Emotionally Abusive Relationships
Emotional abuse scars the soul. It does not matter if the abuse is physical, sexual (the effect is more than physical – deeply psychological), psychological or verbal. Abuse is no light matter. We should avoid contact with abusive people and never get into a relationship with one.
We need to know the warning signs of an abuser
Many adults who come from a home with at least one narcissistic
parent have a distorted sense of self and have scars from abuse. They
carry these hurts into their adult lives and future relationships. These
people can be helped by developing a healthy sense of self. This has to
be nurtured, and taught. Simply teaching them is not enough; a healthy self-esteem needs to be nurtured.
However there is another group. One who do not want to be helped. This article is about recognising a partner in this group.
Abuse is Emotional and Physical
Emotional abuse always accompanies, and in most cases precedes, physical battering. Targeted, repeated emotional abuse can severely affect the victim’s sense of self and of reality. Here is a list of emotionally abusive behaviors abusers use against their partners and children:
- Abuser makes hostile jokes about the habits and faults of women
- Ignores the victim’s feelings
- Withholds approval as a form of punishment
- Yells at the victim
- Labels the victim with generally insulting terms: crazy, bitch, stupid
- Repeatedly delivers a series of insults specific to the victim and designed to inflict maximum psychological damage
- Repeatedly humiliates the victim in front of family members and others
- Isolates the victim socially, perhaps geographically as well (for example, by moving the family to a remote location)
- Blames the victim for all the abuser’s troubles and failures
- Threatens physical violence and retaliation against the victim, children or other family members
- Puts down the victim’s abilities as a mother, lover, worker, etc
- Demands all the victim’s attention and resents the children
- Tells the victim about his sexual affairs
- Constantly accuses her of having affairs, even when she does not have the desire or freedom to have affairs
- Gives the victim the “silent treatment”
- Threatens to abuse the children and/or get custody of them
- Tells the victim he must stay with her because she needs him and couldn’t make it without him
- Accuses the victim of being violent if she acts in any way to protect herself
- Questions her sense of reality
- Forces economic dependency: He prevents the victim from working – either by forbidding her to get a job or by making her life so chaotic that she gets fired – and/or he takes her money
- Puts down or denies the victim’s history, heritage, faith, values
- Hits the wall, not her, to display his power
- Breaks personal items that have sentimental value to her as a message that he can break her too
- Threatens, tortures or kills her/their pets
- Threatens suicide if the victim doesn’t stay with him or do what he wants
- Spends hours cleaning guns or knives in front of the victim
- Threatens to kill her or her children
- Destroys victim’s self esteem
Violence in the home is not something to be kept behind a closed
door, no matter how embarrassing it may feel. The intimacy of a
relationship is not to be confused with the partner’s abusive behavior.
The abuser’s main tool that makes it possible to continue the abuse
is silence. Remember, you are not alone. One woman in three and one man
in four is abused in some way during their life.
No matter how much an abusive partner professes “love,” it is not
possible to systematically abuse the person one truly loves. The abuser
is more than likely confusing feelings of lust and power with the word
If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you need to speak to someone you trust, family or friend, and start a plan to get yourself out of the situation. If it has gone so far that you have lost contact with those you used to confide in, resume at least one of those relationships. A strong relationship with someone outside the abusive relationship is imperative.
Do not try and deal with this on your own.
If that support is not possible, for a woman find a women’s refuge.
There you will be welcomed with understanding. There are safe places to
go for domestic violence help. Men’s refuges are scarce.
To help you to recognize an abusive character read in the abuser’s controlling mind.