“The goal of abusive conduct is to destabilize the other person and make them doubt themselves and others.” – Marie-France Hirigoyen
The destructive art of making someone doubt themselves is only the beginning of emotional abuse.
If a person is able to make another doubt what they just witnessed, heard, or felt, then that person has just gained control over the other, and as a result, committed the very misunderstood but definitely widespread and deliberate act of emotional abuse.
Often, emotional abuse builds over a long period of time until it becomes so unbearable that victims lash out in frustration and anger, only to appear unstable and aggressive themselves. The intent of many abusers is to systematically confuse their victims with irrational, threatening behavior that preys on the victim’s fears and self-doubts. The end result is an erosion of the soul or spirit.
Marie-France Hirigoyen in Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identity brilliantly and clearly demonstrates the dynamics of emotional abuse.
Her book identifies emotional abuse in couples, families, and the workplace. She explains thoroughly what emotional abuse is, what an abusive relationship is, the consequences of living with abuse, and ends her book with practical advice on how to handle this type of abuse.
What I especially found fascinating about Hirigoyen’s book are the several dialogues she included between partners in an emotionally abusive relationship. I recognized my past abusive relationship in these dialogues and realized how damaging the process of control is and how it almost destroyed me.
As one of the best books I have read on the subject of abuse, I highly recommend Dr. Hirigoyen’s Stalking the Soul to anyone who seeks to learn what emotional abuse is or anyone who wants to identify if their current relationships are abusive. This book is a must-read for any student of psychology or mental illness.
A bit about the author, Dr. Marie-France Hirigoyen:
Ms. Hirigoyen is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and psychotherapist specializing in mobbing, a form of bullying.
Marie-France Hirigoyen does research on psychological violence and has published several books since 1998. In 1999, she participated in creating a law against workplace harassment, which led to a debate about workplace abuse in France.
Lastly and most importantly, if you think you are in an abusive relationship, or you feel something is not quite right in your relationship, seek help. It is there and is free. Contact The Crisis Center or call 888-247-7472. Stop the slow and poisonous erosion of your identity now.