Where Physical abuse is a very serious and traumatic outburst that can leave you with many scars, Emotional abuse is the sneaky snake that remains ever elusive and sinks it’s venom into your veins and slowly paralyses you. This often leaves the victim stuck in a situation they feel powerless to change.
Although you may think of the traditional scenario, male as abuser and woman as victim, when it comes to emotional abuse it can happen in any relationship – between a parent and their children, a teacher and a child, friendships and with other relatives.
As a victim of emotional abuse I can tell you that nothing can be more damaging to your confidence and self-worth. In a lot of cases it takes away your freedom, your independent thought is locked up and you feel like you need someone else’s permission for everything.
If you are not sure what constitutes as emotional abuse I have provided a list of signs that can help you.
1.Constant insults or put-downs. These can be subtle or the abuser might even say they are only joking afterwards but if it is a constant thing it is a problem.
2. Nothing you say is acknowledged as valuable. They regularly disregard or devalue your opinions, ideas, suggestions, or needs.
3. Refusing to communicate. Not putting any time into communication is a serious issue that can leave you feeling alone. They might not care to truly get to know you, your likes, dislikes, feelings, your past, your dreams for the future.
4. Selfishness. All they see is themselves and all they care about is what they want and how to get it. They will not feel regret over your loss or how they have made you feel if they get something out of it. They’re needs will come first always!
5. Unreasonable Jealousy. Every one gets a little jealous sometimes but with an emotionally abusive individual they will get extremely jealous over something small it could be that they caught someone looking at you or you were better than them at something. This can cause them to respond with moodiness/anger/restricting your freedom or attacking your individuality.
6. Withdrawing affection. They just can’t show you physical affection. They will come up with excuses why they cannot be close to you.
7. Extreme Moodiness and Anger.
8. Domination or control. They will do or say things to express their control over you. Often they will increase control over different aspects of your life very subtly.
9. Isolating you from friends or family
10. Controlling money. They could find reasons to take your money or spend your money. They will take from you even if you have little or less than them to give.
11. Constant calling or Texting. This will never stop! you could walk to the shop or go walking the dog, it doesn’t matter if you are gone for 5 minutes or an hour you will be bombarded with calls and you will be lectured if you miss a call or don’t answer. If you try to fix this issue they might even say they will ease up on the calls just to assure you it won’t happen as much again ……but trust me it will!
12. Threatening to hurt you even Jokingly. This is something that can be very scary. The abuser could say he wants to hit you or gesture with his hands he could say he wants to cut your throat or chop you up or do something to harm you physically. When you confront him or ask him why he will say he wasn’t serious or he was only joking. Often these threats will come out of nowhere you could have been talking about the weather or some food you need to get from the shop.
13. Pointing out imperfections. If you have a pimple, a scar or your a little overweight or if you have nothing worth picking on at all, they will find something and they will point it out. This is because of their own insecurities and the yearning to make you feel less than them and more self-conscious.
14. Humiliating of embarrassing you.
15. Ignoring or excluding you. It could be your wedding day and this person will seem like they are more focused on everyone and everything else.
16. Talking over you. They will raise their voice often when talking to you they will also cut in when you speak.
17. Making everything your fault. If you get upset and say your leaving they could apologise and beg for your forgiveness but a little while later they will be sure to remind you how everything was your fault anyway.
18. They try to tell you how YOU feel. They will tell you you are crying because you feel guilty because……..(Fill in the blanks) they will tell you they forgive YOU! for whatever YOU have done. They will tell you this happened because of X, Y and Z that YOU did.
19. They will belittle your accomplishments
20. They will try to change you. They will try to change the way you dress, the way you do your hair the way you speak, the way you eat the way you do everything.
21. They make excuses for their behaviour. They will try to blame others, and have difficulty apologising.
22. They will not show you compassion or empathy. You could have cut your finger chopping carrots for their dinner and you can be sure they won’t rush over to see if you are okay. You could have told them a traumatic incident from your past and they will not even give a response, you could have heard some terrible news and they will only give it a second of their attention then its back to them and their day.
23. Trying to leave seems to make it worse. If you try to leave they will threaten, lie and even attack your family members to bully you into giving them one more chance.
24. They withhold sex as a way to manipulate and control.
25. When you do have sex its all about what they want nothing to please you. They can become angry or forceful during sex if you try to change it from what they want.
26. They share personal information about you with others. Nothing about you is private.
27. They are emotionally distant. They withdraw into themselves often and make themselves unavailable to you.
28. Your feelings mean nothing. You could have poured your heart out in a card or letter for them or handmade something beautiful they will never appreciate it or even give it a second glance. Often these people value money or items more than they will ever value sentiment.
29. You need Permission. You feel like you need permission to make decisions or go out somewhere.
30. No Laughing. They find it very hard to laugh at themselves and they certainly can’t tolerate others laughing at them.
31. Your enjoyment annoys them. Unless they are getting some benefit or fun from something themselves they don’t really like to see you enjoying it.
32. They call you names, they label you as something.
You do not need to have all of these signs to know you are in an abusive relationship having just a couple can be enough of red flag for a relationship.
Long-term emotional abuse can cause severe emotional trauma. It can cause the victim to suffer from depression, severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Long term emotional abuse can effect you physically, lower your immune system and have numerous affects on your body.
It can take a while for a victim to even realise they are being abused they can end up rationalising the abusers behaviour and minimising the issues with coping mechanisms they develop due to the psychological stress they are under.
When you are emotionally abused you can feel like you are in a glass box where no one can hear you. you feel like you are owned by your abuser. This box never opens to let light or love or happiness in it only opens for hate and fear and anxiety. You can break out of that box by saying no to your situation, by realising you deserve better as a human being.
Emotional abuse can also escalate into physical abuse very quickly and unfortunately both can happen together at the same time for a lot of victims. The effects of this can be damaging to that person for an entire life time which is why if you feel you are a victim of emotional abuse or you know someone who could be suffering you need to act now!
When you leave an emotionally abusive situation it is common for the abuser to try and attack you with words and manipulation any way they can. Often they will want to play the victim with all their friends and family so that they can receive pity and advice. This is classic of a mental abuser who has lost control of their victim. The abuser needs to feel in control and he will seek constant approval from those around him and convince them that he’s the true victim. The real victim will usually find it hard to think about anything accept what is happening to them in their mind. They could stop eating, have trouble sleeping, stop functioning while their mind is in turmoil. They might withdraw from social activities, work, seeing family and let out their feelings when they are alone.
If you were in a good relationship you would not have to question it. If you have a doubt then a doubt is enough to call it quits. You can find a relationship that is emotionally balanced and fulfilling. Break free of emotionally abusive relationships and live the life you were meant to live.
If you have any questions/comments please leave them in the comments section below you can also feel free to email lovefromcara.com.
I’m sending my love to all my readers especially those affected by any kind of abuse or violence there is a way out. You have been given a beautiful life to live, full of possibilities. Do not waste it with the wrong person! Even if that means being on your own for a while. What is the point of staying in a situation where you are unhappy. Surround yourself with those who love and support you. Make a change now with no regrets. Do it for you and for the bright future that lies ahead of you – Cara Lyons