Emotional abuse is a way to control another person by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, or otherwise manipulate another person. In general, a relationship is emotionally abusive when there is a sign or consistent pattern of abusive words and bullying behaviors that wear down a person’s self-esteem and undermine their mental health. The signs are always there but the abused person will not admit or report due to being frighten and too scared of the abuser.
The abuser could be your spouse or other romantic partner. What’s more, mental or emotional abuse, while most common in dating and married relationships, can occur in any relationship including among friends, family members, and co-workers. Psychological abuse involves a person’s attempts to frighten, control, or isolate you. It’s in the abuser’s words and actions, as well as their persistence in these behaviors.
No matter who it is, you don’t deserve it and it’s not your fault. Here are the signs and how you can recognize the abuser.
1. Signs of humiliation, negating, criticizing
These tactics are meant to undermine your self-esteem. The abuse is harsh and unrelenting in matters big and small. They are very vocal about the matters and the sign is very obvious enough to know it is toxic.
Here are some examples that you might know:
- Name-calling. Calling you “stupid,” “a loser,” or words too awful.
- Derogatory “pet names.” “My little knuckle dragger” or “My chubby pumpkin” aren’t terms of endearment.
- Character assassination. This usually involves the word “always.” You’re always late, wrong, screwing up, disagreeable, and so on. Basically, they say you’re not a good person.
- Yelling. Yelling or screaming or swearing are meant to intimidate and make you feel small and inconsequential.
- Patronizing. “Aw, sweetie, I know you try, but this is just beyond your understanding.”
- Public embarrassment. They pick fights, expose your secrets, or make fun of your shortcomings in public.
2. Signs of control and shame
These signs usually happen in relationships by trying to make you feel ashamed of your inadequacies is just another path to power. It also happen among friends and family.
Tools of the shame and control game include:
- Threats. Telling you they’ll take the kids and disappear, or saying “There’s no telling what I might do.”
- Monitoring your whereabouts. They want to know where you are all the time and insist that you respond to calls or texts immediately.
- Digital spying. They might check your internet history, emails, texts, call log and even demand your passwords.
- Unilateral decision-making. They might close a joint bank account, cancel your doctor’s appointment, or speak with your boss without asking.
- Financial control. They might keep bank accounts in their name only and make you ask for money. You might be expected to account for every penny you spend.
- Lecturing. Belaboring your errors with long monologues makes it clear they think you’re beneath them.
3. Signs of accusing, blaming, and denial
This type of behavior comes from an abuser’s insecurities. They want to create a hierarchy in which they’re at the top and you’re at the bottom.
Here are some examples:
- Jealousy. They accuse you of flirting or cheating on them.
- Turning the tables. They say you cause their rage and control issues by being such a pain.
- Denying something you know is true. An abuser will deny that an argument or even an agreement took place. This is called gaslighting. It’s meant to make you question your own memory and sanity.
- Using guilt. They might say something like, “You owe me this. Look at all I’ve done for you,” in an attempt to get their way.
- Goading then blaming. Abusers know just how to upset you. But once the trouble starts, it’s your fault for creating it.
- Denying their abuse. When you complain about their attacks, abusers will deny it, seemingly bewildered at the very thought of it.
4. Signs of emotional neglect and isolation
The common signs of abusers will shown are that they tend to place their own emotional needs ahead of yours. Many abusers will try to come between you and people who are supportive of you to make you more dependent on them.
The signs include:
- Demanding respect. No perceived slight will go unpunished, and you’re expected to defer to them. But it’s a one-way street.
- Shutting down communication. They’ll ignore your attempts at conversation in person, by text, or by phone.
- Dehumanizing you. They’ll look away when you’re talking or stare at something else when they speak to you.
- Keeping you from socializing. Whenever you have plans to go out, they come up with a distraction or beg you not to go.
- Trying to come between you and your family. They’ll tell family members that you don’t want to see them or make excuses why you can’t attend family functions.
- Withholding affection. They won’t touch you, not even to hold your hand or pat you on the shoulder. They may refuse sexual relations to punish you or to get you to do something.
Click here to see some weird facts about animals that we have collected so far.