Gosh, where to start?
There’s all the personal attacks, the way they complete ignore any facts or information that goes against what they believe, the double-standards they employ, the red herrings they like to throw in, the ‘guilt by association’ tactics they pull, quoting you as saying something ridiculous you never even said, claiming to have insider knowledge or some big secret information that CHANGES THE WHOLE PICTURE but that they couldn’t possibly share with you, flat-out telling lies, questioning your level of intelligence or ethics etc
Let’s go through each one in turn, and I’ll give you some template examples (because believe me, they really just fill in the blanks, whatever the actual topic of the discussion you’re attempting to have.)
First, let’s just remind ourselves of the definition of emotional abuse:
Emotional abuse happens when someone uses words or actions to control, frighten or isolate someone, or to take away their self-respect.
1) They resort to personal attacks instead of bringing you facts, sources, evidence or additional information to back up their opinions.
Things they say:
2) They ignore any facts or information that doesn’t ‘fit’ their opinion
This can be extremely galling, because by completely ignoring all the additional pieces of information or facts that really shape the debate, and support whatever point you’re trying to make, they’re effectively closing down the whole discussion.
This is usually then compounded by them criticizing you for failing to do ‘enough research’, or for having ‘flawed scientific studies’.
When they can’t conveniently ignore the research and facts, they will then usually resort back to step 1, above and rubbish your evidence and (also you yourself, just for good measure) in a most unpleasant fashion.
Things they say:
This can take a bit of practice to spot, but they are usually accusing you of doing exactly what they themselves are doing. So for example, they’ll accuse you of making ‘blanket statements that aren’t supported by any evidence’ when that is exactly what they themselves are doing.
For example: EVERYONE they ever met agrees with their point of view.
Or, they'll tell you that you're being narrow-minded, judgmental and intolerant when that’s what they are.
They’ll come after you for being ‘unscientific’, or ‘passing-off opinion as fact’, or for not having enough research, or the right research WHILE ALL THE TIME FAILING TO PROVIDE ANY FACTS OR EVIDENCE OF THEIR OWN.
If pressed to give specific, external details to support their own opinions, they usually go ballistic and revert back to step, 1 above - rubbishing you and your evidence.
A particularly favorite double-standard that’s often employed by emotionally-abusive people is where they’ll make a big show of questioning your professionalism, knowledge, ability to think straight, ‘expertise’ etc - when they themselves often lack any sort of professionalism, knowledge or ability to think (that last one, especially.)
Things they say:
This is when the emotionally-abusive person can see that they’re not doing very well getting their ‘mud’ to stick to you, so then they start going off on tangents that have nothing to do with the actual discussion.
Things they say:
This is where the emotionally-abusive person starts comparing you to the dregs of humanity, and finding all sorts of ‘similarities’ between you and genocidal maniacs like the Son of Sam, or suicide bombers etc.
Things they say:
Emotionally-abusive people are no strangers to telling whopping lies about things, including putting words in your mouth, and denying the things that they themselves have said.
Things they say:
7) Claiming to have secret insider information, knowledge or expertise that changes the whole picture (and makes you WRONG!!!)
This can be so infuriating, because on the one hand they’re flat-out ignoring or rubbishing your evidence and facts, while claiming to have some sort of ‘secret’ superior understanding or information that they couldn’t possibly share with a moron like you…
You can’t argue with ‘secret information’ - which is why it’s secret. If it was real, or convincing, they’d give it to you.
Things they say:
8) Telling lies
Emotionally-abusive people will tell lies about just about everything, but they’ll especially lie about how BAD / judgmental / unqualified / dangerous / nasty / wrong you are, and how above reproach, well-informed, open-minded, qualified to have an opinion, reasonable and objective they are.
9) Sandwiching (aka, switch n’ bait)
This is where emotionally-abusive people sandwich their jaw-droppingly horrible insults and abusive comments in between more reasonable statements, which can be very confusing when you don’t know what you’re dealing with, as you try to persuade yourself that the nasty stuff must be some sort of mistake or oversight, when it isn’t at all.
Things they say:
Emotional abuse is rife. Most of us are probably experiencing some serious form of emotional abuse every single day (especially if we’re doing things online.) Emotional abuse causes all sorts of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties to the people who are subjected to it, including depression, anxiety, panic attacks and profound feelings of self-hatred, guilt and worthlessness.
If we really want the world to change for the better, and to start tackling the causes of mental illness at its root, then it’s time we looked this problem straight in the face, and uprooted it from our lives, relationships and communities.
