Of all the different types of abuse out there, nothing is more damaging than the effects of emotional abuse on one’s sense of self-worth and dignity.
In isolated cases of emotional abuse, even though there may not be any physical evidence of abuse, the consequences can be far more detrimental.
Since the tactics that are employed by the abuser are more subtle and evasive than that of physical abuse, neither they nor the victim are entirely conscious of the damage that is being done. If this behaviour in the relationship remains consistent, it is likely for the victim to develop coping mechanisms that help them deal with the anguish, and in the long run they are likely to develop symptoms of depression, anxiety and even PTSD.
A good definition of emotional abuse (AKA Psychological abuse or “Chronic Verbal Aggression”) is any act that isolates or confines an individual, including the use of intimidation or humiliation or any other act that can diminish the victim’s self-esteem.
Here are some things that emotional abusers do in a relationship. Hopefully recognizing these behaviours can help you to take charge of your emotional well-being.
1. They embarrass you or mock you when you’re in the company of others.
2. They ignore your needs, wants, and desires, brush off your points of view, and overlook your beliefs.
3. Their remarks are scornful and often sarcastic in an attempt to shame you or make you feel self-pity.
4. They try and blame their abusive behaviour on you for being too “easily hurt”.
5. They infantilize you (treat you as if you were a child).
6. They resort to obscure punishments for every little thing you don’t do right.
7. You feel that you always need their consent to go anywhere or do anything.
8. They feel the need to take charge of your finances and what your money gets spent on.
9. They squash your hopes and dreams, disapprove of your achievements and criticize you about everything.
10. They will never admit that you may be right since their word is law and you are always the one at fault.
11. Their non-verbal attitude is condescending, you will never be looked at as an equal to them, even when they’re not saying anything.
12. They often rub your face in your imperfections, constantly making you aware of your flaws.
13. They randomly come up with false accusations that you firmly believe are not true.
14. They absolutely cannot handle criticizm since they’re usually the one dishing it out.
15. You will never hear the end of it if you are ever accused of any form of disrespect.
16. They come up with excuses to justify their behaviour, try to pin their mistakes on others and are never remorseful.
17. They incessantly push your buttons and purposely disregard anything you ask from them.
18. They try and make you believe that you are the cause of all of their problems, the reason for all of their misery.
19. Calling you names and uttering snide comments that are barely audible are some of their more frequently used abusive maneuvers.
20. They are often withdrawn or completely unavailable emotionally.
21. Sulking or the silent treatment lets you know that what they need now is some form of attention.
22. Their attitude towards you is completely apathetic, they have no sense of compassion.
23. They victimise themselves in some sort of attempt to make you believe you are the abuser.
24. They will set up abadonment scenarios in order to make you think that you need them.
25. They are completely ignorant towards your emotions.
26. They take away your individuality by making you think you are a part of them.
27. They withhold important information from you as a means of control.
28. They lack any sense of confidentiality and will frequently share your own personal details with everyone.
29. They will never agree to their behaviour as being abusive when bringing it to their attention.
30. Another way that they try and take control of you is by making vague threats and underhanded remarks.
The road to recovering from this type of emotional abuse first begins with recognition.
If any of these signs of emotional abuse appear frequently in your relationship, it’s time to be honest and straightforward with yourself. That is the only way to regain control over your own life, put and end to the abuse, and finally start to heal.
By Raven Fon