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Warning signs of emotional abuse
When we think about domestic abuse, most often the image that comes to mind is one of a battered woman, a bruised face, a cut lip, broken bones and blood. And while this image is a true one it often overshadows its partner in crime…emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse is all about control and power, and an abusive personality will often use fear, rejection, money and many other tactics to gain the upper-hand in the relationship all without lifting a violent hand.
Being a psychological attack the pain and scars of emotional abuse are hidden on the inside, eroding away a person’s self-esteem and emotional security on every level, making it that much easier to hide from others, which only isolates and feeds the problem.
Knowing the signs of emotional abuse
Controlling all the money in a relationship, deciding on how its spent, withholding money, taking your money and even preventing you from working so you don’t earn your own money are all signs of control and one of the signs of emotional abuse.
At first it may seem like a relief not to have to worry about paying the bills, but everything you need will have to come from your partner making you dependent on him (or her) , and limiting your financial ability to leave anytime.
Withholding affection, lack of appreciation, holding back approvals, ignoring conversations and even rejecting your very presence, are all ways that an emotional abuser may punish you if you ever displease them.
Attacking your self-esteem they prey on your love for them, your need and want to make them happy, they use to manipulate you into the behaviour that they want, only giving any love and affection when you have pleased them in the way that they want.
Verbal abuse can at times be hard to discern, as it’s not always done with mean swear words, it can often be done under the guise of loving advice, all meant to undermine and damage your self-esteem, all the while proclaiming to only want to help. Of course there are many forms verbal abuse can take. Criticising, name calling, shouting swearing general put downs in private and public are all forms of verbal abuse and within an intimate relationship clear signs of emotional abuse.
Attacking your sense of worth on all levels, verbal abuse will erode away your levels of resistance, in the end becoming your own worst critic, as you may start to believe you deserve everything they say.
Threatening to leave, report to the authorities, call your parents, violence, and reveal your secrets and many more threats like it are all said with the intent to control you through fear of emotional, social or physical reprisal.
All threats of violence should be taken seriously as emotional abuse is often the first step to a physically abusive relationship.
Stopping or limiting how much contact you have with family and friends, controlling when and how you go out, may even try to move you to a new place away from any support network you may have, undermining any friends and family that you do have, twisting things they say or do to make them look untrustworthy or even enemies to you and your love.
Again this is clear controlling behaviour, which will leave you totally dependent on your partner.
Without family and friends you will have more time to spend with each other, but you also lose the ability to seek advice from anyone but your partner, and with no one else to disagree with him (or her) their control and emotional abuse will escalate
Fear is a powerful motivator, and it can sneak into a relationship quietly and before you realise it has snuck into your everyday.
Fear of telling your partner about a new bill, trouble the kids are in, being scared to talk about the most basic needs of the household, always wanting everything to be perfect and worrying constantly that everything is the way they like it. Can make it a very tense environment to live in, smashing things, locking doors, punching walls and shouting can create an atmosphere of intense fear.
With this kind fear comes the need to appease, to avoid trouble at all costs, and to make what we fear happy, so as to avoid an outburst of anger or punishment. A Clear sign of being in an emotional abusive relationship
“It’s all your fault” minimising, denying and blaming. It’s rarely the emotional abusers fault, any action, anything that was said, the blame will always be with someone else and most of the time that someone else will be you.
By Playing down the abuse and making light of your concerns they have you second guessing your perceptions of events and even wondering if you indeed are the cause of the problem. This of course leaves them to carry on guilt-free.
After all it’s not their fault.
Many abusers at first show only their most charming side, being the perfect partner for your situation. But the more the relationship grows the more obvious their other side becomes.
And often this other side is only showed when you’re alone. Snide hurtful comments, controlling behaviour, threats and the many of the things listed above becoming your normal. But when in public, around your family and friends he reverts back to the perfect gentleman that everyone wants to know.
So charming is this public stranger that you may think that no one will ever believe you if were to speak out or try to leave, creating even more fear of being alone and losing what you do have as everyone will take his or her side.
Emotional abuse can leave many scars; it can create self-doubt, a loss of enthusiasm, fear, depression and can in some cases even lead to suicide.
It is easy to see when reading this information what emotional abuse is. Yet when it comes to identifying such behaviours in our partners (or family members) it’s not always so clear cut.
Yet if you are living (or in a relationship) with someone who displays more than 2 of the above signs then you may be living in an emotional abusive relationship.
© K.A.E Grove
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