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Everything You Need To Know About Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is something that can happen to people at any point in their lives. It could be at the hand of their parents, their friends and/or their partners. Children go through it, and so do teens and adults. Emotional abuse in any relationship has devastating consequences on the person it is subjected to and the relationship that is shared by the abuser and the abused. What makes detecting emotional abuse even more difficult is the fact that there is no physical mark that could be a glaring red flag. But if you look closely, you will see there are so many warning signals that suggest a person is being emotionally abused. Before we discuss the signs and the effects, first let’s find out what is emotional abuse.

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Suggested read: #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou Sheds Light On The Dark Reality Of Emotional Abuse

What is emotional abuse?

According to HealthyPlace, emotional abuse can be defined as,

“any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”

Many researches have called emotional abuse a form of psychological abuse where verbal aggression is a major means of abuse.

The effects of emotional abuse can be devastating. They usually include, personality changes, where the abused becomes withdrawn from real life, has low self-esteem, becomes anxious and depressed. If the emotional abuse continues for a long time, then the person it is subjected to can even become suicidal.

Dynamics of emotional abuse in a relationship

Emotional abuse tends to be cyclical in nature, just like other types of abuse. It starts when a partner, in an attempt to show power over the other partner, starts dominating over him/her. Once the abusing starts, the abuser begins to feel guilty. His/her guilt does not come from what he has done, but from the after-effects of the abusive actions. After the guilt comes into the equation, the abuser begins making excuses in order to dodge responsibility for what has happened. The abuser will suddenly become all “normal” and behave as if nothing ever happened. He or she may even turn on their most apologetic and giving performance. This makes the abused believe that the other person is sorry for what he or she has done, which is far from the truth. The abuser in the meanwhile is fantasizing how to create a situation where he or she can emotionally abuse the partner in a severer way.

Example of emotional abuse

Here’s an example of emotional abuse given by Psychology Today that will help you understand better this form of abuse that is rampant in relationships:

“Mary constantly criticizes Tim in hopes that by putting him down she will be able to control his behavior. She belittles him when they are alone and she puts him down in front of others.  When he tries to speak up for himself, or call her on her behavior, she attempts to make him feel like he is crazy, like everyone knows he’s crazy and like no one would ever take him seriously (Gaslighting).  She blames him for her unhappiness frequently, holding him responsible for how she feels.  She takes little to no responsibility for her own choices and behavior.  She uses a double-standard when it comes to her own behavior, not holding herself accountable when she does the same exact things for which she criticizes him.  She calls him stupid, inept, dumb and other like names frequently.  When he speaks to her relatives or friends, she rolls her eyes in an attempt to manipulate them into disrespecting him. She treats him with disdain, even disgust frequently.  She threatens to leave him or to stop speaking to him frequently.  And she refuses to show him affection, giving affection only when he does exactly what she wants.  She is especially cold, even non-verbal, when she is mad at him.  Sometimes she goes days or even weeks without speaking to him.  Mary also goes to other family members and friends of Tim’s to talk to them about Tim, thus isolating Tim from those who would be supportive and could let him know that he is being abused.  Mary is showing a distinct pattern of emotional abuse that comes at Tim from several different directions.”

Abuse has no gender

what is emotional abuse_New_Love_Times

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According to a survey conducted recently, it was seen that most people believe emotional/physical abuse committed by women is not as serious or grave as abuse committed by men. This is absurd, because abuse is not gender-specific. Also, this belief takes root from the idea that men are always the aggressors, which is not true. Abuse can come from anyone.

The world is patriarchal and so men are expected to be the strong ones. Men being abused physically or emotionally, is considered as an insult to men’s manliness, and so men who are subjected to the abuse do not talk about it or report it for fear of ridicule and insult.

Understanding this is vital, to help solve the problem.

Signs to recognize emotional abuse

emotional abuse

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Like we said earlier on in the post, physical abuse is very easy to recognize. But since there is no physical mark in the case of emotional abuse, it tends to go unidentified. However, there are 9 signs of emotional abuse you are likely to notice if you look closely. Let us discuss those 9 signs.

In relationships, we know that domestic violence is a complete no-no. But what we fail to detect are the signs of emotional abuse as it is hard to spot. This is what makes emotional abuse so much trickier that physical abuse. You will not believe it but, in some cases, both the abuser as well as the abused are not even aware of the abusive relationship they are leading.

For those of you who are trying to analyze your relationship and trying to make amends were necessary, the following signs will help you understand if you are in an emotional relationship. If you realize you are in one, then you need to make changes ASAP or try to get out of that relationship. We are asking you to leave your abusive partner because more than often it has been seen that abusers do not change their behavior because that is their personality, and changing that is almost impossible. Hence, if you see you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, it is suggested you leave immediately.

Changing someone’s emotional and mental makeup is very difficult, no matter how much time you give it or how much effort you put in. On the contrary, you will end up wreaking havoc on your self-esteem and your soul. It just isn’t worth the deal, right?

