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.