Abuse, in any form, should not be tolerated. You do not deserve to be treated this way, and neither does anybody else.
Emotional abuse is not your daily squabbles with your partner nor is it the time your husband told you in all sincerity how he disapproves of your decision. Those things are included in a healthy relationship – fights, misunderstandings, disagreements. They are all jumbled up in one complex affiliation known as marriage.
Recognize an emotional abuser
Emotional abuse creates an environment wherein the abuser attempts to manipulate the other into conceding to every whim and fancy he thinks would be suitable for his sake.Although an emotional abuser will not result in physical attacks like punching, kicking, or hitting, his ways are wicked and mental in the forms of subtle impressions of concern.
The trouble with emotional abuse, the abuser, do not even realize that he is emotionally abusive. Instead, he would feel intimidated by his partner’s achievements or feel insecure to the point that he would question the love and affection the woman is showing. Thus, the man will then scheme accusations of cheating and eventually blame the woman for his unhappiness. With that, listen to Heather Edwards LMHC, NCC, BCC “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.”
But the abuser does not stop there.
When love transpires to hate
Seeing the opportune moment, the abuser will then check up on the woman and constantly voice out his harsh opinions and criticisms of everything about his partner especially when she goes beyond the line he drew. He now believes that he is superior and will control the way his partner dresses, talks, moves, and even how she interacts with other people. If she goes out of line and tries to argue or state her case, the abuser will surely hurl verbal aggression towards her.
Abuse usually starts with something simple like suggesting to dress differently for a certain event. It could also be as faint as the abuser recommending veggies instead of your choice of steak during your dinner date. Sometimes, he goes as far as intervening with your chosen profession, career, or hobby.
When it’s no longer affection
Initially, these abusive acts are mistaken as an impression of love and undying concern. You warranted his behaviors even if you somehow disagree because you didn’t want to be visualized as defensive or even unappreciative. Being the good partner that you are, wanting to please him in every way, you always make it a point to seem receptive and considerate that you wouldn’t want to alienate him by turning down his suggestions. “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.” Maryann W. Mathai, LPCC, LMHC, LPC, NCC explained.
Besides, the majority of the comments made were mostly constructive, so it’s not abusive, right?
That’s where you’re wrong.
Tolerating these minor signs of emotional abuse will lead much more chronic and despicable abusive undertones wherein the abuser will now suggest that if you refuse to abide with his rules and “suggestions,”there will be unpleasant circumstances.
What’s worse, he will threaten you with abandonment.
Get out while you still can
When does one draw the line? When is the best time for a person to say, “That’s it, I’m sick and tired of this?” And if that person ever did say those words, what would be the next step? Is leaving the best option? Is it your fault? According to Jason B. Whiting, Ph.D., LMFT, “For many women, the safest choice is to just leave. As the brave women in our study shared, by finding courage and seeking out support from loved ones, victims of intimate partner violence can break free of abuse and build a life of dignity and safety.”
When he is already manifesting signs of becoming a perpetrator, you can no longer define this as love. There is something psychologically wrong with him, and his toxic behavior needs medical help.
Once you realize that you’re caught up in the web of unending emotional abuse, there are ways on how to get out.
- Reflect on what you want before considering what your partner wants. It is important that you stay true to your core values, needs, and goals. Set your boundaries and have the power to say, “No.”
- Find the courage to set limitations to his outbursts and criticisms. Be firm in telling your partner that criticism that directly targets you as a person will no longer be welcomed.
- Get validation somewhere else. If your partner doesn’t appreciate you as a person, find other people who will. Engaging in other forms of activities with groups are helpful in gaining back your self-respect and confidence as a person.
There is always a way out if you want to. Don’t interpret emotional abuse as a sign of love and intimacy. A healthy relationship is something that’s supportive of your growth and development as an individual; it does not diminish who you are nor does it relinquish your role in a relationship. Love for others doesn’t oblige you to hate yourself.