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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

Verbal Abuse That’s Not Easy to Spot but Indeed Very Harmful

Verbal Abuse That’s Not Easy to Spot but Indeed Very Harmful

Verbal abuse runs rampant and is the most under reported act of Domestic Violence of them all. More often than not, young girls are raised that this is how we are expected to be treated. Several groups want to point out that it’s not true.

However, 62% of tweens (ages 11-14) report that they are aware of their friends being in verbally abusive relationships. 1 in 4 teenage girls, who are in relationships, report enduring repeat verbal abuse. Tweens and teens do not just automatically subject themselves to such relationships, it’s learned behavior that stays for a long time.

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Verbal Abuse Is More Than Feeling Uneasy. It Dampens Our Spirits.

Entering into adulthood, this behavior continues. In some cases, it turns into physical and/or sexual violence. However violent the relationship can get, the verbal abuse is the most damaging to the psyche. Repeatedly exposing ourselves to verbal abuse can lead to:

  • the feeling like you are constantly on guard
  • loss of enthusiasm
  • unsure of being able to communicate effectively (you can, your abuser will convince you otherwise)
  • diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety
  • suicidal thoughts
  • trapped in the “what if” thoughts
  • feeling uneasy or paranoid for no reason

Complete Catalogue on Various Abuse Tactics

There are very specific methods to abuse and these become your warning signs. If you are newly dating someone, take note of these tactics!

Withholding

They don’t tell you everything and avoid sharing thoughts or feelings. Discussions become based only on facts with no real in-depth sharing.

Countering

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There is a tendency to be argumentative. You enjoy a movie, your abuser must tell you why the movie was awful and convince you that you are wrong. I often said that if I told my ex-husband “the sky is blue” then he would go on a long winded rant on why the sky was really green and there was something wrong with my vision.

Discounting

They are removing your rights to how you feel. You become “too” much of anything. You are too sensitive, too childish, or over-dramatic. This tactic tends to leave you feeling as if you are never quite good enough for your partner.

It’s Just a Joke

They are hiding the abuse behind the caveat “it’s just a joke”. My ex-husband would often spend plenty of time trying to shame me for something in front of other people and if I dared get upset he would say “it’s just a joke, your being too sensitive”.

Blocking and Diverting

They control all conversations. The abuser decides what you two talk about and if you change the subject, you are chastised for speaking out of turn.

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Accusing or blaming

The victim is blamed for things going “wrong” in the abusers life that is out of control for the victim. A famous example is that your appearance is all wrong and cost the abuser a potential promotion. Of course it couldn’t possibly be because the abuser wasn’t right for the promotion!

Trivializing and Undermining

They minimize your successes or passions. You may really like a particular type of food and your abuser must tell you how unspectacular it is. If you get a promotion or a raise at work, they will try to lessen the good that it makes you feel.

Threatening

This can be as simple as “if you don’t do this, I will leave you”. My ex-husband was quite subtle with his threats. His worst was when he told his friend in front of me “I am afraid of my temper. I think one day I may lose control and kill my wife”. He stared at me to see a response.

Name Calling

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It is the most popular form in which the abuser must reduce your self-esteem by using vulgar and demeaning language to describe you. It often weakens the victim to a point in which she doesn’t feel good enough about herself to leave.

Forgetting

They forget date night, forget to call, forget your birthday or anniversary. It’s an act of controlling what happens in your day to day and controlling your emotions. Forgetting your birthday hurts.

Gaslighting

The abuser changes events that have already happened. You will recall a series of events and your abuser will say something like “that is crazy, that never happened!”. Or worse, they will change the events and tell you that your memory is wrong. It’s not only an act of control, it’s meant to drive you crazy.

Projection

They pretend like you are using abuse tactics on them. Many abusers, when confronted with their acts of abuse, will try to flip the events and claim that the victim is actually the abuser. This is especially true for narcissistic abusers who can’t handle having their public image shattered.

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Several Things to Do in Face of Verbal Abuse

If you find yourself in a situation with someone using verbal abuse, your instinct will be to rationally have a discussion. The fact is, you cannot reason with an abuser. Try as you might, it just won’t stop once they know how to get under your skin.

One way to combat the abuse is to call them out for their behavior every single time it happens. Avoid using you statements such as “you are gaslighting me!”. Rather be more direct with “stop abusing me!” or “stop blaming me for things I cannot control”. They will either learn from their behavior and stop or they will move on to another person to try and abuse.

Your other option is to set boundaries and not pursue relationships with folks who do abuse you. This can be very difficult if this is a close familial relationship.

Ultimately, you should not feel obligated to endure abuse for anyone at anytime. When you set the boundary to only allow healthy relationships, you are empowering yourself to expect better treatment.

It’s important to note that verbal abuse is an act of domestic violence. It doesn’t matter if someone never lays a hand on you, verbally abusing you is harmful and damaging. If you, or anyone you love, is enduring verbal abuse please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help, 1-800-799-7233

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Angela Kunschmann

Freelance Writer

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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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