Most people are open to talking about physical abuse because it can be seen but not everyone realizes that emotional abuse is there even when you can’t see it. Physical abuse is clear because you can see it, but emotional abuse sometimes gets put on the back burner.
What is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse is when a person in the relationship will take power or control over the other partner so that they can make them feel invalidated or they can stop them from doing things they want to do. They often stop their partner from spending time with people in the family or they don’t let them have money to spend out of the finances. Emotional abuse can come in the form of “joking” or just telling someone the “truth.”
This kind of abuse comes from a place of coercion. This means that if you don’t do what they want you to do or they aren’t pleased with how you act, they won’t hurt you, so to say, but this seems to have a threat behind it. This can even include the partner threatening to kill their own self just to make that person feel bad.
This kind of relationship is abusive and it can be damaging to those that are involved in it. If you think that you are in this kind of relationship, you aren’t the only one. There are many adults that are facing emotional abuse by their partners. Here is what emotional abuse can look like:
Feelings of Humiliation
A partner can be emotionally abusive by humiliating you. This can be done in your home or in public. They might make jokes to make you look bad or they might criticize what you are doing, saying or how you look. Whatever is said, it is said to not be nice to you and to make you feel bad.
You will start to feel bad from the moment the thing is said, and this can continue on to the point where you have no more self-esteem. You will then start to feel that you aren’t worth anything or that you aren’t deserving of respect.
Being in Denial
Denial happens to make you doubt who you are. You might hear your partner say something that is hurtful to you, and they will deny that they meant it that way. Or, if your partner isn’t wanting you to be around family and friends and they are confronted, they will blame you for it.
As this continues to happen, you have a harder time knowing what is true and what isn’t. You start to doubt yourself and what you are thinking and feeling.
In this kind of toxic relationship, chances are that you will feel criticized and mistreated. You will hear your partner say things and blow things out of proportion that shouldn’t be a big deal. This can hurt your self-esteem and make you feel worthless.
The more you hear them say things to you, the worse you will feel and the more you will start to believe it. Your partner will make you feel that you aren’t even good enough to be in the relationship. On top of this, your partner will probably limit the amount of time that you are with other people. They will set lots of boundaries and you will need to follow them so that you don’t upset them.
Blaming and Accusing You
Your partner will constantly blame and accuse you of things that aren’t real. They will try to make you feel bad and make you feel guilty for what you did. This is a big sign of emotional abuse.
They will accuse you so that they can control you. The will even blame you for things that you are the one that did it. For example, if your partner is cheating on you, they will accuse you of cheating to hide their own infidelity.
A relationship that is full of emotional abuse can cause there to be codependence. The abuser can make you completely dependent on them so that they can control you in your friendships, finances and in every aspect of your life.
Your partner that is being emotionally abusive can be one that makes you feel that they are totally dependent on you so that they can get what they need from you. They might need you to pay their car before you pay your own rent or they might find other ways to leave the relationship unbalanced and uneven.
Another kind of emotional abuse is emotional neglect. This means that they are never serious with you, and they never allow you to show your emotions or they won’t show theirs. They might leave the house and not talk to you if you try to tell them something they did wrong. They will manipulate you and try to control you in this way.
Your partner might even try to isolate you from others. They will be someone that won’t let you be around your family or your friends. They will get mad when you mention wanting to go somewhere with them or wanting to spend time with them.
Emotional abuse is part of isolation because they need you to not be around people that are going to tell you to get out of the relationship. They will do their best to turn you against people that love you.
Dealing with Emotional Abuse
When you wonder if you should leave a relationship where there is emotional abuse, you should. It will not get better. This is a relationship that is not going to be healthy and it will only get worse as time goes on.
Emotional abuse often happens before physical abuse starts. You need to make sure that you are getting help that you need if you feel this as a cycle in your relationship. Talk to a therapist or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). They can help you to figure out how to get out of the relationship and to be safe.