When we believe we are undeserving, we may involuntarily open ourselves to unsuitable company without understanding how or why. These unsuitable personalities have abilities to decode susceptibility and hoodwink others through false assurances. While being charming on the surface, they are volatile, combative, and disrespectful of boundaries. They maintain a persistent self-referential attitude and suck away energy like vampires.

Abusive episodes operate within cycles and begin with measured doses of seductive sweetness, followed by days of increasing tension, then finally erupting into violent verbal and/or physical attacks. They are called cycles because the sweetness, tension and acting out become a recurring pattern played over like a loop cassette tape.

This kaleidoscope of emotional discordance can be ongoing and nightmarish. After each explosion, you are tempted to put on an antic disposition, not wanting to eat nor take care of yourself. You breath a peculiar calm because you no longer have to walk on eggshells. You go for long walks; you interact with strangers; you sit near your bed at night and cry as if to mourn an unforeseeable exile.

For many years, you strain as you listen to cheerful voices celebrating family achievements or special occasions, for at first such joy seems out of your reach. Usually when society thinks of grief, it fails to acknowledge losses that are not death related. You experience what therapists refer to as “disenfranchised grief”– grief that is not socially validated because of the stigma attached to emotional abuse.