In as much as nobody deserves to be abused irrespective of their offence, the fact remains that a lot of people are forced to stay in abusive relationships. As earlier established in previous publications on the subject of Abuse and domestic violence, we understood that abuse could be obvious as in the case of physical and sexual abuse or in more subtle and less obvious forms as in the case of Verbal and emotional abuse. We also established the fact that it can happen in any form of relationship and it is not limited by age, race, gender, religious beliefs or sexual orientation; anybody can be an abuser or a victim.
Emotional abuse refers to any kind of abuse that directed towards your emotions; it could include verbal abuse, brainwashing, constant criticism, intimidation or manipulation of the victim’s emotions. The emotions of the victims could be affected by the abuser so much that they may no longer recognize what their own feelings are about the issues that the abuser is trying to control and as a result, the victim’s self-concept and independence are systematically taken away. Just as in every other form of abuse, the goal of the abuser is to gain and exercise some sort of power or control over his victim.
Emotional abuse amongst all other forms of abuse happens to be the most difficult to recognize because nobody can tell that you are being abused. It can be intentional or subconscious in nature. In most cases neither the abuser or the victim is aware about what is going on; but their knowledge of its happening has got nothing to do with the potency of its negative effects on the victim. Below are some pointers to determine whether or not you are in an abusive relationship; if you answer “yes” to any of these questions, chances are that you are in an abusive relationship or your partner is an abuser:
•Do they constantly make fun of you or put you down? (it could be in form of teasing or sarcasm)
•When you complain, do they say “it was a joke” or “you are too sensitive “?
•Do you feel the person treats you like a child?
•Do they regularly riddicle, dismiss or disregard your opinions, thoughts, suggestions and feelings?
•Do they constantly chastise or correct you?
•Do you feel like you must seek their permission or approval before doing something or making even small decisions?
•Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them?
•Do they make you feel they are always right (and you are wrong if you have a contrary view)?
•Do they remind you of your flaws and shortcomings?
•Do they belittle your accomplishments, aspirations, plans or even your personality?
•Do they accuse you of something they fabricated in their mind when you know it is not true?
•Do they become extremely sensitive when it comes to others making fun of them or making any kind of comment that seems to show lack of respect (even if they do the same thing to others)?
•Do they have trouble apologizing?
•Do they make excuses for their behavior or try to blame other people (even you) or circumstances for their actions?
•Do they play “the victim” to deflect blame unto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitude?
•Does it seem they don’t notice or care how you feel?
•Do they make subtle threats or negative remarks with the intent to persuade you to do something they think you won’t want to do?
•Do they share personal information about you with others?
•Do they try to use sex (either initiating it or refusing it) to manipulate or control you?
•Do they disengage or use neglect and abandonment to punish or frighten you?
•Do they repeatedly cross your boundaries? (eg. going through your personal stuff without proper permission, intruding in your other relationships or other aspects of your life, etc.)
•Do they prevent you from seeing or talking with certain people or visiting certain places?
•Are they jealous of your other relationships or are being overly possessive or accuse you of cheating?
•Do they threaten to do something to you or themselves just to keep you from leaving them?
•Do they constantly require you to prove your love and loyalty to them?
•Do they threaten to expose your secrets?
•Do they threat you as an extension of themselves rather than an independent individual?
•Do they constantly disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?
Nothing is more damaging to your confidence and self-esteem than being in an emotionally abusive relationship. Emotional abuse may not physical damage but it causes emotional scars because it cuts deep into the very core of your existence (your personality) which can create lifelong psychological scars, emotional pains or psychological disorders if it lingers for a long period of time.
If you think you are a victim of emotional abuse, try to get all the help you need even if it means putting an end to the relationship because nobody deserves to be abused.