On labeling women as crazy, abuse begins with words - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

On labeling women as crazy, abuse begins with words

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Women who have been involved in an abusive situation are very clear about when the physical abuse began. However, it requires more time for them to go back and establish when the emotional abuse began. Rarely do women understand that if the guys they date are emotionally abusive toward them with their words, the men will usually become physically abusive. Emotional abuse is subtle, and due to its hidden agenda, more difficult to notice at times. In fact, many women will tell me words they were called, asking me if those words are abuse. The answer is yes; it's abusive to call a woman a female dog, a prostitute or other derogatory insults. It's also verbally abusive if women call men insulting or degrading names, but women's verbal abuse does not usually lead to a broken jaw or nose. Abuse runs in families, so if you came from a family where abusive names or labels were cast upon you, it won't seem odd if your boyfriend or partner labels you as stupid or crazy.

Men in our society usually call women crazy or irrational when they are frustrated or don't understand why women react the way they do with what was said. Calling a woman crazy helps the man feel as though the verbal abuse is not his fault, but rather is a problem with the person they are with. Labeling women as too sensitive, overreacting, irrational, or hysterical does not help the relationship, but instead devalues the woman, telling her there is something wrong with her. Women are socialized to go along to get along. Labeling women with a derogatory insult is a form of emotional abuse, which minimizes their feelings and tells them they are being unreasonable for feeling the way they do. When you reduce one's feelings to being stupid, it's much easier to take control and manipulate them to behave the way you want them to behave. In fact, long before a guy will hit a woman, he will make her feel as though what she thinks or feels doesn't matter.

Verbal abuse isn't always intended on the man's part, but it is effective in making the person who hears it feel worthless. Some men are conditioned from their family of origin and believe women's desires and opinions are secondary to theirs. This thinking makes it impossible to have a relationship where both partners feel loved and accepted. After all, if one of you is made to feel inferior, how can you both feel valued and supported in your feelings?

Physical abuse is more common than any of us can imagine. It is heightened during the holidays and other stressful times. It begins with how you show respect and consideration for your partner. Here is a list of subtle ways you can determine if you are in a potentially abusive relationship or dating someone who is not respectful of your feelings. Don't try to save them; you can only save yourself.

1. If someone is jealous, and that includes their need to control where you go, who you go with and when you get home, they don't want to love you, they want to control you.

2. If someone uses cuss words and insults, especially directed at women, they will eventually use these words on you.

3. If someone needs to limit your contact with your family or friends, they are trying to control you.

4. If they want to tell you what you're feeling is wrong…forget them.

5. If they want you to unilaterally invest in a place for the two of you, or they insist on you moving in with them, you'd be wise not to.

6. Any time they get so mad at you, they throw something at you or punch a hole in the wall; it's a good sign to let them go.

7. If they verbally attack you with criticism, blame or accusations, then you are being abused. Someone who loves you doesn't treat you like that.

8. If they ever hurt an animal, a child or an ex, forget what their excuse is, you will be next. Get out of the relationship.

Often when women are in a conflicted relationship they focus on trying to understand why the guy said or did what he did. When men are in a conflicted relationship, they become frustrated because their focus is on how to fix things, and they see no way to fix feelings, communication or how their partner feels. It is much easier for him to say, "She's crazy." But insults are a double edge sword. If you cannot reflect on your part and make changes to help your partner feel loved, you will never have the intimacy that goes along with two people feeling loved and cared for. The guy who says, "She's crazy," suffers as does the woman who hears the insult.

– Mary Jo Rapini

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