Status: Taken [Taken For Granted!]

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A lot of people are in a relationship, but not all of them know why they are in one. The beginning of a romance doesn’t matter in the long run because the critical question you need to be asking yourself is “Why are you in a relationship?” Some seek a companion, some for practicality, some by accident, and some are genuinely in love.

Not all people are happy with their current status. Some who are ready are not in a relationship, and there are those who don’t even deserve to be in one. Some people don’t appreciate what they have. They inflict pain on their partners. It’s either they are unaware, or they just don’t care. When you are in that kind of a relationship, admit it. Your status is taken: TAKEN FOR GRANTED. “I think that one sign that your relationship is toxic or bad for your mental health is how you feel. If you find that when you are with your partner(s), you often feel down or drained, then it might be time to speak to a third party for some more objective feedback,” says Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC.

Signs You Are Being Taken For Granted:

  1. He Doesn’t Call You Right Back.

When he keeps on coming up with an excuse why he cannot call you back, he is taking you for granted. There is no such thing as “too busy” if he wants to. He will make a way to make you his priority no matter what. If he does this once, it’s okay, but when it becomes habitual, then you apparently have a problem.

  1. He Doesn’t Take You Out.

Couples need to go on a romantic date from time to time. It helps strengthen their relationship. But if your man doesn’t take you out on an aromatic evening date, that means he isn’t thinking about your relationship at all. It’s either he doesn’t care, or he’s too confident you would stay.

  1. He Is Always On His Phone.

It is okay when he is on the phone doing business and other essential matters. But if that’s what he does all day and all night even though you are a foot apart, it is definitely not okay! It’s like you are wearing Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, and he doesn’t see you at all, you need to ask yourself why. Why you choose to stay there at all! Nicole Issa, Psy.D said, “By conveying this message to you, they keep you ensnared because you eventually start believing that no one else would ever want you.”

  1. He’s Always On A Boys’ Night Out.

Spending time with friends at least twice a month is healthy for both men and women, but when that’s all he does without taking you out for a romantic night out even for once in a month then you should know you are taken for granted! If he cares about making you happy, he should know taking you out for dinner once in a while is just a simple gesture he can do.

  1. He Doesn’t Have A Plan For Your Future

It’s as if he doesn’t seem to care about your future at all. He doesn’t talk to you about getting a house of your own, traveling somewhere with just the two of you, or he doesn’t save for unexpected expenses or emergencies. He’s a “come what may” and though it can be just immaturity, you don’t do that when you genuinely care about the welfare of someone you love.

All the above signs are a hint that he is taking you for granted, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t love you. Then again, it is up to you if you deem yourself deserving of that kind of love. Each of us deserves the stars and the moon, and it is up to you if you want to settle for less. “It can be difficult to re-establish a healthy routine and empower yourself after a toxic relationship. Fortunately, coming to the realization that you need to let go is one of the most difficult steps.” Heather Edwards LMHC, NCC, BCC said.


Struggles Of Being Married To A Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have invested their time and effort in studying the relationship of our physical state with mental health issues. They are responsible for diagnosing, preventing, and treating mental disorders based on their nature. Psychiatrists are in a way intimidating. Imagine being with someone who probably has something to say about all the things relating to human behaviors and such? Can you ever be right?


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Interpersonal Therapy And Battered Woman Syndrome

According to the National Statistics Domestic Violence, about 10 million Americans suffer physical abuse, being 15% of their intimate partners. This number includes both men and women. People who inflict pain on others have mental health issues that have been suppressed or left untreated. They must have suffered the same violence when they were young. They are unaware that the physical abuse they cause others could pass as psychological trauma. Many women acquire mental health issues such as anxiety and depression from their abusers. They then can develop a mental health condition known as battered woman syndrome.


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Recognizing And Dealing With Emotional Abuse


If you are feeling offended and hurt, thinking that you’re never going to be enough, and you’re often scared that your partner might get angry, then it is most likely that you are emotionally abused. Generally, an emotionally abusive relationship involves a continuing pattern of offensive statements, bullying, and negative behaviors that pull down a person’s self-worth and self-esteem. Ultimately, it damages her mental well-being. Consequently, emotional abuse can occur not only in marriage and dating relationships but also among work colleagues, peers, and family members.

