Physical abuse can be recognized easily, but emotional abuse is hard to figure out. It remains undetected by family, friends, colleagues, and even by yourself. Living with a partner who emotionally abuses you can affect your mental and physical well-being. You may not know what you are going through if you don’t identify the difference between emotional abuse and caring behavior.
What is emotional abuse?
Emotional abuse is a behavior shown to the victim that includes insulting, criticizing, gaslighting, shaming, ignoring, swearing, name-calling, lying, belittling and more. The effect of this type of behavior can be traumatic for the victim. Some victims suffer from depression, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Here are the signs that may help you know if you are in an abusive relationship:
1. Overprotective and Overpossessive
It may feel good about how your partner is protective of you, but such a relationship can soon become toxic and exhausting. An abusive partner who is overprotective and overpossessive gets paranoid when you don’t answer their calls or texts and will always ask you about your whereabouts.
2. Withdraw of Affection
If your partner gets aggressive or angry when you don’t listen to them, then it is not loving or caring, it is emotional abuse. Such a partner withdraws his affection for you when you lack submission to their thoughts, ideas, or anything they want.
3. The Blame Game
The blame game is common in the office environment, but it should not be present in an intimate relationship. If your partner never admits when he is wrong and shifts all the blame toward you for all the issues in life, then it’s time to leave that person.
4. Always Criticizing and Judging You
If your partner always puts you down in front of people and when alone with you, then he is emotionally abusing you. If you try to tell him that you are hurt by his words, he will say you’re “too sensitive”. An abusive partner will always judge your opinions and tell you that you are wrong for every decision you make, then understand you are being abused.
5. He Threatens You
Threatening is a form of gaining control over another person when there is a possible break up. If your partner threatens you of infidelity or suicide, then you must know it is not ok. He is not only emotionally abusing you but also gaining control over your weaknesses.
How to deal with emotional abuse?
Leaving an abusive relationship is the best decision for the sake of your mental health. Identify the signs as soon as possible. Your abuser won’t change, so it is better to prioritize your health and safety and move to a safe place.
You can get help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Remember, the abuse was not your fault. Nobody should be abused. To heal your inner self and start an abuse-free life, join workshops hosted by organizations that support domestic abuse victims.
Engage yourself with activities like painting, cooking, trekking, walking, etc. Get professional help if you are suffering from depression or anxiety.
As a non-profit organization to support domestic abuse victims, Women Rising Above Abuse believes that you are strong to leave an emotionally abusive relationship. And you can do so with our support, love from your family, and inspiration from women like you. You are not alone. If you need help, call National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or join our workshop to heal and grow.