SURVIVING AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP: USING THE ENNEAGRAM TO IDENTIFY AND COPE WITH ABUSE IN RELATIONSHIPS
Domestic violence is as common as terrorism on the international scene. And it is even more frightening, because there is no safe place to come home to.
Victims of abuse are rarely validated, unless there is outright, observable physical damage. Most abuse is far more subtle. But the ultimate goal is always the same: to control your sense of self-worthy, identity and independence. The major signs of emotional abuse are:
1. SHAMING OTHERS: Making you feel that nothing you do is right or good enough. There is often name-calling, such as: crazy, stupid, needy, etc.
2. NO SELF-SHAME: They have no shame about the pain they cause others.
2. CRITICIZING: Everything you do or say is wrong.
3. LYING: They often lie about the past, about money issues and their whereabouts.
4. ISOLATING: They will often isolate you from friends and family members in order to make you more dependent on them.
5. MINIMIZING: they don’t take your pain seriously.
6. CRIMINALIZING: They can explode over very trivial losses or disappointments and turn your minor faults into major sins, like the fact that the laundry did not get folded or you gave the children corn flakes for dinner. They might “accuse” you of making the children do homework or of asking them to help with the housework.
7. NO RESOLUTION TO PROBLEMS: If you bring up an issue that bothers you, even in the most respectful manner possible, they become furious and defensive. They keep the atmosphere tense with hostile questions, accusations, blaming instead of problem-solving. If a child is sick or learning disabled, they blame you for the problem, instead of focusing on what to do.
8. WILD ACCUSATIONS: They accuse you of doing terrible things (probably whatever
they themselves are actually doing, such as being sexually or physically abusive, committing adultery.) They do this to divert attention from their own faults on to you.
9. PARANOIA: They are suspicious of anything you do. Even attempts to be nice are seen as “manipulations.” 4. They ridicule you at any given opportunity.
One way to understand abuse is through the system called The Enneagram, (see Personality Types, by Don Riso). My out-of-print book called Awareness was based on this system. Each personality type will use different excuses to control you.
TYPE NUMBER ONE:
* They find religious sources to excuse their punitive behavior, telling you that it is good for children to be hit, that it toughens them up to be deprived of food and affection
* They constantly criticize you for not being “frum” enough.
* They have a secret life of sin which is justified as being necessary for religious purposes.
TYPE NUMBER TWO
* They give in order to control. If they pay for the wedding, they want to control where you live and the names you give your children.
* They may be out helping everyone else in the community – sleeping only 2-3 hours a night, but never there when you need them.
* They get hysterical and say, “I’m having a heart attack,” or “You’ll cry on my grave” if you don’t do what they want.
* They are “emotional blackmailers,” who make you feel guilty for not being there for them. They often say, “After all I’ve done for you………..”
* You can never do enough – never rich/thin/beautiful enough to satisfy their cravings.
* They are elegant diplomats in public, but cold, unaffectionate and vicious at home.
* They are effusively nice to anyone who can help them climb the social ladder.
* They take out their abuse on themselves. Often suicidal, with wild mood swings, in a black hole of despair which you can never do enough to help them out of.
* Low Sixes are paranoid, suspicious, interrogators. Their behavior is extremely provocative and they will engage in obnoxious behavior until you get angry, at which point they will accuse you of not loving them.
* They control though fear and hysteria. They can call ten times a day to see where you are.
* They have strange superstitions which mask as religious stringencies.
* They are extremely cruel toward anyone they see as their enemy.
* They might be out gambling and womanizing all night, and tell you that you’re up-tight if you can’t handle it.
* They are flamboyant, extravagant and ostentatious, sure that the money will come easily.
* They advertise themselves as “healers,” bilking others out of money in the name of “medicine.”
TYPE NUMBER EIGHT:
TYPE NUMBER NINE:
* They never see abuse. If you complain, they’ll say, “You must be imagining things. It can’t be.” Or, “Think about the other person’s side of the story.” They never feel your pain.
* They waste all your money on get-rich-quick schemes
* They take out huge loans and expect that, “The money will come.” Meanwhile, you are left with their debts.
* They are extremely lazy, always saying, “Later,” when you ask for help. Or, “Why can’t so-and-so do it?”
WHAT TO DO?
1. Recognize that this is NOT love.
2. Be aware of emotional blackmail.
3. Set limits wherever it is safe.
4. Do things that bring you pleasure.
5. KEEP YOUR LIFE SECRET – don’t tell them that you are seeing a therapist or taking medication for anxiety or depression, as they will use this against you in a custody battle – and are likely to win.
6. KEEP YOUR MONEY TO YOURSELF. Your money belongs to your husband according to Jewish law. This, however, is not true in abuse situations.