Among the different types of abuse, emotional abuse is among the most difficult to identify. It is discreet, sneaky, and yet manipulative. It has creative ways of chipping away one’s confidence and pushes him to doubt his beliefs and convictions. The end result is the victim feeling caved and isolated in silence. He won’t be able to survive the relationship, but he is too scared to leave, so the cycle continues until it is acted upon.

Recognizing The Signs

According to Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT “Emotional abuse may be hard to recognize because it can be subtle, and because abusers often blame their victims. They may act like they have no idea why you are upset.” It won’t be easy to determine whether or not you are in an abusive relationship, but the first thing you’ll need to do is stop and take the time to contemplate on how you communicate with your boyfriend, spouse, family member, or friend. If you feel drained, depressed, anxious, and in so much pain, then you are most likely in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Below is a list of signs that you are emotionally abused. Please bear in mind that it won’t help if you make the excuse of saying to yourself that it’s not that bad, because it is, and it will get worse.

Emotionally abusive individuals present with these traits:

  • They demand too much of your time and expect you to drop everything when they need you.
  • They are almost always dissatisfied with what you do, no matter how much effort and energy you put into it.
  • They criticize you for the ‘substandard’ things that you do.
  • They are manipulative, and they often successfully twist your perceptions and convictions.
  • They refuse to recognize your own opinions and expect you to share his opinions on everything.
  • They blame you for being selfish and needy to take your needs for granted.
  • They argue for the sake of arguing – whenever they want to.
  • They have an erratic temper that scares you when you’re in front of him.
  • They don’t care if they embarrass you in public.
  • They are sarcastic, rude, and insensitive towards you.
  • They tell you that your ideas are insane and don’t make sense at all.
  • They treat you like you’re some kind of property or possession.

Dealing With Emotional Abuse

“Emotional abuse could also look like repeated criticisms about personal vulnerabilities you’ve shared with them in the past, such as abuse histories, phobias, fears, or sensitive information about your past,” says Christine Scott-Hudson, MA MFT ATR. The most important step in dealing with the abusive relationship is acknowledging that you are in it. Be honest to yourself, and then you can find ways to regain control over your life. Here are other techniques that you can learn to practice to successfully reclaim your life and leave the emotionally abusive relationship for good.

  • Prioritize Your Physical And Mental Health. Take care of yourself by eating healthily, getting sufficient sleep, and engaging in enjoyable physical activities. It’s time you thought about yourself.


  • Don’t Blame Yourself. There’s nothing wrong with you. You are just in the wrong relationship at the wrong time. You are a victim of emotional abuse, and you will continue to be unless you decide to leave. “Become aware of your emotions and allow yourself to feel them. Mindfulness is the main goal here, and bottling up emotions won’t do any good.” Heather Edwards LMHC, NCC, BCC said.


  • Set Boundaries. When you’ve decided that it’s enough, you need to tell your abuser that you will not allow him to shout at you, insult you, or offend you in any way. Be firm with implementing these boundaries. If he continues to abuse you, then it will be over.


  • Plan An Exit. This is the last and final move you’ll have to take if your abuser has no intention of changing his abusive ways. If you’re having doubts or you are scared, talk to a close friend or go to a therapist. Get help to finally be able to leave. You deserve better.





He Said He Was In Online Therapy

A relationship is all about trust. Without it, you will never have peace of mind, and paranoia will always be knocking on your door. As a couple, you must be able to be left alone at night without worrying about your husband cheating. If you have this kind of relationship, then you are one lucky woman. You have probably seen men cheating all over the internet, and with the technology today, the temptation can freely creep into our home or sometimes in our husband’s cell phone.


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Am I An Abusive Partner? Signs To Watch Out For


Relationships, like marriages, are not easy to keep. They’re overwhelmingly pretty on some days – blissful even – but most days they are draining and difficult. This can even be more daunting if you are emotionally abusing your partner without even realizing it. This means that not all partners are bent up at terrorizing their partner by planning to emotionally abuse them. However, you may not be aware of it, but you have practiced habits that have made your relationship and the life of your partner distressing.

