Psychological abuse is the kind of abuse the batterer may use to ready the victim for physical abuse. Or he many never lay a hand on her. He will merely control her through crazy-making techniques as explained in the Crazy Making link below..
In The Celestine Prophesy and the Celestine Prophesy: An Experiential Guide, by James Redfield and Carol Adrienne they speak of the 4 ways people steal energy or power from us,through intimidation, interrogation, aloofness, and “poor me”. These summarize quite well the ways the psychological abuser draws us into their distorted world.
Psychological abuse is evident in the movie Sleeping With the Enemywhen the batterer makes sure she is trained in arranging the towels and canned foods properly. He later uses the same technique to let her know he’d found her after she’d escaped and disappeared. She came home to find her intentionally disordered towels and cans to be perfectly arranged.
One of our women told us of how her ex-husband used to sneak into the cellar and make noises. When she opened the door to listen more closely, he, of course stopped. She began to think she was imagining things. It wasn’t until a few years later after this tormenting, that she discovered he had a secret way of getting into the cellar. Other women feel so powerless when they find “someone” has tampered with their car. Stories of the batterer’s efforts range in seriousness from pulling the wires out, to putting sugar in the gas tank, to slashing the tires, to loosening the lug nuts. If the woman has visitors at her house, they too may find the same things done to their car.
One woman who was studying at our local college, was waiting for the student aid papers to come in the mail. When the deadline was nearing, she knew he must have intercepted her mail and hidden them. He may have done this for at least a couple reasons. He may have intended to really hurt her by bringing them out AFTER the deadline was up and/or impeding her from being able to take the classes which would make her feel good about herself and become more independent. You see, none of this is really a simple matter, not where crazy making is involved. So our woman searched and searched the house until she found the papers, filled them out, sent them in and got her financial assistance. She said nothing to him about the papers. The morning she was supposed to go to school, she went out to find he’d ripped out the wires. So she went to the auto equipment store, got what she needed, and went to her class. Not every woman would have reacted in this way.
These are just a few of our stories. There are so many more.
The goal of psychological abuse is to make the woman feel crazy. We’ve had so many women come to us who believed they were crazy. Then after we got to know them, we were able to tell them that they definitely were not crazy.
There is even a place called The Elizabeth Stone House in Boston, Massachusetts, where women and their children can go for treatment. As you will see on that link, this place was established specifically for women and their children who have been made crazy as a result of domestic violence.
Craziness especially escalates if contact regarding visitation of children is required. Because this is so important, we have made it a separate link.
Kids deal with this same kind of abuse when they have to deal with a bully. Below is a link to the Bullying Curriculum I have developed.
Show of Power
Introduction to Bullying Curriculum
Back to Kinds of Abuse
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Elizabeth Stone House