Call Now To Speak with an Eating Disorder Specialist 1-888-884-4913 / 425-771-5166
Emotional Abuse:  The Illusionist

Emotional Abuse: The Illusionist

“Bill is such a great guy!” Carly smiled and made some sort of neutral comment. It did absolutely no good to dispute the evidence of Bill’s obvious charm. He was engaging, witty, energetic, and charismatic. People liked him. She knew the feeling.

When Carly first met Bill, she was overwhelmed by his outgoing nature. His gestures were larger than life, outlandish even. But to a young woman being courted, he seemed the walking incarnation of romance. She was being wooed. What Carly didn’t realize was that while she was being wooed by Bill, she and everyone else were being fooled. Bill’s grand gestured and protestations of care and love were for general audiences only. In the intimacy of the private viewing area called home, Bill turned out to be someone quite different.

At first, Carly just put up with Bill’s moodiness, nastiness, and withdrawing into himself. She figured he would snap out of it. It didn’t take her long to learn that Bill’s negative private behavior could turn in an instant if someone cam over to the apartment. Finally, she mentioned to Bill her concern over the way he treated her at home as opposed to the way he treated her in front of others.

Bill’s reaction was astonishment. He acted as if he had no idea what she was talking about. Every incident she brought up was countered with a rush of excuses, reasons and outright denials as Bill fought to maintain the illusion of himself as the compassionate lover, the life of the party, the perfect soul mate. It struck Carly that Bill needed her only as long as she continued to mirror the reflection of himself he so needed to see.

Illusionists are generally highly intelligent, charismatic people who thrive on being seen well by others. As long as there is an audience, they are “on.” Because it takes a great deal of energy to be “on,” their “off” persona may be the exact opposite. In public they are witty and humorous; in private they are sarcastic and cutting. In public they are deferential and attentive; in private they are hostile and distant. In public they are happy and easygoing; in private they are sullen and angry.

Being in a relationship with an illusionist can cause you to doubt your own judgment. Because illusionists are generally highly intelligent, they are able to convince you, even in the face of contrary evidence, that the concerns you have are invalid.

If there is a problem, you are always portrayed as the source. Feigning confusion, they appear shocked that you find their behavior unusual. If you ask other people, people who have seen only the carefully constructed illusion, you may not get validation of your concerns. Instead, you may hear a reiteration of how wonderful the illusionist is. Highly persuasive, the illusionist is very adept at creating and maintaining a positive image.

What is most important to illusionists is the maintenance of the illusion of who they are. You are valuable to them only when you are helping them to maintain this illusion. You become a danger to them if you question the illusion they have created. Because the illusion is more important to them than you are, the truth is never acknowledged. Your reality of events and circumstances is consistently denied, downplayed, explained away, rejected. This is a pernicious form of emotional abuse in that it causes the abused to second-guess his or her own assessment of the relationship. As such, many will stay in the relationship for an extended period of time until their ability to help their abuser maintain the illusion demands too great an emotional toll.

At this point, the abused person will lean but with his or her sense of self seriously tattered. After all, how could anyone leave such a great person? Because others have not seen through this illusion, the abused person who leaves can appear to be in the wrong. Not only does the abused lose the relationship, be he or she may lose any friends made during the relationship.

If you or a loved one is struggling with emotional, sexual or physical abuse, or body image or other dependency issues, The Center • A Place of HOPE can help.  Call 1-888-771-5166 today and a specialist will answer any questions you might have.

What You Put Into Your Body Matters

What You Put Into Your Body Matters

It is important not only to eat healthy foods but to eat them in the proper proportion.  As a unique individual, you have an amount of calories needed each day and a weight range that is healthy and right for you.  I wholeheartedly encourage you to visit with your primary care physician or gynecologist, if you have not done so already, and determine what a healthy weight looks like for you.

Different women have different body types and frames, so two women of the same height arrive at different healthy weights.  Many women are as cyclical with their weight as they are with their periods.   They lose and gain the same ten to fifteen to twenty pounds over and over again.  When the weight is off, they’re happy.  When the weight is on, they’re miserable.

Because of the nature of yo-yo dieting, the tendency over time is for the weight to come back on, stay on, and increase.  As you work with your doctor to find your healthy weight, come up with a plan to not only achieve that weight but also maintain it over time.

Additionally, how you feel and the health of your body depends not only on what you eat but also what else you put into your body.  If you are a smoker, I urge you to quit.  Pumping nicotine into your system and smoke into your lungs is not good for you.  The evidence of the damage done, apart from the dangers of lung cancer, is compelling.  Smoking is an age accelerant, as its toxicity contributes to a more rapid decline of the body and overall health.  If you smoke, you need to stop.  This is also a conversation for you to have with your physician.

Be aware of the preservatives, additives, and hormones used in the foods you eat and drinks you consume.  Many women have sensitivities and allergic reactions to these substances.  Whenever possible, choose organic-type produce and foods.  There are medical tests you can take that can help identify if your body is experiencing an ongoing allergic reaction to foods and other substances.  If you suspect you are allergic to a certain food, eliminate it from your diet for a period of time and track your symptoms.  When your body is under constant assault because of a sensitivity or allergic response, it will affect how you feel.

Be aware of the amount of alcohol you consume.  As a chemical dependency professional, as well as a licensed counselor, I’ve seen the hard alcohol causes.  If you have a problem with alcohol, don’t drink at all.  If you don’t have a problem with alcohol, make sure to drink moderately.  Not only do you need to be aware of the alcohol you are consuming, you need to also be aware of the extra calories in that alcohol.  The more you drink, the more you impact the amount of calories consumed each day.

Lastly, be aware of the type and quantity of drugs you take.  These include, of course, over-the-counter, prescription, and illicit drugs.  If you are concerned about what you’re taking and how much, consider having a chemical dependency assessment done.  These assessments factor in both legal and illegal substances and evaluate your level of dependency and abuse.  If you’re worried or if family and friends have expressed their concern, if your use has interfered with your job or with social and family functions, I urge you to seek professional advice and assessment.

Please be aware that use and misuse of drugs is one strategy women use to self-medicate their feelings of anger.  Because the anger is suppressed and not dealt with, it doesn’t go away.  Because the anger doesn’t go away, the need for self-medicating doesn’t go away, and use can change to abuse.

If you or a loved one is struggling with body image or other dependency issues, The Center • A Place of HOPE can help.  Call 1-888-771-5166 or fill out our contact form and someone will be in touch with you soon.