Maryann W. Mathai, LPCC, LMHC, LPC, NCC once said, “Humans are complex and all of us experience emotions like anger and sadness, so it’s very normal that at some point in the relationship, you will disagree with your partner.” If things have been rough with your partner lately, recognize the possibility that you may be abusing your partner emotionally. Look for warning signs. Experts suggest that anticipating the signs and doing something about it can tremendously save your relationship.

Below is a list of signs that you can watch out for, so you know that you have been emotionally abusing your partner.

  • You’re Doing The Silent Treatment. Although you’re not yelling at your partner, you are instead shutting her off and keeping her from knowing what’s really wrong or how bad your situation is. Psychotherapists say that silent treatments are a means of controlling your partner as an antecedent to abuse. “Power exists in all relationships. Having power means to have a sense of control, to have choices and the ability to influence our environment and others.” Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT explains.


  • You Won’t Accept Responsibility When Arguing. Although it is normally difficult to say sorry during a misunderstanding, it is vital to accept that you are partly to blame in an argument. If you can’t, then you are pushing your partner to take all the blame, and this is a sign that you’re abusive.


  • You Are insulting. Blunt and frank are two words with the same meaning. It can be a positive trait to be blunt, but when you’re too blunt, you are already insulting the other person you’re talking to, and that of course, is a clear sign of being emotionally abusive to your partner.


  • Your Partner Becomes A Crowd Pleaser. If you have lately been criticizing your partner of being such a crowd-pleaser, then you may think twice about why she’s like this. Partners who are emotionally abused have a tendency to act confidently in front of others to compensate for her low self-confidence and the fear she has towards the other person. They want to be appreciated by others, which is why they sometimes overly react in parties or other gatherings.


  • You Downplay An Ongoing Issue. Most often, when you know you’re at fault and you don’t want your partner to rub it in, you tend to minimize the issue at hand. However, if it’s your partner fault, you keep pressing on the issue so that she has to say sorry and cry for things to be okay. Isn’t that obviously unfair and abusive?


  • You Pull Her Down. As a partner, you are there to be her rock and support in all things. You build her up so she would emerge an achiever and succeed in her endeavors. Instead, you ridicule her and pull her down by telling her she’s won’t be able to make it. If your partner is the opposite of who you are, then she doesn’t deserve you at all.


  • You Are Gaslighting. This happens when you psychologically manipulate your partner into thinking that she is crazy or she’s not in her right mind. This is especially true if you’ve done something wrong and your partner attempts to ask you about it. You’re trying to play mind tricks on her as a way of controlling her. This is totally downright abusive. “Love is not about power and control. Everyone deserves a healthy relationship.” Nicole Tammelleo, LCSW-R said.

If you have seen these signs in yourself, then you are absolutely abusing your partner emotionally, and the underlying issue is definitely in you. But don’t be too harsh on yourself. Have a chat with your partner and tell her that you need help and that you want to save your relationship. Through honesty and the help of a therapist, you’re headed to a healthier you and a happier relationship.




Healing From Rape And Sexual Abuse


The effects of sexual assault go far more than any physical injury, no matter how old or young you are. When someone is raped or sexually abused, it leaves her, or his life shattered, leaving them humiliated, terrorized, and isolated. They are cursed with having to go through the same memory every night and waking up to find themselves crying and shaking with fear over the devastating experience. They don’t feel safe anymore, and they find it difficult to make new friends. Their self-worth is so small that they won’t find words to make a pleasant description of themselves. On top of that, as rape survivors, they may be battling with anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder for the rest of their lives.

Hung Tran, Psy.D said “Sexual assault is any sexual act, which is unwelcome or unwanted. It is sometimes committed through use of manipulation, coercion, intimidation, threats, force, or a controlled substance. It can range from sexual battery, to threat of sexual assault, to rape.” If you are a rape victim, you must keep in mind that whatever emotions you are feeling – the rage, blame, resentment, and shame – are normal reactions towards the trauma you have undergone. These are but symptoms and not what you really are. It may be very difficult for you, but with these strategies, you can slowly move forward with your life and soon gain self-confidence, self-trust, and self-worth.


