Degrading and abusive relationships—the way out. A common tactic of keeping people in relationships is to convince them that no one else would want them. This is commonly seen in dysfunctional marriages, in which, for example, the husband degrades the wife constantly. This form of psychological abuse may take the form of constantly pointing out her shortcomings, insulting her appearance or abilities, or pointing to weaknesses. Often, men who are insecure in their relationships, who are worried that their mates will leave them, will try to lower the self-esteem of their partners, so that they will think they cannot do any better. Some men resort to physical abuse. Although the degradation and violence can go from female to male, the more common pattern is for the male to degrade the female.
After undergoing long periods of degradation and psychological abuse, many women do experience a decrease in self-esteem. A woman in this situation may begin to depend more and more on the man for reassurance. She will do whatever she can to avoid making him angry or starting him on one of his bouts of insulting her. She takes no initiative in any decisions about the relationship or the living arrangements and defers every decision to him. If he catches her taking the initiative, he may punish her by again going into a bout of degrading her. She tolerates it in order to obtain the minimal reassurance and support this relationship gives her. Moreover, she is firmly persuaded by him that she cannot find anyone better. Essentially, he psychologically batters her into dependency.
People who are in such abusive relationships, either psychologically or physically, need to realize that they do not have to tolerate such treatment, that they are not the degraded human beings their spouses are portraying them as. The first step is to be empowered to make their own decisions. Often, the first decision is to leave the abusive person and go to a safe place, such as a women's shelter or a protective relative. They have to realize that they can take the initiative. Often, once this first, most difficult decision is made, others come easier and they can get back on track toward taking care of their own lives.
The obsessive-compulsive person is preoccupied with order and strives to be perfect. The high need for order can manifest itself in the person' s attention to details, however trivial, and fondness for rules, rituals, schedules, and procedures. Such persons may, for example, plan out which clothes they will wear every day of the week or clean their apartments every Saturday and Wednesday from 5 until 7 p.m. People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder hold very high standar ds for themselves. However, they may work so hard at being perfect that they are never satisfied wit their work. For example, a student might never turn in a research paper because it is never quite perfect enough. The desire for perfection can actually stifle a person s productivity.
Another characteristic is a devotion to work at the expense of leisure and friendships. Obsessive-compulsive persons tend to work harder than they need to. They may work at night and on weekends and rarely take time of f. In his book on adult personality development, Geor ge Vaillant (1977) saw it as a sign of positive mental adjustment when his adult subjects reported taking at least a one-week vacation each r
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