Emotional abuse is a tool to control another person through emotions using criticism, embarrassment, shame, blame, or any other manipulative behaviour. A relationship is emotionally abusive when there is a consistent pattern of abusive words and bullying behaviour that affects a person’s dignity and undermine their sanity.
Mental or emotional abuse is most common in dating and married relationships but can occur in any relationship including within friendships, family members, and co-workers.
Emotional abuse is one of the most difficult forms of abuse to recognize. It can be subtle and insidious or obvious and manipulative. Either way, it eats away at the victim’s self-worth and they begin to doubt their own discernment and reality.
The undeniable goal of emotional abuse is to control the victim by discrediting, isolating, and silencing.
In the end, the victim feels trapped. They are often too wounded to endure the relationship any longer, but also too afraid to leave. So the vicious cycle just repeats itself until something drastic is done.
Emotional abuse is often subtle. As a result, it can be very hard to detect. If you are having trouble discerning whether or not your relationship is abusive, stop and think about how the interactions with your partner, friend, or family member make you feel.
Do not fall into the trap of telling yourself “it’s not that bad” and minimizing their behaviour. Remember: Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.
If you continuously feel wounded, frustrated, confused, misunderstood, depressed, anxious, or worthless any time you interact with a certain person, chances are high that the relationship is emotionally abusive.
Emotionally abusive people have unrealistic expectations.
- They make unreasonable demands of you
- They expect you to put everything aside and meet their needs
- They demand that you spend all of your time together
- They are dissatisfied no matter how hard you try or how much you give
- They Criticize you for not completing tasks according to their standards
- They expecting you to share their opinions, you are not allowed to have a different opinion
- They demand that you name exact dates and times when discussing things that upset you and when you cannot do this, they dismiss the event as if it never happened
Emotionally abusive people invalidate you.
- They undermine, dismiss, or distorting your understanding of your reality
- They refuse to accept your feelings by trying to define how you should feel
- They demand that you to explain how you feel over and over
- They Accuse you of being “too sensitive,” “too emotional,” or “crazy”
- They refusing to acknowledge or accept your opinions or ideas as valid
- They ignore your requests, wants, and needs and labels them as ridiculous or unmerited
- They are clear that your understanding is wrong or that you cannot be trusted by saying things like “you’re blowing this out of proportion” or “you exaggerate”
- They Accuse you of being selfish, needy, or materialistic if you express your wants or needs, they expect that you should not have any wants or needs
Emotionally abusive people create chaos.
- They start arguments for the sake of arguing
- They Make confusing and contradictory statements this is “crazy-making” at its best
- They Have drastic mood changes and sudden emotional outbursts
- They criticize your clothes, your hair, your work, and more
- Their behaviour is so erratic and unpredictable that you feel like you are “walking on eggshells”
Emotionally abusive people use emotional blackmail.
- They manipulate and control you by making you feel guilty
- The humiliate you in public and in private
- They using your fears, values, compassion, to control you or the situation
- They exaggerate your flaws and pointing them out in order to deflect attention to themselves or to avoid taking responsibility for their poor choices or mistakes
- They deny that an event took place or they lie about it
- They punishing you by withholding affection or by giving you the cold sholdre and refuse to speak to you
Emotionally abusive people act superior and entitled.
- They treat you like you are inferior
- They accuse you for their mistakes and shortcomings
- They doubt everything you say and try to prove you wrong
- They make jokes at your expense
- They tell you that your opinions, ideas, values, and thoughts are stupid, illogical, or “do not make sense”
- They talk down to you and are condescending
- They use sarcasm when interacting with you
- The acting like they are always right, know what is best, and are smarter
Emotionally abusive people attempt to isolate and control you.
- They control who you see and spend time with including friends and family
- They check up on you digitally including text messages, social media, and email
- They accuse you of cheating and are jealous of any outside relationships
- They take and hide your car keys
- They demand to know where you are at all times and will even use GPS to track your every move
- They treat you like a possession or property
- They criticize and make fun of your friends, family, and co-workers
- They use jealous behaviour and envy as a sign of “love” and to keep you from being with others
- They coerce you into spending all of your time together
- They take controll of your finaces
Emotional abuse can take a number of different forms, like:
- Accusations of cheating or other signs of jealousy and possessiveness
- Constant checking or other attempts to control the other person’s behaviour
- Constantly arguing or opposing
- Isolating the individual from their family and friends
- Name-calling and verbal abuse
- Refusing to participate in the relationship
- Shaming or blaming
- Silent treatment
- Trivializing the other person’s concerns
- Withholding affection and attention
These abuse tactics are never obvious when the relationship starts. These relationships start far better than any other relationship and appear normal and loving. But as the relationship progresses the control and manipulation starts so slowly that you may not notice them at first. Do not be deceived when it is too good to be true it is always a red flag.