When you think of abusive behavior, the first thought that comes to mind is physical abuse. However, people can have a destructive effect on one another without causing a single bruise. Emotionally abusive behavior is a serious issue, and it can cause severe consequences to your psychological health.
The victims of emotionally destructive behavior are not always aware of the abuse. They sense that something bad is happening, but they are confused. This situation can go on for years… decades, even.
Keith Lust, continues; “The recovery is hard. The victim must face their trauma, make sense of it, and take steady steps toward rediscovering their self-confidence. Everything starts with recognition. You must recognize a problem, so you can solve it.”
Let’s go through the most common types of emotionally abusive behavior, so it will be easier for you to recognize it from now on.
1. “You’re All Mine and Mine Only”
This is a tricky one. The abuser will not isolate you from society with those very words. With their actions, however, they will make you believe that they are your sole support network. Step by step, they will isolate you from all your friends and family members. They will make you feel uncomfortable in their company.
When they disconnect you from your support system, you’ll be all alone and all vulnerable. This allows the abuser to undermine your self-confidence and shape your character in the way that suits them. If you have a thought to call one of your friends and invite them for a cup of tea, you’ll quickly dismiss it because you’ll think that a guest in the house would disturb your partner.
There are few things you can do if you notice this behavior:
- Do the very opposite of what they expect you to do. You have the right to have friends and maintain healthy relationships with family members.
- Ask what your closest friends think about your partner. If they say they noticed how you’re isolated because of him/her, then you should definitely consider their opinions. They may open your eyes.
Do you want to stay with this person? If your answer is yes, you’ll have to provoke some changes in this behavior. If there’s no hope, the best thing you could possibly do for yourself is to leave.
2. Subtle Insults
Sometimes people will insult you in the sneakiest ways.
- “That dress looks surprisingly good on you, considering your weight!”
- “Oh, you got a good grade? But Mary still did better than you.”
These insults could come from your partner, parents, friends… anyone. They are not serious when you don’t take them seriously. When they come from someone important in your life and they make you feel miserable, however, you’re a subject of emotionally abusive behavior.
It’s easy for you to start recognizing subtle, sneaky insults. They will be disguised with humor or even compliments, but they will still leave you swallowing your tears. It’s not that you can’t take a joke. It’s not you; it’s the “joke” itself.
What can you do about this?
- Try not to take it too seriously. Know your own worth! When you’re the subject of backhanded compliments, just dismiss them.
- You may throw the joke right back at them. Don’t do this for a long time, though. It’s not for the sake of revenge. Do it once. Maybe they will get it when they understand how much it can hurt.
- If they keep doing it, the only thing you can do is stop paying attention to their comments.
3. Leaving You with No Personal Space
So you meet someone new. They show up unannounced and you think that’s cute. The next day, however, you start getting calls on every single hour. Soon, this person is hijacking every single aspect of your life. When you want to go out with friends, they invite themselves to come with you. When you want to visit your parents, they push you to introduce them.
If you try to set boundaries, this person will be hurt. They will trap you by making you feel guilty. They may even suspect you’re cheating and they will accuse you of it.
If this is still a new thing, it’s best to put an end before you get co-dependent. If you see potential in this person and you want to give them a chance, talk about this issue and do not allow them to hijack your entire life.