Being emotionally abused is often another way a physical abuser can subject you to abuse. But this is not always the case. Physical and emotional abuse do not always go hand-in-hand. There are situations emotional abuse can exist without the physical aspect. Remember, any type of abuse is never the fault of the person on the receiving end. And there are different types of emotional abusers.
Different Types of Emotional Abusers
Emotional abuse can cause short and long-term psychological effects. Different people throughout your life may subject you to emotional abuse of some sort. These may include:
- romantic partners.
Facing Workplace Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse in the workplace can be difficult to detect. But it does happen. It can occur in the form of shaming or making you feel guilty, and can also take the form of deceit and intimidation. A manager or co-worker ignoring or building you up for a fall are other forms of workplace emotional abuse.
Being emotionally abused at work can lead to absenteeism and poor productivity which can make you even more of a target. It can affect your self-confidence, self-worth and self-esteem.
Emotional Abuse by Parents
Emotional abuse by parents or a family friend as a child can leave long-lasting scars as you grow into adulthood. Emotional abuse towards children includes:
- Comparing them to others in a negative way.
- Yelling, screaming, making threats and bullying.
- Withholding affection or giving them the silent treatment.
- Name calling.
- Humiliating, shaming or belittling them.
- Constantly telling a child they were a mistake or they are always bad.
Emotional Abuse in Relationships
Emotional abuse in relationships and marriages may not start in the beginning. But if it does start being part of a relationship, it can escalate to being physical in an unhealthy relationship.
Continual emotional abuse can wear you down. It can make you feel degraded, worthless and ugly. Emotional abuse can steal your self-confidence and sense of self-worth. Know you deserve better no matter what your abuser says.
Recognise the Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse
It can be easy to miss the warning signs of emotional abuse when you are the regular target. The abuser’s purpose is to isolate and control you through fear. So they will persist in their actions and words to achieve their goal.
Your abuser can be anyone in your life. But it does not matter who it is, their behaviour is not your fault. Here are some examples to help you recognise the behaviour.
Undermining Your Self-Esteem
Someone who constantly criticises, humiliates and negates who you are in an unrelenting manner is undermining your self-esteem. For example they:
- Patronise you. They say things like “Relax, you never get it right” to patronise you.
- Assassinate your character. You are always late, always wrong, always in a bad mood, etc. They rarely have a nice word to say to describe you.
- Call you names. They call you dumb, stupid, a loser and other names to humiliate you.
- Dismiss what is important to you. When you tell them about something important to you, they dismiss it as being pointless or nothing. Or they can roll their eyes, sigh, smirk or ignore you to convey the same message.
- Make jokes at your expense. Jokes that are at your expense, whether they have some truth or are completely false are another way to negate or humiliate you.
- Insult how you look. Saying things like “You look fat in that outfit” or “Your hair is a mess” as you are about to go out is unnecessary criticism.
- Embarrass you in public. They pick a fight with you in public, make fun of your faults or discuss your secrets in front of others to embarrass you.
- Belittle your hobbies. Belittling your hobbies such as telling you what you love is childish or worthless is another way to criticise what you love to do.
Shaming and Controlling You
Someone who tries to control you by making you feel ashamed of your inadequacies is emotionally abusing you. For example:
- Threatening you. They can threaten you with “I will leave you if you do that again” or say, “I’ll take the kids if you leave me”.
- Making decisions without consulting you. An abuser may cancel an appointment or close your joint bank account without consulting you.
- Monitoring your movements 24/7. They will ring or text you incessantly when out. And they expect you to answer instantly. They may also turn up unexpectantly to check you are where you say you are.
- Giving direct orders. Your abuser can expect you to obey direct orders such as “Clean the house or get dinner now” regardless of your own plans.
- Spying on you online. A person may spy on you online by checking your texts, phone calls, emails and internet history. They can also demand you hand over all your passwords to give them full access.
- Taking financial control. They may put bank accounts only in their name so you have to ask for money. Then they may make you account for every cent you spend.
- Behaving unpredictably. All of a sudden they explode into a fit of rage then apologise and tell you how much they love you. This will have you walking on eggshells never knowing how they will react.
- Telling you what to do. They tell you who you can see, where you can go, what you can eat and wear.
Make You Responsible For Their Insecurities
Your abuser may make you responsible for their insecurities using denial or blaming or accusing you of things you are not doing. For example:
- Make you feel guilty. Someone can make you feel guilty by saying “after all I’ve done for you, you owe me” to get what they want.
- Display jealousy. They accuse you of cheating on them or flirting with someone when you are out even though you are not.
