The small slights, put downs, and ‘jabs’ often don’t feel all that significant because they are often “peppered” with random acts of kindness, leaving the victim of abuse slightly dazed and confused.
So, it’s not all that uncommon for a person to ignore the infrequent rude remarks – in the beginning. An oversight about a negative or emotionally charged comment is very common especially in the beginning stages of abuse, which unfortunately gives the abuser more power, control and permission.
But over time, the infrequent abusive statements grow exponentially and ‘chips away’ at how a person thinks, values, and esteems themselves.
Numerous women who eventually get on the other side of abuse, often say when the relationship ends, they became a shell of the person they used to be. They thought they were more confident and sure of themselves, but as the abuse wears on, the strength of a large rock or boulder devolves into a pebble. Eventually, as the path narrows between an abuser’s acts of kindness and their emotional abuse, a victim wakes up and finds themselves knee deep in this toxic relationship and ask themselves, how did I end up here? And how did this happen? Abusers are crafty, manipulative, deceptive, and pathological in the way they abuse people. After all practice makes perfect.
The abuser will come up with whatever excuse they can to justify their abusive ways. But, honestly, an abusive does because they can. Ignore the excuses.
Are you a victim of emotional abuse? Not sure. Do any of these signs of emotional abuse resonate with you?
- They put you down – not just in private, but often in public. This is their attempt to shame you. Theirfeeling of low self-worth is projected on to you. They will also embarrass you in front of people – especially those whom you know.
- They yell, name call, blame, and shame.
- They use isolation (Stating “we” never spend time together. Saying things like “if you loved me, you would want to spend time with me’, intimidation, and controlling behaviors.
- They give you the silent treatment.
- They use the blame game for their abusive behaviors such as, ‘if you didn’t do _______then I wouldn’t say those things to you. ” clause.
- They threaten to harm you or your family.
- They try and make you feel bad or guilty when you don’t consent to sexual activity stating, if you really loved me, you would be having sex with me. Or “I will have to find it elsewhere.”
- Gaslighting– a form of psychological abuse where false information is presented to their victim to make them doubt their decisions, perceptions, and judgments in their attempt to make you seem “crazy.”
- They try to make it seem like you are always doing something wrong.
- If and when you do go out, they make multiple demands on you through numerous texts and phone calls.
- They threaten suicide when you attempt to break up with them – “I can’t live without you”, “I will kill myself if you break up with me.”
Learning to recognize the signs, getting support from family and friends and, if necessary working with a trained mental health professional will help put you on a healthy path – one that will allow you to extricate yourself from the abusive and toxic relationship. Ultimately in doing so, you will regain your confidence, self-esteem, and most importantly your freedom.
Kristin M. Davin, Psy.D.
Solution Focused Psychologist & Coach
Originally appeared on KristinDavin.com
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