Dealing With Emotional Abuse At Home

faceless people scolding discontent black girl
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Question: Someone in my family is giving me to a lot of emotional abuse. She would find fault with me and scold me, yet treat me as non-existent at other times. When I speak to her about this, she refuses to communicate.  Do you have any advice?

Answer: If you have tried your best to communicate but it doesn’t work, my advice is to no longer yearn to be treated fairly. Your suffering arises from expecting ‘fairness’. When you do so, every time it is not delivered, there is heartache. However, on your part, you must be fair to her — or you would be feeding fuel to the fire, proving her point that you are at fault. Remember too, that ‘injustices’ that are hard to resolve are deeply karmic in nature, that requires more effort and time. Karma is dynamic!When there are false accusations or unfair statements made by her, just state clearly and concisely the truth on your part. If she rebuts reasonably, reply with reason on your part. If she doesn’t communicate reasonably, just summarise why her view is not right, and say ‘I have said my piece, believe it or not’ firmly, and end the discussion —  even if she rants on. Don’t ‘suffer fools’. Walk away if necessary. Don’t ever make yourself suffer for another’s mistakes. As long as you are sure you are blameless, be at peace.

Remember not to flare up in anger or feel dejected. You should do the above calmly or you might be ‘feeding the troll’. Don’t give the negative reaction probably expected and you will ‘win’ each time, while she should realise sooner or later that her bullying is pointless in getting any results, feel ashamed and stop. You can also be mindful of Buddha’s name (e.g. Amituofo) to restore peace of mind as swiftly as you can when you feel anger or disappointment rising.

In the mean time, as actions speak louder than words, do acts of unconditional kindness for the person to touch and transform the person’s perspective about you. In time to come, when the right chord is struck, or after significant efforts, she might change her mind about you. There could be some hidden deep-seated issue that is the cause of ongoing resentment, that she has yet to communicate. She might not even be mindful of what it is bugging her though. You should also reflect on what it might be. You can also do more good deeds, and practise the Dharma more diligently, and dedicate merits for the alleviation of enmity between the two of you. Loving-kindness meditation helps too.

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