In our last blog, we began diving into how to handle that moment when you find yourself on the receiving end of an angry blow-up. There are very few moments where it is appropriate to scream at someone, especially at someone you do not know well. Still, almost everyone has experienced some unjustified or irrational rage directed at them.
Reflect and Recover
We looked at how to respond in the moment of receiving emotional abuse. Today, we are moving forward to examine the best way to reflect on the experience and begin recovering. These moments in life can feel threatening and uncomfortable, and can even be considered a form of traumatic, emotional abuse. You may find yourself playing the situation over and over in your brain. It might leave you feeling angry or regretful or anxious. It might even keep you up at night. Like any form of trauma, it’s important to reflect and process your emotional response to enable you to begin to move on.
Suggestions to help process this trauma:
- Write it down. While it’s fresh in your mind, consider writing down the exchange, being as detailed as possible and sticking to the facts.
- What did they say?
- How was their tone?
- What was their body language like?
- How did I respond?
- What was my tone like?
- Consider the Context. It’s so important to remember that if someone begins to verbally attack you, it likely has nothing to do with you. Likely, there are other factors you may or may not know about that have helped lead them to this breaking point.
- What’s happening in them? Are they under pressure at home or work? Dealing with grief or depression? What about cultural context? Is the pandemic adding stress or financial uncertainty?
- What’s happening in me? Am I reacting or responding? What’s the level of impact this has on me? Did I respond appropriately?
- What’s happening in us? What is the effect on our relationship? What matters most; the relationship or being right?
- Talk to someone. These incidents tend to stick with us and make us wonder if we did something wrong, or responded incorrectly. Instead of sitting with that feeling, find someone you trust to talk with. Share the experience in detail. Share the feelings it left you with. You will be surprised at how an in-depth conversation can help you feel ready to move forward.
* This post concerns a specific type of emotional abuse but does not address many serious forms of emotional abuse, such as domestic violence. DV is a serious and dangerous issue that we do not have the bandwidth to cover in this particular blog. PLEASE, if you are dealing with domestic violence, reach out for help.
https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/Find-Help/Help-Lines For help lines and links to support in Australia
https://www.thehotline.org/ or the National Domestic Abuse Hotline with highly trained experts, accepting calls 24/7.
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