What is Emotional Abuse?

Physical abuse is fairly easy to diagnose, while on the other hand, emotional abuse is more vague and can be confusing for someone who is not experienced in determining what is emotional abuse.

Physical abuse and emotional abuse share the same cycle of abuse. In this way, they are similar, though emotional abuse is often confused with difficult communication which is a necessary component in a successful relationship. It is important (non-abusive and respectful of the relationship) to understand what constitutes emotional abuse.

The effects of an emotional abuser often go unnoticed at first and build over time in a relationship, until it finally dawns on the victim that emotional abuse has occurred. Also, it is so easy to jump to a conclusion when your partner suddenly says or does something that you don’t like, then to accuse them of emotional abuse. Doing so would be a form of emotional abuse. ‘Ere the need to have your wits about you and know what is and what is not emotional abuse.

What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse comes in basically four categories, disrespect, controlling, accusatory, and isolative.

Disrespect

Disrespectful emotional abuse includes an underlying tone which threatens how you feel about yourself, is often critical, makes you feel valueless, or humiliated. Some of the verbal tools used by the emotional abuser may include words like, stupid, idiot, or retard.

They will assault your character, call you childish, or when they don’t like what you’re saying or doing, challenge you to, “act like a grownup,” suggest you, “put on your big boy pants,” or, “man up.”

They will take pot shots, embarrassing you in public, are sarcastic, insulting, and make you the brunt of their jokes in public. Off-screen, they assure you they were just joking, so you shouldn’t take it personally. After all, he or she was just having fun (at your expense).

They are patronizing, like, “Oh don’t worry your little self. No one would expect too much from you. You’re just doing the best you can with what you have.” Possibly accompanied by an eye-roll or some other gesture which communicates exactly how disrespectful they are being.

They push your buttons, to make you fly off the handle, then accuse you of lacking sanity or self-control.

And the worst of them are loud. They raise their voices, assert threatening postures, and/or other body language to intimidate or threaten you.

Controlling

Threats are a huge component for controllers. They will threaten to take off with your child, harm you (fully awake or in your sleep), your family, your friends, or pet, and if that doesn’t work, they may threaten to engage in self-harm or threaten to commit suicide to get you to comply with their demand, or threaten to leave and abandon you.

They need to know everything about you all the time; what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, in the presence of whom, and for how long. Often demanding a minute by minute play by play reporting. Any lack of verifiable evidence is cause for suspicion and false accusations, putting you on the defensive.

They are paranoid, always suspicious, and are susceptible to spying, digital monitoring, may even demand access to your phone, social media accounts, browsing history, and email.

They make promises they have no intention of keeping, and make decisions without consulting with you, which may include making plans, canceling plans, making financial decisions, or any other method of usurping their control over you with no regard for you or your input.

They go on and on, lecturing you to utter boredom, when all you can do is hear the dull roar of a sociopathic monologue, then they get mad and attack you because you’re not paying attention.

Controllers bark their demands, then expect you to “snap to,” in complete compliance without questioning their authority.

Expect controllers to suddenly blow up or emotionally explode when you forget the slightest detail of any demand they may have had (then brace yourself for another lengthy lecture or a laundry list of threats).

Trying to accommodate a controller might be enough to drive you crazy because they will be so constant and relentless with their demands and expectations, that no normal person could possibly keep up with it, which makes you inadequate in their eyes, and they won’t be shy about letting you know that you let them down, reminding you of your shortfalls periodically along the way.

Accusatory

You are to blame for everything while they remain superior and flawless. Better get used to everything being your fault.

They excel at being green monsters of jealousy with the potential to go into an accusatory rage because you are an unfaithful cheater and cannot be trusted.

They will flip any unfortunate circumstance to be your fault, even if it was clearly their doing that presented the difficult situation.

Do not accept any responsibility from the accusatory emotional abuser because they never do anything wrong. If it’s not you they are blaming, it’s someone or something else. They are always the victim.

If you try to get them to own up to their abuse, oh no, it’s not their being abusive, it’s you who is the abuser. Wake up and get it straight.

You will always be indebted to them so they can use guilt to persuade you to comply because of what they did for you, and you owe them.

And if you caught them red-handed in the act? Nope. Didn’t happen. They weren’t even there and had nothing to do with it. It’s all just your jealous overactive imagination and unbridled insecurity which makes you crazy and delusional.

Isolative

They will create a social vacuum for you to exist within, where nothing else exists except for you and the emotional abuser. Say, “goodbye” to family and friends because the emotional abuser wants you totally dependent on him or her for any of your needs.

