Emotional Abuse: Breaking the Cycle that's Breaking YOU

It might be a comment about your appearance, your competence or your actions. It might be an outright putdown with cursing or a sarcastic remark. It can be pervasive and leaves you feeling like you can never do enough or be enough--that you're just not good enough. IT is emotional abuse. And emotional abuse is violence. Over time, emotional abuse has the ability to isolate you, break your spirit and cause you to question your validity as a person. Eventually, emotional abuse shatters your confidence and robs you of your self-esteem. It breaks you down. Like the brainwashing of living in a cult, the breaking of you emotionally has you questioning your core self. And you no longer know that core self or what it needs and how to trust yourself to make even the simplest decisions.

In her compelling book, Breaking the Cycle of Abuse, Beverly Engel tackles the complex topic of emotional abuse head on, explaining its similarities with psychological maltreatment. She offers compassion, support and empowering tools to help the reader--whether abused or abusive--break the cycle of abuse, with exercises that let you reflect on and write about your experiences and perceptions. This involves looking at aspects such as your family legacy, your beliefs and values and your expectations from a healthy relationship. Only in this way, can you shift your perspective from victim or victimizer to one who is empowered and living and respecting healthy boundaries as you learn to love and trust yourself.

My own experience with family violence goes back a long way, having started in my family of origin with physical and psychological abuse. Later when I found myself living in an emotionally abusive relationship, my dear childhood friend shared Maya Angelou's wise words that gave me comfort as I began to search for my way out of the cycle: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." It is this memory of how it feels that fuels my desire to help others experiencing the injustice of abuse.

Are you in an emotionally abusive relationship? Do you default to abusive behavior with others? There is help out there. You have choices. You can break the cycle that's breaking YOU.

Empowerment coaching/transition partnering can help you take back your power from the impact of living with abuse and control. For a complimentary discovery session to see how we can work together, contact me: 514.996.2414


  1. What a powerful message, Kelly. Thank you for sharing it with us. There are a lot of women out there suffering in silence because they're either afraid or ashamed to share their living situation. Sometimes a message like this can inspire them to take their first step into freedom. Although I've never experienced this, as a woman I really appreciate the message.
    Thank you!

  2. Thank you, Claudia, for highlighting how shame is a powerful silencer. It is so important to reach out because abuse, by its very nature, is isolating.


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