Emotional abuse is dark and elusive. Unlike the more obvious physical abuse with outwards signs, the people doing it and receiving it may not even really know that it is happening.
Emotional abuse can be more harmful than physical abuse because it can undermine what we think about ourselves, and there are no obvious physical wounds. It can be debilitating and cripple all we are meant to be as we allow something untrue to define us. Emotional abuse can happen on all scales and relationships, between parent and child, husband and wife, among relatives and between friends.
You will often find that he abuser projects their words, attitudes or actions onto an unsuspecting victim usually because they themselves have not dealt with childhood wounds that are now causing them to harm others.
There are actually many forms of emotional abuse :
Humiliation, degradation, discounting, negating, judging, criticizing:
Do any of the following questions ring true-
Does anyone make fun of you or put you down in front of others?
Do they tease you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you?
When you complain do they say that “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive?
Do they tell you that your opinion or feelings are “wrong?”
Does anyone regularly ridicule, dismiss, disregard your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, and feelings?
Domination, control, and shame:
Do you feel that the person treats you like a child?
Do they constantly correct or chastise you because your behaviour is “inappropriate?”
Do you feel you must “get permission” before going somewhere or before making even small decisions?
Do they control your spending?
Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them?
Do they make you feel as though they are always right?
Do they remind you of your shortcomings?
Do they belittle your accomplishments, your aspirations, your plans or even who you are?
Do they give disapproving, dismissive, contemptuous, or condescending looks, comments, and behaviour?
Accusing and blaming, trivial and unreasonable demands or expectations, denies own shortcomings:
Do they accuse you of something contrived in their own minds when you know it isn’t true?
Are they unable to laugh at themselves?
Are they extremely sensitive when it comes to others making fun of them or making any kind of comment that seems to show a lack of respect?
Do they have trouble apologizing?
Do they make excuses for their behaviour or tend to blame others or circumstances for their mistakes?
Do they call you names or label you?
Do they blame you for their problems or unhappiness?
Do they continually have “boundary violations” and disrespect your valid requests?
Emotional distancing and the “silent treatment,” isolation, emotional abandonment or neglect:
Do they use pouting, withdrawal or withholding attention or affection?
Do they not want to meet the basic needs or use neglect or abandonment as punishment?
Do they play the victim to deflect blame onto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes?
Do they not notice or care how you feel?
Do they not show empathy or ask questions to gather information?
Codependence and enmeshment:
Does anyone treat you not as a separate person but instead as an extension of themselves?
Do they not protect your personal boundaries and share information that you have not approved?
Do they disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?
Do they require continual contact and haven’t developed a healthy support network among their own peers?
Anger and abuse in relationships begin with blame: “I feel bad, and it’s your fault.”
Even when they recognize the wrongness of their behaviour, resentful, angry, or emotionally abusive people are likely to blame it on their partners: “You push my buttons,” or, “I might have overreacted, but I’m human, and look what you did!” Angry and abusive people feel like victims, which justifies in their minds victimizing others.
There is no need to be stuck in an abusive relationship. Contact us today at LifeLine and stop the vicious circle of abuse. If you feel as though you need help coping with any problems that you have in your day to day life, please feel free to contact us anytime on our National Counseling Line on 0861 322 322 if there are no Lifeline branches .
Always remember that you are never alone.