  • Talk To Someone. It is truly very hard to accept that you were sexually assaulted and you cannot undo what happened. You will feel weak and helpless. Although you don’t want to talk about rape, you must remember that you will never heal if you can’t speak up about it. So don’t avoid the truth. Find someone close to you that you can trust – family member, close friend, or a significant other. Express yourself slowly to this person. You’ll be scared to open up everything, but you’ll realize later that you will feel more liberated as you release what’s been keeping you in the dark. This person may be your connection to the outside world and help you interact with the community and join healthy activities that will be worthy of your time and energy. “Abuse is when someone engages in most of these behaviors on a very regular basis, in an almost systematic way (if you think you may be in a truly abusive relationship, please contact a qualified counselor to help evaluate your situation).” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC said.


  • Learn To Cope. This means learning to deal with the trauma, with the act itself, and with the negative emotions that you are feeling every waking moment of your life. The shame and the self-blame may arise while you’re alone thinking about the past, or it may come just as a shock after a year or two. By going to support groups and talking to a therapist, you will come to terms with the truth and learn that you are not shaped by what happened but by how you overcome the challenges that you have faced. It was not your fault, and you should not be ashamed of what happened. You were a victim.


  • Take Care Of Yourself. Recovering from rape is an ongoing process that won’t be finished in a month. The memories of the traumatic experience will definitely not be erased from your mind even after a year. But you can only try to live with the experience with the truth and the powerful tools that you will learn as your weapons to facing life and beating the trials triumphantly. And you do that first by nurturing yourself and loving yourself. Eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise as regularly as possible. These three basic tips can help achieve mental and physical wellness. “Self-love is important to living well. It influences who you pick for a mate, the image you project at work, and how you cope with the problems in your life.” Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D.explains.

You can also engage in calming and relaxation practices such as meditation and yoga, both of which are successful in improving one’s balance in life. Avoid alcohol and drugs, as these will only worsen the symptoms of the trauma. Healing from sexual assault doesn’t happen overnight, and the recovery process can be really painful. But if you hold on to yourself and follow through with these helpful strategies, you will soon be able to regain your self-worth, heal, and emerge even more powerful than you once were.




Help – My Wife Just Won’t Shut Up!


Most abused men have difficulty admitting that their wives verbally abuse them, so they keep mum and don’t tell anyone about it. Fact is, there are very scarce support networks that are available particularly for men or homosexuals who want to get out of an abusive relationship. The simplest reason for this would be that most research and studies centered around domestic abuse generally focus on abused women. There’s really not very much on the web and on books and papers that discuss the basic conflicts in a marriage where women verbally and physically abuse their husbands, so agencies and groups that are willing to help don’t know where to reach out to these abused husbands.

Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT “Abusers typically want to control and dominate. They use verbal abuse to accomplish this. They are self-centered, impatient, unreasonable, insensitive, unforgiving, and they lack empathy and are often jealous, suspicious, and withholding.” Also, experts agree that they have rarely seen women change from verbally abusing their husbands to becoming good wives who are compassionate and loving. This applies to lesbians as well. Why is this so? Studies have shown that for women to be void of femininity and empathy, she should be extremely mentally damaged without repair.

About The Verbally Abusive Wife

Dr. Karen Ruskin, Psy.D. explains “If a woman starts by saying, ‘I care about you so much that I want you to be healthy,’ the discussion may not deteriorate. You are being mindful of their health and wellness,” she said. “If you preface your desire with a love statement, your mate may hear you through that lens of love and care.” However, there is a vast difference between husbands and wives who verbally abuse. The first strong difference is that females were not born with that male privilege where males have complete power over their victim when it comes to their own views on things, which is why females look for others ways to control and establish fear by verbally abusing their husbands. Additionally, in nearly 50% of cases, wives who abuse their husbands verbally and emotionally find power in threatening to fool the system by reporting their husbands as to the abuser and then having them arrested. They intimidate, blame, threat, deny, coerce, and ultimately use their own children to target their husbands.

How To Deal With Your Abusive Wife

As mentioned before, men don’t have a lot of support systems to help them deal with their verbally, abusive wives. What are you to do? The strategies that are used to help a husband stop abusing his wife won’t probably be effective. If you go into the topic of divorce, it would be more daunting for you since you are well aware that despite stories backed by people who might have witnessed your wife verbally abusing you, the mothers do have custody of the children in about 80-90% of the time.

