14 comments on “Why Emotional Abuse and Forced Sleep Deprivation Are Effective Tools to Gain Compliance: Part 2

  1. Pingback: Why Emotional Abuse and Forced Sleep Deprivation Are Effective Tools to Gain Compliance: Part 2 | Blog of a Mad Black Woman

    • Thank you for reading it! Hopefully over the next few days, I will find some time to be able to work on the last part to this post. I’ll be combining the two together – how I experienced it – but my hope from sharing this is that others who have suffered through this come to realize that it is abuse. The more we understand about what we have lived through, the better equipped we are to heal and share our own experiences with others.

  2. Thank you for writing about this. There needs to be increased awareness on the more subtle forms of abuse and how harmful they can be. For many years I denied that my marriage was/is abusive because it didn’t fit the TV and movie stereotypes of abuse. Even when there was physical abuse I would minimize it because it didn’t leave a mark, or it was “only” a slap rather than a punch. For a long time, I believed it was my duty to overlook his behavior and forgive him.

    Sleep deprivation has been part of my experience of abuse as well. I believe it was one of the main factors in him breaking me, wearing me down to exhaustion, until I would give in to whatever he was obsessively demanding. Then if I later complained about freedoms lost, he would say “You agreed to it, no one forced you”, but it was never a free choice. He would keep me awake to argue and lecture me, or wake me up to ” talk”, which always resulted in him personally attacking something about me. Even when I was sure that he was the one in the wrong, He would twist it to be my fault and I would end up feeling horribly guilty and begging HIM to forgive ME.

    Sleep deprivation also came in other forms as well: his middle of the night phone calls or visits, demands for intimacy, needing “help” with school or work assignments (me doing all the work), demands for me to clean the dishes or tidy up the home, and calling me lazy if I wanted to sleep longer.

    I have suffered a lot of the effects that you have mentioned. I can not say for sure that they were caused specifically by sleep deprivation, only that not getting proper sleep certainly hasn’t helped my physical and mental health issues.

    I am interested to read about coercive compliance. It is a term that sums up my whole marriage. Everyone wants to hear my great love story about how two people from different backgrounds fell in love. What people don’t know is that he isolated, manipulated and blackmailed me until I felt I had no other choice but to be with him, and stay with him.

    • First of all, I want to thank you for sharing this with me. Enduring these things is never easy, and often the story behind them is never simple. The problem with using multiple forms of abuse (and abusers know, that’s part of why they do it) is that it makes the edges blur. There is no easily definable point where you can say the impact of one type of abuse stops and another begins. They compound each other and make the effects and life that much harder. Many of us believe that non-physical methods of abuse do not even count as abuse, because they leave no visible scars behind them. So when we hear someone else’s story that may include brutal physical and sexual assaults, we minimize our experiences and we further internalize the narrative that our abuser pushes on us: it’s not that bad. Over time, the helps us excuse away things that are done to us and puts at increasing amounts of risk.

      I do have one more post to write and combine the two together. It was just much too long to put in one post, and I think it works out better in three, because it gives those reading time to stop and think about how this may have manifested in their own lives and maybe help them come to realize that if this is happening to them, it is abuse just as much as physical assaults are. Sleep deprivation is particularly insidious because of the physical and psychological impact it has on its victim. Enduring this alone is torture enough, but adding to to verbal and emotional abuse (including the gas lighting you’ve endured) can be unbearable. I may need a few more days to get around to my last post, as I work and go to school online full time, but it will come. Hopefully when my readers see them combined together, it will help them reverse the doubt they have for believing it “could be” abuse or learn that they ARE being abused in this way and that they are not crazy, hypersensitive, or “manufacturing drama.” I unfortunately endured more serious physical violence as well, but the verbal and emotional abuse coupled with the sleep deprivation was hardest on me than anything.

      I couldn’t tell from your comment if you are still with your husband. If you are, please try to take steps to keep yourself as safe as possible. Even if he does not use physical violence a lot (no amount is ever okay) there is a high risk that increases the longer you are with him that you will be seriously physically harmed. It is recommended that you do a safety plan but if you are isolated from everyone, that is not an easy thing to do. Just remember that if you are with him, once you are ready to leave, there are organizations that will help, and there are people who will believe you. Nothing you have experienced is your fault, you do not deserve any of it, and one more important thing… you are amazing and strong. Never forget that.

  3. Pingback: Why Emotional Abuse and Forced Sleep Deprivation Are Effective Tools to Gain Compliance: Part 3 | Picking Up the Pieces

  4. Hi Amy,

    Your blog gives me so much to think about and process and has started to let me face my own truths. I recently got divorced and while I never faced the degree of evil you were subjected to, I put up with abuse that I never thought I would have put up with. For years and years. And it left me with a lot of shame (and guilt) that I’ve just been blocking out. And now I realize I might be ready to start looking at it and coming to terms with it. So thank you for putting it all out there. Xoxo

    • Hi Jocelyn,

      I am sorry that your experienced any abuse at all. Even if the technical degree of severity didn’t match what I endured, it’s important to remember that we cannot make comparisons of our experiences. Just because what you experienced is not the same as me, it doesn’t make your trauma any less valid or any less painful. I’m not sure how long you were married and subjected to abuse, but I feel that you most likely were abused longer than I was. The impacts of that also compound over time and can make it incredibly difficult to face and work through. I hope now that you’ve broken away from the abuse that you have been able to realize that none of it was your fault and that your abuser is the one who should be ashamed. You are amazingly courageous and strong to face your story and process your experiences. When I first left, this blog served as a way to help me face and reconcile everything I have been through. As time passed, however, it became a way for me to also help others feel less alone and less ashamed of their own stories so they could cast off that weight and begin to heal. One of the most powerful part of sharing our stories is the profound way that sense of being alone and ashamed can be relieved. That “me too!” feeling is a major sense of relief. Sending support and light to you wherever you are.

  5. Thank you for talking about this. By the end of our marriage, my ex was often keeping me up all night arguing. At the time, I knew He was incredibly controlling and angry, but I mainly attributed the sleepless nights to the manic phase of his bipolar, which would often keep him awake for a night or two. I thought of it mostly as a coincidence – him wanting something when he also happened to be manic. But looking back, I can see how it started from the beginning while also escalating over the years. Early on, I would agree to what he wanted after a few hours, when I started to get tired. I never noticed this as a tactic, conscious or not. It’s only when it really escalated that I recognized this as one of the serious problems with the marriage.

    The ridiculous thing about it was that by the end, when he was keeping me up all night, the majority of the fight would be him accusing me of lying about the agreement to whatever he wanted that I gave hours before, and me reassuring him while he bitterly reminded me of past incidents where I changed my mind in the morning. It was all just another example of my lies and damned lies. And yes, of course that all was true! Early in the marriage, when these sessions were more him pleading than domineering, I did often change my mind in the morning, like any sane person might change their mind or even forget about things they said in an altered state! But by the end, it had been a been a while since I had tried that.

  6. Thank you for writing this. This is day 2 of my daughter and i being woken up so my partner can interrogate me. Hopefully, i will get rest on the couch, but i doubt it. Reading things like this validate my feelings. When you are mocked so often, and constantly told “you ENJOY being a victim”, it’s easy to lose your bearings. Thank you.

  7. Pingback: Why Emotional Abuse and Forced Sleep Deprivation Are Effective Tools to Gain Compliance: Part 1 | Picking Up the Pieces

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