When is enough enough? Life can be difficult sometimes, especially when things happen over which we have little or no control. Sometimes though, the biggest stresses in one’s life may come from exactly the place where we should find comfort and safety: the home.
Ironically, some people save their worst behaviors for the ones with whom they live. This stress is probably the worst kind, because there is little escape. You can always go home after a day at a stressful job. You can stop spending time with people who create tension. Hiding out or escaping from your own home is a different story.
A certain amount of stress and conflict is normal in any family or relationship. Ideally, issues come up, they are dealt with, and harmony is restored. In some cases, however, the conflict is ongoing. It seems the issues never go away, and like an open wound, the pain never stops.
How do you know when what you are dealing with is too much? Generally your own stress level will tell you that, but some people are so used to stress that they do not see it as a warning sign. External clues include the following: being constantly put down, being called names, being yelled at, intimidated or physically hurt, being controlled (as an adult), being consistently ignored or discounted, or feeling afraid. Some individuals were treated like this as children, and since it feels familiar, they put up with it as adults. Nonetheless, it still takes its toll on health. It is not healthy for the one on the receiving end, and it is not healthy for children to be in an environment where this is happening to a parent, siblings or themselves.
The first step is to realize you are in an abusive situation. The next step is to get help. Asking the individual to go with you for counselling might work. Often, though, they do not feel they have the problem, and so refuse help. In that case, you must access help yourself. If the situation has been going on for years, it is not going to magically resolve itself.
Often there is little that can be done to change the one who is hurting others, so the focus is on helping the victim become strong enough to make good choices. As an adult, you are the only one who can rescue yourself. If you are a child, you will need someone to help you. Talk to a trusted teacher, counsellor, relative or someone from your church. Keep telling until someone helps.
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