically mean that you are not loveable. Never jump to this conclusion. Take complete responsibility for your own happiness and don’t expect someone else to make you happy. If they do see it as a bonus but not as the only way to feel good about yourself.

You can choose to feel happy now. Watch any talk that goes like this: “I will be happy when I am in a relationship” or “I will be happy when I am rich, thinner, more popular etc”.

Happiness is an inside job – you carry it around with you by the way you see yourself and the interpretations you make about the world and people around you. We all have insecurities and other people can be huge triggers for our feelings of self doubt.

Here are suggestions to help you build you inner self-love-core:

1) Remind yourself regularly of your strengths and achievements.

2) Make a list of things you like about yourself and keep it nearby – read it regularly.

3) Don’t compare yourself to others. Instead compare yourself to where you have come from. Look at how far you have progressed in your life. We are all on our own path of enlightenment.

4) See yourself as separate from how others treat you. Never associate your level of worth and love according to how others treat you – especially when their behaviour is negative. Their bad behaviour is more likely to be about them and their lack, than about you.

5) Regularly talk to yourself in a positive way – examples: “I am good company”, “I have a great sense of humour”, “Why wouldn’t anyone want to spend time with me?”. We all find it easy to look at our faults – stop doing that. It won’t help you, it will just make you feel sad. We all have faults, just focus on the good stuff. Watch the negative self talk – it is so destructive.

6) “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. – Eleanor Roosevelt. Other people will have their opinions and you will not be able to please everyone, so be true to yourself and follow your heart. There will always be the ‘judgers’. Be happy, be in your bubble. Protect your happiness and self worth at all costs. No one is worth taking that from you.

Mandy X

Visiting Los Angeles


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Visiting Los Angeles

Visiting Los Angeles was one of the highlights of the last five years. In 2012, I was in between relationships, feeling lost and directionless. I decided on a whim to go to Los Angeles for a break. I had always wanted to go and it just so happened that a friend of mine planned to be in Santa Monica at the same time. I managed to see him for a day or two while I was there.

So I booked my flights (and then worried about whether I was mad and whether I was doing the right thing). One of my happiest moments was driving in the sunshine on the highway between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. I had the roof on the car down and was listening to Jack FM. Music and sunshine are always a good combination for me…a cocktail really would’ve been the cherry on top!

I thought I was quite brave – I arrived after midnight in Los Angeles, I then had to take a bus to the car rental place, drive a left hand drive car on the ‘wrong side’ of the road at 2am trying to find my hotel! Amazingly I made it.

I spoilt myself by booking a few nights in an expensive hotel (The SLS in Beverly Hills) and then also spent a few nights in a more reasonably priced hotel in Santa Monica – very good value for money as the location couldn’t have been better yet it didn’t cost too much (The Hotel Carmel).

I spent time on the beach, visited Hollywood walk and drove up to the Hollywood Hills.

One of the most AMAZING restaurants that I ate in was called Mastro’s – highly recommended. The enjoyed lobster mash, ate the most delicious steaks and the most divine dessert I have ever tasted. I ate so much that I had to leave the restaurant with my dress zip undone! (Oink Oink).

Here are a few pics to give you an idea:

If you are considering travelling alone but aren’t sure – do your research but make the effort to go. It can feel scary but it empowered me and I returned to the UK with greater confidence.

Fun Activity Rating 9/10 would definitely do it again!!

Mandy X


Photo by “Caveman Chuck” Coker

The illness of busyness


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The Illness of ‘busyness’

The modern day affliction of busyness is taking us off the right track. Our existence no longer seems to be about reflection, mindfulness and living with intent and purpose. Instead it has become a race, but a race where there are no real winners. The ‘finish line’ is really the same for all of us. When I have spoken to elderly people, not one of them ever told me that they wished they had worked harder. All of them have told me they wished they had slowed down, appreciated the people in their life and lived more in the moment.

Unfortunately, I know I am one of those fighting the illness of busyness. A few months can go by before I see a friend again and I often wonder where time has gone and what I have actually done that was worthwhile during this lost time. Of course, there is the promise that busyness can lead to increased wealth. We also feel busier because of information overload. We are bombarbed by information constantly.

The problems come when we fool ourselves into thinking we have a good successful life because we are busy. Many people feel guilt when they have free time and use it in a self serving way rather than  fill it with something. The wise ones are those that appreciate that spare time and use it to savour the moment. To stop and appreciate life around them.