Perhaps it would be wise to keep these pieces of advice in mind so that your life as a husband who is continually being verbally abused by your wife will eventually stop.

  • You must try to create boundaries for yourself and implement these boundaries seriously. Your wife will definitely attempt to disrespect what you have set, but you must make her see that you are firm in getting respect from her and from the marriage.


  • Be with friends who can be trusted and find a support network that will help you develop more resilience, self-confidence, and motivation.


  • Seek therapy and find a therapist who is knowledgeable about abuse and how to deal with it.


  • Write down the number of the abuse hotline so you will have someone to talk to who is ready and willing to help.


  • Knowing more about abuse, specifically verbal abuse, gives you more power to protect yourself and your rights as a husband and a person.

Marie Manly, PhD said, “We can’t change the toxic people into non-toxic people, but we can work on being less reactive.” Ultimately, the husband who is verbally abused by his wife must ask this of himself just as all other victims of abuse do: Is this marriage worth my energy and time? If it is not, then it is time to leave it.




A Victim of Domestic Abuse: How To Help Yourself

Being in an abusive relationship is probably one of the worse things that can happen in your life. It can be confusing to wake up every day being beaten by the person you love, but still, you have no courage to walk away from him. You may also get hurt because you expect the other people to change, but it seems that your wish has become impossible to happen. According to a therapist, it is only normal for a victim of domestic abuse to continue hoping that their abuser is going to change someday. It is the primary reason why most battered women still choose to live with their abusive partners.


If you find yourself in a situation where your spouse continues to hurt you emotionally, physically, and verbally, then maybe it is about time to rethink the marriage.  How long are you going to allow yourself to suffer? Can you take more hardships and pains from the one you love? Or would you rather be alone and save yourself? These are some of the questions that will continue to haunt you down. We understand that it can be difficult on your part to make a decision, especially when you are afraid to make a wrong one. Because of this, we have decided to come up with an article that can help you to determine what you must do the moment your partner becomes violent and abusive. Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP explains that “All marriages are not salvageable. In the process of marriage counseling, some couples may discover it is healthier for them to be apart.”

Call The Local Authorities

Do not hesitate to get in touch with the police or law enforcement agencies the next time your partner hurts you. You must stop thinking about how your report can make his life miserable. Instead, think about yourself and your future. Remember that the more you keep quiet about the maltreatment that he is doing to you, the more he becomes empowered to hurt you continuously. Never give him the satisfaction of allowing him to beat you up while you keep quiet in the corner. If possible, let the police arrest him so that he can get his lesson.


Talk About Your Situation

“Couples’ expectations about what marriage should be like are completely off from the reality of what marriage is actually like” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC said. You must start to accept the reality that you have become a battered woman so that it will be easier on your part to open up to other people. As long as you do not have acceptance of your situation, you will find it challenging to discuss what you are going through to your friends, family, or loved ones. As much as possible, make an effort to communicate what you are feeling inside. Let other people know that you are hurting and do not hesitate to ask for their assistance. For sure, these individuals are more than willing to provide you with their love and care. However, take note that you have to be honest when it comes to communicating with them. Do not conceal any material information so that they can also learn how to trust your words. Failure to do this can make them doubt your sincerity, and they may become uninterested in extending help.

Attend Therapy Sessions

Another thing that you can take into consideration at this point is to seek professional help from a mental health expert. According to Julie Williams, Psy.D.,”Even better, these insights and skills that you’ll gain from marriage counseling and couples therapy can have great and lasting benefits in your other relationships, including in your relationships with colleagues, children, and other family members.” You can join group therapy sessions wherein you can see other women who have also become victims of domestic abuse. By connecting to these people, you will be able to open your eyes to a new perspective. Seeing them during group therapy sessions can help you become more motivated to get out of your current relationship. If you prefer your experience to be a little more confidential, you can try one-on-one sessions with a therapist. The choice depends on your preferences. Nonetheless, you must make an effort to select a therapist that is excellent at what he does and has been proven to be trustworthy.



One of the things that you must never forget is to appreciate yourself. Take note that you are a fantastic person who deserves all the love and respect in this world. Stop making excuses for the behavior of the other person. The moment your husband laid his arms on you is the moment that you should have said goodbye to him. If he truly loves you, he will not hurt you in any manner. However, if you really insist on saving the marriage, it is best for both of you to seek the assistance and help of a marriage counselor. Take note that this will only work if you and your husband are willing to work it out.