And your needs will never be as important as the emotional abuser’s needs, so don’t expect many of them to be provided because his or her needs will always come before yours.

The emotional abuse will be framed in a construct of militaristic restraints. You will be expected to comply with your emotional abuser’s demands, or else. Not unlike an abusive Drill Sergeant, you are expected to, “Jump when I say jump.” And your response better not be, “Why?” It better be, “How high?” followed by your body being in the air or else you will suffer the consequences.

Alternatively, the isolative emotional abuser will isolate you from him or her, punishing you by cutting you off, ignoring you, refusing to communicate with you, or withholding positive attention, intimacy, or sex.

If you try to express your concerns, they will belittle you, accuse you of being needy or immature. If you react by responding emotionally or be moved to tears, they will not acknowledge your feelings and ignore or act annoyed by your being emotionally expressive, which is clearly unacceptable behavior.

What is not emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is not your partner’s response which is not what you want to hear. Everyone is different, we all have our own ideas about what we want and how we expect to be treated in a relationship. You must respect your partner’s right to express him- or herself in any way that works for him or her.

Disagreeing, arguing, even fighting amongst couples is not necessarily emotional abuse even though it can cause you emotional pain. Difficult conversations even fighting are necessary parts of a deeply personal relationship between two different people.

When someone asserts how they feel, which may be blunt, and can potentially hurt your feelings, try not to take it personally. Everyone is entitled to feel how they feel, and you should feel blessed that they feel safe enough to let you get access to these deepest parts of them which are probably hidden from others in their life.

Yelling does not indicate emotional abuse, although a hysterical emotional outburst would probably be a tool used by the emotional abuser. In a healthy relationship, if someone temporarily loses emotional control, a healthy couple will take a break, allow the emotions to calm, then talk it out.

Raising one’s voice can be a learned method of communication for expressing one’s self. As this person grows, he or she might be able to learn new methods of communication as you grow as a couple and learn more positive forms of communication.

Unless it is a threat used to control you, it is not emotionally abusive to end a relationship. This happens and should be honored, with as much grace as your ability to muster, even though it may feel as if it is devastating.

Healthy communication is the holy grail of successful relationships.

Abusive Relationship

You might be out there, loving, caring, and sharing yourself with other and find yourself the object of someone’s affection. Even the best of us aspire to put our best foot forward at the outset of a potential relationship, as also do those with less than your best interests in mind.

Before you know it, you could find yourself in an abusive relationship.

While all abusive relationships have certain commonalities, they vary wildly across the spectrum of abusive potentialities. Among them, there are 7 signs which might indicate that you are in an abusive relationship.

7 Signs You’re in an Abusive Relationship

Your partner

1. Does not trust you
2. Criticizes and puts you down
3. Asserts superiority over you
4. Puts down your opinions or accomplishments
5. Abuses you, then turns it around and blames you
6. Makes self-serving demands irrespective of your desires
7. Threatens you, your well-being, your reputation, or family

All this dysfunctional madness can leave you feeling like a victim of abuse, even if the abuse is not physical, the pain of being in an abusive relationship can be very real and just as painful, if not worse, because there is no physical manifestation of the abusive relationship.

You are never required to stay in an abusive relationship. No one has the right to abuse you. You should (and there are resources available to you of you need help getting out) remove yourself from the abusive environment as soon as possible.

This doesn’t mean the relationship is over, you and your partner (if he or she is willing) could seek counselling to see if the relationship is salvageable. If the abuse is likely to continue, it is not.

Someone is waiting to love you for who you are in true love, without subjecting yourself to further abuse.

What Can You Do If You’re in an Abusive Relationship?

The first rule is to remove yourself, get out, find a safe place where you can collect your thoughts. This is the only way to stop the abuse while you can take the time to figure things out.

If you feel like you’ve been victimized, after you’ve found a safe place to do the work, an important step might be to find a way to prevent yourself from being victimized.

How to Not Be a Victim of an Abusive Relationship?

You can prevent yourself from ever being in an abusive relationship by not participating in the abuse… at all.

You’re likely to feel like a victim in an abusive relationship if you assume the role of the victim, feeling as though you have a weakness which can be exploited which makes you feel bad, while your abuser assumes the role of “the bad guy.”

What if there was no good guy, no bad guy, just two people who disagree?

If you can realize your potential abuser is only expressing his- or her-self in such an abusive way because they are suffering inside from some pain or trauma from his or her past, then you can understand his or her outburst has nothing at all to do with you.