Busyness saps our energy, it leaves us with a robotic way of life where we do things because it is what we have always done. Being busy helps us ignore underlying issues such as true contentment and whether we really are happy with our lives. Many of my clients feel the need to constantly be busy. They use work as an excuse to hide from the more important things in life – like connecting with others, being in tune with ourselves and engaging in activities that reach us on a deeper level of satisfaction. As a result, I see clients who are running through their lives blindfolded, only to wake up when their health starts to fail or there is a bereavement that forces them to look at the bigger picture.

The bigger picture has to do with going deeper than the surface stuff of the daily commute, the housework and the drinks down at the pub/restaurant. It’s about the wonder of nature, the stars, spirituality,  global warming, poverty, extinction and corruption in the world, to name a few. It is easier to keep busy, stick our heads in the sand and carry on being busy than it is to really look at what is going on and use our energy to make a difference in whatever small way we can.

We all have different priorities, but if history can teach us anything, it is that we all want the same things – love, stability, peace and a sense of belonging.Being busy is unlikely to bring you this important stuff. It’s all about balance.

Mandy X

being busy



Living with a passive aggressive person


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Living with a passive aggressive person

Think you’re going nuts? Full of self doubt? You might be dealing with a passive aggressive person. Passive  aggressive people deny other people’s needs and feelings. They close off opportunities to address issues that focus on how they can get their own way. In other words, they are very difficult to live with and they leave the recipient with self-doubt and frustration.

Passive aggressive behaviour is often an immature reaction to weaken or thwart a person they perceive to be more powerful than them. A passive aggressive person fractures relationships that would otherwise thrive. Most passive aggressive behaviour is driven by anger and fear is its hidden secret. Passive aggressive behaviour can be difficult to spot at first. People with this behaviour are very good at creating discrepancies between how they pretend to be and how they act. You’re always receiving mixed messages because they want to be seen as the good guy but their behaviour hints at a more complicated underlying hostility.

Living with a passive aggressive person will probably leave you feeling unsettled and insecure. The passive aggressive person is reluctant to assert themselves directly, in a firm but tactful way. They  fear self-assertion mistaking it for unleashed aggression. Denial and avoidance offer a safe haven to the passive aggressive person. The passive aggressive person pretends to be passive when in fact they are not that way at all. Aggression is the other side of the issue. Lack of self-esteem is shared by all passive aggressive people. They will often pretend to be sweet or compliant, but beneath this superficial demeanour lies a different core. They are often angry, petty, envious and selfish.

The key to this passive aggressive personality is the fear underlying their aggression. Once you know this you will be empowered to act differently and try to change the relationship, or decide to leave. Many passive aggressive people will sulk rather than raise their voices, explode in rage or come clean about what’s bothering them. Passive aggressive’s contain their anger but their message comes through loud and clear-I am angry and it’s your fault.

A good example of passive-aggressive behaviour: they have promised to help you move furniture but they failed to show up. You then get a call at midnight saying “why don’t you calm down? I didn’t call sooner because you said you needed more time to yourself… Remember?”

The passive-aggressive person will absorb your anger and when they do not respond your frustration rises and you show your irritation. This is what the passive-aggressive wants. They want to work you into a lather, confirming their impression of you as overbearing, emotionally volatile and untrustworthy and they become the wounded party. They are very good at twisting the truth and somehow it is never their fault.

Another ploy to get you off the subject and sabotage a fair fight is the empty apology, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it”. It’s usually meaningless. If the apology is genuine they will follow it up with a change in their behaviour.

How to deal with a passive aggressive person

The trick to dealing with submerged hostility is to bring it out into the open. Take a non-critical stance. A passive-aggressive person holds a fear of being hurt. When you retaliate, you effectively play into his dynamic, further fuelling the passive-aggressive’s anger. The second dynamic is their fear of hurting you and letting a passive aggressive person wantonly vent their anger on you in a hurtful way is very destructive. Expressing anger should be done in a constructive way with boundaries. Free expression of anger is a testament to the strength of a relationship, not to its fragility. Relationships that don’t acknowledge anger are much more brittle. The problem with the passive-aggressive person is that their fight is not part of their repertoire. They are used to other behaviour-clouding issues, sulking or sarcasm. They will not clarify what’s bothering them and they sometimes seem itching to pick a fight for no reason at all. Fighting with the passive-aggressive person is particularly tiresome because they’re always telling you how they have been victimised. They turn the tables every time.

Since they are super sensitive to criticism, call attention to the problem between tactfully. Many passive-aggressive people do grow up and change. Anger and aggression on natural emotions/behaviour. To be less angry is not the answer. Accepting anger is the solution.

Mandy X

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Photo by State Farm

Photo by Brett Jordan


References: Living with the passive aggressive man – Scott Wetzler PHD.