If you do not do something about the emotional abuse you are going through in your relationship you can expect it to slowly progress and slip under the radar.

Signs of emotional abuse

emotional abuse

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Here are some signs that will help you understand if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship or not.  These telltale signs can be the reason why your romantic life feels like a struggle.

Suggested read: 20 Definite Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship

1. They are hypercritical about you and what you do

emotional abuse

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A little sarcasm is okay in a relationship; in fact, it makes the relationship more fun. Dry humor in most cases is seen to add more fire and spunk to a marriage or a romantic relationship in general. However, there is a very thin line that separates ball-busting from outright humiliation.

If you think you are in a hypercritical relationship than you are for sure with an emotionally abusive partner who enjoys putting you down and making fun of you. It is a warning that you need to make amends.

2. They completely disregard your opinions

If in your relationship, you have noticed that your partner totally disregards your opinions and has no respect for your choices, then you are in an emotionally abusive relationship. Every binary relationship includes two people who come with different thoughts, beliefs and sentiments. It is important that opinions of both the people involved are respected and a middle ground is achieved.

No one wants to date a twin! If your partner constantly tries to change you by not respecting your choices, then we can say for certain they are trying to control you which is emotionally abusive.

3. They do not show any compassion toward you

If your partner shows no empathy towards you or your people or your friends, then it is because they are emotionally abusers.

From this lack of empathy stems lack of respect and so they begin to control you because they think you are not capable of taking your own decisions. Empathy is very important in a relationship, and lack of it means you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.

4. The will cheat on you or threaten to cheat


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A quality that most abusers share is that they are selfish, and infidelity is the epitome of selfishness, isn’t it? If your partner constantly cheats on you or threatens you that he or she will get into an affair out of the relationship, then they are emotionally abusing you.

In some cases, the abuser engages in an affair just to hurt the partner. This is another way for them to wield the power they have on you.

We are not saying that all partners who cheat are abusers but it has been seen that cheating is a form of emotional abuse.

If this is your reality, then darling you need to get out of this relationship as soon as you can.

5. Your finances are controlled by your partner

Controlling, in general, is a form of emotional abuse, and the best way to control someone is by monitoring their finances. In this way, your survival depends on this other person.

Your abuser does not let you handle the bills or any kind of payments. As such there is no or very little money with you. Even you are earning, they will tell you that you are not smart enough to deal with your money and will want to handle that for you. Soon you will feel like you are being treated like a child, which you are.

6. They will try to alienate you from your friends and family

An abuser, whether physical or emotional, will try to isolate his or her prey.  This is done to make sure you only rely on them and have no one else to go to or depend on.

A partner who asks you to miss a night out with friends because he/she is unwell or bored may not be an emotional abuser. But one who constantly asks you to cancel all plans you have with your folks and/or your friends is definitely an emotional abuser.

If your partner cannot give you a solid reason as to why he or she doesn’t want you to meet your people, then he/she is emotionally abusing you, and you need to run away from them immediately.

7. They will constantly make you feel guilty about everything you do

For example, if you have plans that do not involve your partner, they will tell you to cancel those because they feel low and want you to be with them. They will tell you that they don’t like it when you are not around. Initially, this might seem sweet, but soon it will get suffocating and you will realize that all this was just a ploy to keep you isolated from everyone else.

8. They might even threaten to commit suicide


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Emotional abusers use this as a major tactic. This is just the highest level of manipulation that they employ to get you to do what they want you to do. If you think that their threats are not empty, then you need to talk to their family and/or friends and seek help. But, get out of this relationship!

9. Your partner will refuse to have sex with you as a form of control

couple dissatisfied with sex_New_Love_Times

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Sex is usually used as a weapon by emotional abusers to get the partner’s attention. The abuser uses it as a passive-aggressive step to express anger. This way they also make the abused partner feel guilty about something they have not done at all! Withholding other ways of showing affection or avoiding the partner to get his or her attention are always ways of emotionally abusing the partner.

That is a wrap on today’s post on what is emotional abuse and what signs suggest you are in such a relationship. If after reading the signs you think you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, then it is time you get out of it immediately.

Suggested read: Inside The Mind Of A Victim: 8 Steps In Which Emotional Abuse Plays Out

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Article Name
What Is Emotional Abuse? How Does It Affect You And Your Relationship In The Long Run?
Let's find out what is emotional abuse exactly. We'll also look at the signs that confirm whether or not you're in an emotionally abusive relationship.
Riya Roy

Riya Roy

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.” This Isaac Asimov line, embraces my love for writing in the finest and most desperate way that it is and should be! I was tormented by the earnestness of the written word not very early in my journey. But once smitten, it has helped me devour life twice over; savoring the moment and indulging in its memories. As a flâneuse, I wander to understand the intricacies of human relationships. Realizing that, they are just different manifestations of the same feeling of love, has been my greatest learning. I seek to share its opulence through the words I type.