You know, every year for the last three years, I’ve been thinking to myself: ‘wouldn’t it be great if someone would put together some sort of interactive journal, that would take you day-by-day through each step of the 49 days of Counting the Omer, to get the most out of the process, and to really tap in to the spiritual power for growth, change and transformation, that each day represents?’
Well, this year, I finally decided that I should be that ‘someone’ – and miracle of miracles, not only did God help to pull the material together, He also arranged that it should actually be designed and ready to buy this week!
(If you’ve ever published a book yourself, you will know that this process can sometimes take many months, or even years, and even then it can still hit a bunch of ‘bumps’ on the road.)
So without any further ado, let me introduce you to:
49 Days – An Interactive Journal of Self-Development
In the next post, I'll tell you a little more about it, what it can help you to do, in terms of getting to know yourself better, and working out what it is you REALLY want to be doing in life. I'll also give you a sneak peek at some of the pages, as they're full colour and beautifully-designed, to help encourage your creative and spiritual growth processes.
What are mind-maps?
I've been doing mind-maps for more than 15 years, and I've done hundreds of them, both for myself, and also as a mind-map facilitator for other people. I first found out about mind-maps when a business consultant friend of mine told me about how useful they could be for organising the new PR business I was trying to set up at the time.
That first mind-map blew me away. It took all the stuff that was blocking up my head, and got it out of my brain, and down onto paper, in a way that made it so much easier for me to figure out what needed to happen, how, when, and why.
(This sort of organisational mindmap is invaluable for when you have a big project to do, and you need to set down clear processes, goals and priorities.)
So over the next few days, I'm going to teach you how to do your own mind maps, here on the JEMI website. But mind maps are NOT just about getting organised. You can also use them for some very profound emotional work, too.
Deeper applications for mind-maps
The beauty of mind-maps is that you can apply the same basic mind-mapping tools to almost every area of your life - even very deep emotional stuff. Mind-maps can also help you to find answers to big questions like: 'what do I want to really do with my life?' Or: 'what's going to really make me happy?' Or: 'what should my priorities in life really be?'
Questions like this can often seem so overwhelming and confusing, not least because so much seems to hanging on the final decision. Doing a mind-map can give you instant clarity about what's really going on in a particular area or your life; or how you might want a particular area of your life to improve or change.
You'll get detailed destructions for how do this sort of deeper sort of mind-map a little later on this week, in the 'Big Interview' mind-map example.
These sort of mind-maps can save you thousands of bucks in therapy bills; give you instant clarity and direction; and you can apply them to literally anything you want.
Another advantage to mind-maps is that once you learn the basic skills, you can also start showing your friends and families how to do them, too. But if you start facilitating other people's mind-maps, you have to remember one very important rule (especially if you're doing a mind-map where you have a personal interest vested in the outcome):
Each person's mind-map has to reflect their own ideas, opinions, preferences and desires - not yours!
Facilitate all you want, make suggestions, set a direction - but encourage the person you're helping to express what they truly think and feel, otherwise the mind-map won't reflect their reality, and will be a waste of time.
Example: The High School mind-map
Let's say you want to help your kid to decide what high school, college, or course to go to. As the parent, you probably have your own preferences, but in order for a mind-mapping exercise to work, you'll have to put all your ideas aside, and give your child the space to see what THEY really want.
This is often very hard for a parent to do, so if you can't approach the mind-map in a neutral way, either don't do, or get someone else to facilitate it.
But if you're happy to help your child to discover what they actually want and prefer, then a mind-map can be an amazing way of enabling your teen to find their own clarity.
In this particular example, the teen in question got some very useful insight into herself as a result of doing a mind-map, and realized she actually didn't want the 'top' school she'd applied to. As a result, she decided to go to a school that was more laid-back, academically, but otherwise a much better fit for her in every other way.
In the next post, I'll teach you the basic rules of how to do successful mind maps.
As a child, Angie was subjected to years of ongoing abuse. No-one stood up for her; no-one protected her; the main abuser was a 'beloved uncle', and Angie's parents simply wouldn't hear a word against him.
Angie got no validation, no support and certainly no acknowledgement of what she was going through.
Fast-forward a few decades, and the now grown-up Angie got sent a number of very difficult circumstances that made her realize she had to go back and deal with what had happened to her as a child.
She did all the right things: she found a counsellor; she enrolled in group therapy; she stuck with the program for a couple of years, waiting for the magic moment when the 'breakthrough' would come, and she'd at last be free of her onerous past.
