Thursday, September 8, 2011

"The Wrong Kind of Love"

By Susan Murphy-Milano

At what cost to ourselves do we remain in a relationship? Likely this is not a question we ever ask ourselves. But, why not?

Could it be that in our lives we settle? Are we too embarrassed to admit when the individual we have chosen to spend our lives with is not who they were at the beginning of the relationship? The answer is yes.

The wrong kind of love includes emotional warfare. A destructive game played in a relationship when a person chips away at the very foundation of another individual. Emotional warfare is an invisible dagger to the heart. You don't see it coming when confronted. Below are some examples of :

Emotional Abuse
  • Name calling: “you’re a bitch, a whore, fat, ugly, stupid, slut, trash”.
  • You are constantly told that you are crazy, that you need a psychiatrist; they threaten to have you committed. They tell your children that you are crazy and make them believe that they are not safe with you. They hide personal items in an attempt to convince you or others that, “you are losing it.”
  • They intentionally say things to embarrass you in front of others. They make remarks about your appearance or belittle you. They talk over you if you are engaged in conversation, or consistently contradict you in an effort to discredit you, or make you feel stupid.
  • They ignore you when you have “been bad”, or do not do as you are told. They act like you are not in the room. You are made to feel that you are invisible.
  • They withhold praise or affection. They make you feel that your mere presence disgusts them, that you are unattractive, and unworthy of them or anyone else.
  • You are made to feel worthless, no good, and stupid. You are told you’re your opinions do not count, that you couldn’t possibly have anything to say that anyone would want to hear.
  • You are made to feel that your past has no value; your childhood memories, your holiday traditions, your faith, and even your family. Regardless of your education, or your past experiences, your prior existence means nothing to them, and even the mention of it can illicit negative consequences.
  • They accuse you of having affairs, lying, or conspiring against them.
Just because you are not physically hurt in your relationship does not mean you are free and clear. Emotional abuse can and does lead to intimate partner homicide. In many of the recent cases where women have gone missing and have yet to be found, they were never hit or beaten with fists. Instead, words, the same as you see above were their abusers weapons. When that no longer worked they went from words to action, silencing women and the mothers of their own children, forever.

You cannot fix or rescue these individuals. They are toxic and dangerous to any relationship.

Before you consider filing for a divorce or moving out, you better have a plan. He (the abuser) has one if you leave. And the last time I checked designer body bags were not considered a fashion statement.

Time's Up!

[Susan Murphy Milano is with the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education. She is an expert on intimate partner violence and homicide crimes. For more information visit She is the author of "Time's Up A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships," available for purchase at the Institute, and wherever books are sold.

She is also part of the team at Management Resources Limited of New York.

Susan is the host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show, "Time's Up!" on Here Women Talk and is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth


  1. So glad you are bringing more light to emotional abuse as well as how it is just as dangerous if not more so than physical abuse. Psychological chaos created in the victims mind by the abuser's emotional manipulations is literally life threatening in itself. I would love to learn more from you about how to recognize emotional abuse. It seems that the subtleties of emotional and psychological manipulations go un noticed and the person is eventually in so deep that they don't know how to get out at that point.

  2. Susan: You have shone a floodlight on the very kind of abuse that so often gets overlooked as we cannot see the "bruises" with the naked eye... but they are oh so real! These forms of abuse are those "behind closed doors" actions that somehow don't count in the collective American culture until and unless it escalates to murder!
    Thanks for the reminder! Please keep saying it until everyone pays attention!



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