Thank you for finding this for us!
Take a peek at an earlier chapter from the same blog.
"One of the main concepts of the book is: "You, and only you, create all of your feelings" (the book referred to is "The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse" by Albert Ellis and Marcia Grad Powers. The author states the book can be of use but states there is an important area where she does have a disagreement.
Well, ur, not really.
"If that were true there would be no such a thing as verbal abuse.
*If it were only our interpretation of events that hurts us then one could say, "Its not abuse when your husband calls you a fat, ugly, stupid, worthless ****, it's just your interpretation of the event that leads you to feel bad." Give me a break....'The worst part for me isn't the actual words, it is that this person who claims to love me, my husband, is trying make me feel bad, whether I accept his assessment of me or not.
"You could be a fashion model with a genuis IQ and still be hurt, not because you believe the words
, but because your husband
spoke them, and tried to make you feel "less than".
"You, and only you, create all of your feelings" is no more true than the old "sticks & stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" routine.
"Or the classic "I'm not responsible for your feelings". Where did that come from? Is it some co-dependency recovery run amok?
" I usually hear someone say "I'm not responsible for his/her feelings" from people who have just done something particularly shitty to another person and now wish to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the harm they caused. But I digress.
The person who wrote this blog has reached the heart of the matter. The horror/shock quotient is not always the content of the message, but is often influenced by WHO DELIVERS THAT MESSAGE.
The term 'verbal abuse' may not be enough to provide a full description of what accounts for the impact.
I would invite us to ponder the term 'relationship-specific abuse.' For, verbal content is not enough to account for the stunning power of certain utterances or even gestures.
Its when the words or gestures or battery take place in the context of a relationship based on mutual trust, and thus shatter that trust, that it becomes abusive and trust-shattering.
For we select spouses and friends based on trust that they will never do such things to us in the first place! ('To have and to hold, to honor and to cherish...')
A smirk from a nut on the corner can be dismissed.
That same smirk** from a loved one can be horrifying--for the relational context is completely different. We trust that those we love (and whom WE have chosen to love!) will never smirk at us.
**(Wait--it isnt 'the same smirk' if inflicted by ones spouse. The facial expression thrown out at you by the lunatic and by the spouse expression might be identical if photographed, but the relational context means the target will indeed experience that microexpression quite differently. The trust context is totally different in these two instances. See how rich and complex this is becoming?)
For example, if the local insane drunkard on the corner calls me a filthy name,
I can write it off. The person is, clearly nuts. I have not given this person the
level of radical trust that I would give a lover or ultra close friend.
But if your spouse, your lover or your close friend were, suddenly, within the existing frame of that trust-bonded relationship
call you that same bad name that the nut on the corner gave you--you'd be blown away.
And...that is often what blindsides people who enter abusive relationships and dont yet know what they are in for. Abusers romance you first--otherwise you'd never get involved with them.
Its only after the context of romance/trust is established, and youve let someone into your core that a smirk or some nasty words can acquire a radically shattering impact.
When we have chosen to love someone, it calls our own judgement into question when that person abruptly does something we have trusted them never to do. Part of why it is so difficult for people to convince themselves that someone they have chosen to love has broken the trust contract by engaging in abusive behavior is that it calls into question our own ability to discern character--calls into question our sanity.
(Most persons shocked by a first few episodes of trust-busting behavior are too stunned to consider it possible that this person was deceptive and hid something from them during the honeymoon seduction phase of the relationship)
(read the comments, too. This one by CZ deserves to be quoted)
(quote)Can I just tell you how sick to death I am of hearing such nonsense? Anyone who has dealt with a manipulator knows only too well that specific feelings can be triggered by another person.
While it's useful to believe we have power to make choices no matter what our emotional reactions might have been, it's ridiculous to say other people can't make us feel anything we don't ALLOW them to make us feel.
It's just another way to Blame the Victim and let the abuser off the hook. That's my two cents anyway.
Oh, one more thing. Suggesting we become invulnerable fortresses is counterproductive to creating healthy relationships!!
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 05/29/2008 10:14PM by corboy.