"Emotional abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse. The only difference between the two is with physical abuse you are wearing it on the outside for the world to see and the other is felt deep inside. Others cannot see the bruises on your heart" ~ Larry James
Sometimes you hear people say that it's not abuse if it's not physical. If they don't put their hands on you then you have nothing to complain about. They are dead wrong. Verbal and emotional abuse causes deep pain and even deeper scars. Constant criticism and condescension exhausts you and wears you down. It makes you think that you are crazy and irrational. Emotional abuse is manipulation of situations to give another person control. It can be as simple as a disapproving look or deep sigh that tells you that they don't like what you did. Or it can get so severe that you are isolated from family and friends.
Emotional abuse is any kind of psychological abuse that traumatizes a person’s mind or their state of being, forcing them to feel weak, traumatized and helpless.
The ultimate goal of the abuser is to do whatever they possibly can to make you doubt your own thoughts and feelings. They keep you guessing as to what will upset them and bring on a verbal attack. You go through life walking on eggshells trying not to say anything to upset them. There is a constant feeling of anxiety in the pit of your stomach anytime you are with them.
There will always be a double standard in your relationship. They expect to go wherever they want and do whatever they feel like doing without questions from you. However, you must inform them of where you are at all times. If you take longer running errands than expected you get a barrage of accusatory questions. If you get off work later than scheduled you might get the silent treatment when you get home or maybe even accusations that you're being unfaithful.
Emotional abusers have major trust and control issues. They feel that they are entitled to privacy but you are not. They feel that their way is the best way....the only way. And if they don't get their way then they will pout or sulk or throw a fit. They are great manipulators of the truth. They like to tell half truths or twist your words around to mean something that you didn't really say.
You may feel like you're going crazy because one minute the abuser is sweet and caring and then boom a switch is flipped and they become mean and nasty. They start spewing hateful remarks and when you speak up they blame you for their behavior. Emotional abusers never take responsibility for any of their actions. Everything is always someone else's fault.
So maybe you're wondering if the issue you are experiencing in your own relationship would qualify as "emotional abuse". Here are 5 signs that you might be in an emotionally abusive relationship:
1. You walk on eggshells to avoid upsetting your partner.
2. Your feelings and opinions are rarely validated.
3. Your partner is mistrustful of you for no reason.
4. You feel like you are unable to discuss problems in the relationship.
5. You feel "stuck" or confused most of the time.
If you feel like any of these signs fit your relationship then I encourage you to visit Leslie Vernick's website and complete the questionnaire.
Don't suffer in silence and think that you have to continue living the same old way. It doesn't matter if your spouse is a preacher, lawyer, police officer, the mayor or a well loved school teacher you don't have to just submit to your emotional abuser in order to be a good spouse. Reach out to someone today and speak out against what you've experienced. You may be nervous and ashamed that you've allowed it to continue for so long. Don't be. You might be surprised at just who has walked the same road as you.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.