Emotional abuse in a relationship is a silent killer, that does not leave any bruises, but is attacking the victim’s self confidence, self worth and killing them.
The form of emotional abuse that we are discussing today is subtle and not very brutal, but is equally harmful. It’s not easy to spot though, especially by the victim, the only thing they feel is something is amiss.
The victim of the abuse quite often doesn’t see the mistreatment as abusive. They develop coping mechanisms of denial and minimizing in order to deal with the stress. But the effects of long-term emotional abuse can cause severe emotional trauma in the victim, including depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder.
1. You feel like you need permission to make decisions.
2. They try to control the finances and how you spend money.
3. They try to control you and treat you like a child.
4. They regularly point out your flaws, mistakes, or shortcomings.
5. They regularly demean or disregard your opinions, ideas, suggestions, or needs.
6. They accuse or blame you of things you know aren’t true.
7. They make excuses for their behavior, try to blame others, and have difficulty apologizing.
8. The repeatedly cross your boundaries and ignore your requests.
9. They blame you for their problems, life difficulties, or unhappiness.
10. They don’t show you empathy or compassion.
11. They are emotionally distant or emotionally unavailable most of the time.
12. They play the victim and try to deflect blame to you rather than taking personal responsibility.
13. They don’t seem to notice or care about your feelings.
14. They view you as an extension of themselves rather than as an individual.
15. The fact that they hurt you has absolute no impact on them. They never apologise.
16. Their is no display of respect.
If the emotional abuser in your relationship isn’t interested in changing, and you aren’t in a position to leave the relationship immediately, here are some strategies for reclaiming your power and self-esteem for the short term:
Put your own needs first
Stop worrying about pleasing or protecting the abuser. Take care of yourself and your needs, and let the other person worry about themselves — even when they pout or try to manipulate you and control your behavior.
If the abuser tries to pick a fight or win an argument, don’t engage with anger, over-explaining yourself, or apologies to try to sooth him/her. Just keep quiet and walk away.
Realize you can’t “fix” them
You can’t make this person change or reason your way into their hearts and minds. They must want to change and recognize the destructive quality of their behavior and words. You’ll only feel worse about yourself and the situation by repeated “interventions.”
You are not to blame
If you’ve been entrenched in an abusive relationship for a while, it can be crazy-making. You start to feel like something must be wrong with you since this other person treats you so poorly. Begin to acknowledge to yourself that it is NOT you. This is the first step toward rebuilding your self-esteem.
Talk to trusted friends and family or a counselor about what you are going through. Get away from the abusive person as often as possible, and spend time with those who love and support you. This support system will help you feel less alone and isolated while you still contend with the abuser.
Emotional abuse is a form of brain-washing that slowly erodes the victim’s sense of self-worth, security, and trust in themselves and others. In many ways, it is more detrimental than physical abuse because it slowly disintegrates one’s sense of self and personal value. It cuts to the core of your essential being, which can create lifelong psychological scars and emotional pain.
Although occasional instances of abusive behavior do not constitute an abusive relationship, they certainly raise the risk of ruining health and happiness.
Unmitigated by readily available compassion, abusive behaviors lead quickly to chronic resentment and, eventually, to contempt. That’s because we tend to form emotional bonds with an expectation that those we love will care about how we feel. When loved ones fail to care that we are hurt, let alone inflict hurt upon us, it feels like betrayal. Failure of compassion in a love relationship feels like abuse.