Psychology Explains Financial Abuse

Financial abuse happens in about 99% of domestic violence cases. That is because finances are often the most significant factor of marital conflict. It is the reason why victims return to their abusers and stay in a toxic relationship. But what exactly is financial abuse? How can you determine its presence in the marital relationship? What can you do to stop it from turning into a worse situation? Here is how psychology shed some light on domestic violence, particularly on this financial abuse.


What Is Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is an unnoticeable tactic used by the abusers to gain control in a domestic violence situation. Usually, it often starts in a subtle way that no one can notice it even for an extended period. Its victims can be either females or males. But typically, a considerable percentage of it is women. Julie Williamson, LPC, NCC, RPT explains “Financial abuse is the withholding of funds or refusing access to funds to a responsible partner,”

The process of controlling finances is one of the simple yet powerful methods used to keep victims trapped in an abusive marital relationship. Some common forms of abuse are forbidding the partners to work and earn money. The suggestions can execute in both vocal and unintentional ways. There is also controlling how much money gets spent. According to Angel M. Hoodye, MS, LPCS, CART, “A person experiencing financial abuse is under complete financial dependence on the provider of funds. If [they do] need money they may receive an allowance. They also may have to follow a strict protocol for spending.” That is when one of the couples can use the funds to whatever pleases them. However, other individuals appear to get questioned every time they use a portion of the funds. Also, financial abuse has something to do with controlling everything on the paycheck. These include buying expensive stuff without the consent of the husband or wife. Another part of it is withholding all the combined income. It leaves one of the couples abundant, and the other one broke. Also, the removal of access to any bank account is a financial abuse as well, along with the condition of being given an allowance.


The Sad Truth

In most cases, when the victims try and contemplate leaving, they immediately decide not to. They begin to think about how they are going to make it without financial support from their abusers. There is this mentality that leaving the relationship will only result in additional emotional and mental suffering. The truth is, it is an invisible weapon to weaken the victim. The effects are so damaging that victims do not consider leaving the situation even if they wanted to. With that, they ease their guilt, keep their peace, and do everything to make these abusers stay. And hopefully, make these people love them even more.

Usually, the process of abuse often disguises itself as a concern and love for the victims. The abusers can make it look like they want to take care of these people. But in reality, the only thing these abusers desire is complete control over their abused partners. Most financial abusers are narcissistic. They believe that their partners should feel privileged for having them in their lives. These individuals are experts in identifying their significant others’ weakness. They often come up with justifications and reasons why their spouses should owe them and give them what they want.

Not all abuse leaves people with visible scars. But that doesn’t mean that the action is not that painful and impactful. Financial abusers want what they can take. It is a simple principle that reflects their mentality of being self-entitled to do anything without thinking about others’ feelings. They believe that the things that belong to their partners are also theirs. But the things these people have or earned has nothing to do with their spouse or significant others.


Say “No More”

Recovering from financial abuse requires healthy boundaries and awareness. The victims should try to discover the purpose of their lives that truly give them a reason to move forward. When the victims try and recognize their skills and capabilities, they will begin to change their mentality towards financial dependence. Once these individuals start educating themselves with ways on how to make and earn money, they will leave the abusers with no reason to hold them anymore. Aside from them gaining additional knowledge, these people also obtain financial independence as well. Victims must understand the difference between generosity and entitlement. Financial abusers are commonly takers. They sometimes use guilt, threat, and sympathy to achieve their abusive goal. Though the process of knowing it is difficult, individuals should watch out for unusual requests or offers.

Jason B. Whiting, PhD, LMFT states that “Many referred to financial limitations, and these were often connected to caring for children: “I had no family, two young children, no money, and guilt because he had brain damage from a car accident.” Others were unable to keep jobs because of the abuser’s control or their injuries, and others were used financially by their abuser: “[My] ex racked up thousands of debt in my name.” The effects of financial abuse do not just stop when the victims get out of the situation. The mental and emotional torture can last for months, years, and even decades. That is why financial education and self-awareness is vital.