- Accuse you of being abusive. Accusing you of being the one with anger problems and trying to control them is another tactic an emotional abuser uses.
- Saying it is all your fault. They turn the tables on you saying it is all your fault. What you say and do makes them behave the way they do.
- Denying the truth. An emotional abuser can deny that they said or agreed to something which will drive you crazy. It can make you question your own sanity.
- Blaming you for everything. Everything that goes wrong in their life is because you interfered, wasn’t supportive enough or you did nothing to help or prevent it.
Your Abuser’s Needs Are More Important
Many emotional abusers believe their emotional needs are more important that yours. They will do anything to isolate you from your support system so you have to depend on them. For example:
- Shut out your family. They will tell your family you do not want to communicate or see them. Or they make excuses for why you cannot go to family gatherings.
- Say that you are too needy. When you reach out for support or feel down, they will say you are too needy. Or tell you that your problems are only minor.
- Demand you show them respect. While they show you no respect, they expect you to accommodate their every whim. And if you somehow you disrespect them, they will punish you in some way.
- Refuse to communicate. They can refuse to communicate by ignoring phone calls, texts and talking to you in person.
- How you feel is wrong. No matter how you feel, you are wrong or they tell you how you should feel.
- Stop you from going out. They come up with a reason or ask you not to go out.
- Try to turn others against you. By telling others that you are unstable, angry all the time or depressed when it is untrue, is attempting to turn people against you.
- Display indifference. They do not offer support when they see you crying, you have a physical injury or someone hurts you.
Are You in a Co-Dependent Relationship?
When everything in your life becomes a reaction to your emotional abuser’s behaviour, you may be in a co-dependent relationship. Remember, they need you just as much as you need them to make them feel good about themselves. You may have been involved with your abuser for so long that you do not realise your life can be better. This is a vicious cycle you need to escape.
You may be in a co-dependent relationship when you:
- Believe you deserve the way your abuser treats you.
- Feel guilty and stay because your abuser makes you feel guilty when they tell you they cannot live without you.
- Allow your abuser to isolate you from friends and family.
- Always seek your abuser’s opinion and approval.
- Make sacrifices to please someone else but they never do this for you in return.
- Feel terrified of being alone so put up with your abuser’s behaviour.
- Keep the peace by always agreeing and doing what they want.
- Look at yourself using your abuser’s values instead of your own.
- Take the blame for something your abuser did because they make you feel responsible.
- Put your needs second to please them.
- Make excuses for an abuser when others question their behaviour.
- Actually feel guilty for standing up for yourself so you stop.
- Believe you are so worthless that no one else would want to spend time with you.
What You Can Do
Are you being emotionally abused? Know you do not have to put up with this or live this way. Where you are at risk of physical violence, call emergency services on 000. Otherwise seek help to disengage from the abuser. And if you are living with your abuser, move out. Yes, it is easier said than done. But if you want to escape the abuse there is little choice. Your abuser is unlikely to change no matter how much you want that as an outcome. If you have no place to go, there are resources that can help.
We Are Here to Help
Dealing with emotional abuse is really difficult to escape. It can cause mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, a lack of self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. While you may know emotional abuse is never your fault, it can be hard to leave the situation. And you may feel alone as your abuser pushed friends and family out of your life. It can be tough to reach out to them for support. You may feel they will reject or blame you for the situation.
If you are struggling, consider reaching out to our professionals. When you are not coping, contact us to discover how we aim to help get your life back on track. But if you reach a crisis point, call us immediately. We are here to help support you through a crisis. We may be able to help you deal with things quickly.
We can work with you over the phone, via Skype or in our Spas. Book in today for my Emotional Empowerment Program. I have an introductory offer for just $79 so you may start taking back control of your life and escape your situation. We aim to help you cope with any mental health challenges. Our facilitators may be able to alleviate the effects of mental health issues so you look forward to a life filled with happiness and joy after escaping an emotional abuser.
Let me help alleviate the effects of mental health issues
My Emotional Empowerment program has helped many people like you for more than a decade. We may help you deal with the mental health challenges after living with abuse. My aim is to help you replace mental health symptoms with a new hope for the future. A future filled with happiness, peace and contentment in weeks not years. Listen to what Tony has to say about my program after only a few sessions.
Give the Brain Wellness Spa a try by booking a free 25-minute telehealth consultation. Or discover a seamless way to rejuvenate your emotional and mental health by becoming a member. It will give you access to more than 75 audio programs that can help your child and you to live inspired and improve mental wellbeing.