But that didn't happen.
What happened instead, is that Angie found herself constantly reliving her trauma, and her sense of helplessness, worthlessness and shame, with her therapists constantly telling her that 'once she found her voice, and started to stand up for herself', her problems would disappear and life would be great.
So Angie did as she was told, and tried to 'find her voice'. She started angrily bossing her children around; she started aggressively demanding things from her husband; she set some very big standards of behaviour for the people around her - and slowly, slowly, she started to alienate everybody.
Let's be clear that firm boundaries and reasonable expectations are a wonderful thing. The problem was not that Angie was starting to recognize her own needs and to express them; the problem was that she was looking for the solution to 'having no voice' in the wrong place.
The only person who was ever going to truly enable Angie to get her voice back was…Angie herself.
But before that could happen, a few things had to change. The first, and main, change is that Angie had to put God back in the picture. Practically speaking, that meant that instead of viewing herself purely as being a 'victim', Angie had to somehow come to the understanding that the fact that she'd endured such a huge test actually showed her spiritual strength.
God never sends a person a challenge they can't stand up in, even though at the time you're sure it's going to break you into pieces. And the truth is that if you don't have God in the picture, your challenges can break you very easily.
Angie started working on developing an honest relationship with God, where she spoke to Him regularly, and told Him everything on her mind - including how angry she was at Him, for giving her such a terrible childhood.
Once she'd reconnected back to God, the next part of the equation was for Angie to start reconnecting back to her true self. And I'll tell you more about that in the next post.
A week before Passover, I came down with a really bad cough. It was so bad, I was up in the night for five days' solid, coughing my guts out, and I started to wonder if I'd developed pneumonia, God-forbid.
It kind of half went away over the week of Passover itself, but then it roared back with a vengeance, and I started to feel really run down and ill again.
Now, one of the main reasons I started JEMI is because I wanted to share all the things I've learned about how your soul and your emotions directly impact your health - and here, God gave me a real-time example.
Whenever I was doing business development stuff, my throat would feel like it was closing up, and I'd start getting the cough, or the proverbial frog-in-the-throat. Whenever I started worrying about paying the rent, my throat would go funny. Whenever I started discussing future plans, the throat would go, and I'd start to feel distinctly unwell.
It took weeks for the penny to drop, that I didn't just have a chest infection: God was trying to send me some important message, here, and if I wanted to start feeling better, I needed to try to work it out.
What's the message?
First, I talked to God about it all, and I got a little bit of clarity - but I could feel that I was still missing some big part of the subconscious picture.
So then, I did a TAT session focussing on the problem that I had a cough, and my throat was hurting.
Ten minutes later, I started to get a load of insights flooding up: the throat is directly connected to your self-expression, and your purpose in life. These are both areas that have been pretty challenging for me recently.
But that wasn't all. The throat is also the bridge between your intellect and your heart. When you're telling yourself that you believe something, or think a certain way, when you don't actually really believe it in your heart, one of the first places that dissonance affects is your throat.
So then I started asking God for a clue to show me: what ideas or beliefs was I paying lip-service to, that was affecting my throat so badly?
The throat is connected to self-expression
A few minutes later, I had an answer: I've been through a very challenging few years recently, including a failed business, massive financial issues that forced the sale of my home, and a move to a completely different city and environment.
Now, I'm picking up the pieces, and trying to move forward again.
I thought I'd dealt with all the massive challenges I'd had, and accepted that they were all for the best. And it's true, I had - but only in my head.
But in my heart?
There was a different vibe going on. In my heart, I was still feeling pretty traumatised, betrayed and distrustful. Somewhere deep, deep down, I realized that I don't trust God to come through for me, and to actually help me turn things around and start to build my life again.
Every time I was working on my new business, or writing my new book, a little internal voice was piping at me: "There's no point. It's just going to end in failure again. You're just wasting your time, doing this."
Mentally, I was trying to shut it up, and not pay any attention to it - which is why it was getting all 'stuck' in my throat.
Remember, your throat is connected to self-expression and sense of purpose.
Wow! Who knew?
Now, the question is what do you do with all that information? How do you resolve the gap between what you want to believe, and what you're actually feeling?
There's one answer, and only one answer: Ask God for help.
In the meantime, as soon as I got the message, my throat started to feel much, much better.
There may be more parts to the message, who knows. But I got the installment I needed to get for now, and also some insight into what they're really talking about, when they say that you need to 'cough things up'.