This is the most common underlying motivation for abusers who have no other way to release the pressure from deeply hidden pain or trauma suffered in their past except to strike out at someone else.

If you can wrap your heart around this concept, you can feel compassion for the one who is striking out at you, being careful not to feel pity for him or her, because that would assume that you are in some way better off than him or her.

The truth is, we’re all flawed and just doing the best we can to make it through this journey with the tools that we possess. Even though some of us have more tools than others, we are in no way any better off than anyone else.

None of us makes it through this life without struggle or gets out alive.

But that doesn’t mean you have to succumb to the whim of anyone else to abuse you.

What to Do

The next time someone tries to interrupt your life with abusive behavior, understand it has nothing to do with you, bless them, and walk away.

If someone does or says something disrespectful to you, acknowledge their right to feel or say anything they want. For, after all, they are only asserting his or her own perspective, and you honor their right to do so. You have no need or requirement to defend yourself, or respond, except to acknowledge their right to their own opinion.

You may do so by saying, “You’re absolutely right,” (which disarms their assault) and compassionately walk away, because if history teaches us anything, it is that arguing with someone, or even engaging in a debate, has little of no positive result, and only makes things worse.

You cannot reason with someone who is unreasonable.

It’s up to you to establish your own sacred space and to protect it.

Toxic Relationship Much?

Unless you’re called to live the single life (as some people are), you are genetically designed and physically manifested as an individual who thrives as one-half of a romantic coupling with another. The benefits of this coupling are enhanced by joining together in the sacred bond of marriage.

Notably, there is a huge difference between the benefits of taking wedding vows for a good marriage between two people and the tragic toxicity of trying to manage a bad marriage.

In the best relationships, marriage is good medicine. There are at least 12 health benefits you can enjoy from being in a healthy love relationship with your spouse. It doesn’t have to be perfect by any means, just moderately meaningful, manageable, and positive for the most part.

On the other hand, even though you may enter a relationship with the best intentions, and pledged to be bonded for life, marriage can be very toxic, and thank God, if it is abusive or unmanageable, there is a way out.

If you’re in a toxic or abusive relationship this is a call to arms. You should look for insights within yourself, seek refuge, get out and be safe. No marriage or commitment to a relationship requires your being abused, ever. It only signifies your need to leave, learn, and move on.

For those of you who predisposed to looking for red flags in relationships, some early warning signs of relationships which could potentially go sideways on you might include keeping secrets or withholding (which is tantamount to lying).

Being dishonest, deceptive, sneaking around, and hiding things are signs of something deeper and darker which will show its hidden identity one day.

As you enter into a relationship, if you’re witnessing assertions of “this is yours” and “this is mine” attitude about a variety of things, be aware that this kind of division is counter-intuitive for genuine coupling where the focus should be on the “sharing” of most things.

While the yours-and-mine attitude is generally accepted as a healthy perspective, often supported by relationship professionals and the legal community, it fosters separateness and can be extremely problematic when fighting over what rightly belongs to whom in the process of dissolution which can be extremely traumatic and expensive.

If your mate is likely to spend time pointing out all your faults (or often accusing you of possessing his or her faults) it is highly unlikely that you will ever be good enough for this person, expect it only to get worse.

Conflict in a good relationship leads to resolution, while conflict in an unhealthy relationship demands compliance or sacrifice and often leads to chaos and abuse.

A mate who is unsupportive and selfish will not put forth the effort to put the work into making the relationship better, unless he or she is able to manipulate a relationship therapist or coach to support his or her agendas, as a method to manipulate and mold you for his or her benefit.

If you’re not the most important person in your partner’s life, his or her priorities are not in alignment with the goals of a healthy and happy relationship between two people. This is not to say that your partner should have a healthy independence and positive friends and social connections, only that you should be the most highly regarded person in their circle of influence.

A toxic partner will emphasize your missteps and hold grudges against you ad infinitum when forgiveness and creating a new normal is the order of the day in dealing with relationship shortfalls, loving through our imperfections, leading to a better healing day, moving positively into the future together.

Marriage is a celebration of the life of two people. It is a joining of two people co-creating a positive future together and upholds the sacred potential which surpasses the potential of either party without the other.

Toxic or abusive relationships indicate your need to look within to find why you might have attracted this life circumstance. Please look inside and find what lurks in the dark recesses of your soul because if you don’t, your next relationship will present you with the same problematic circumstances.

Only you have the power to stop this negative relationship cycle by doing the deep inner work and embracing all the love which resides inside of you. Only then, will you be able to move on in unconditional love, which is desperately waiting for you,