Emotional abuse can be extremely elusive. You may not understand whether it is happening to you, and it may be a long time before you realise you are a victim. It simply means someone wants to have control over you. And is clearly against your wish. While physical abuse, involves physically hurting a person, emotional abuse hurts the person on an emotional level.
Research shows that emotional abuse can be more damaging than actual physical abuse. It may cause a person to lose his/her self-esteem and self-worth, preventing the person from growing, leading to shaping a person’s belief about himself or herself, hamper the usual healthy way of growing.
What is emotional abuse? Many unhealthy relationships involve emotional abuse. The aim of an emotional abuser is to deprive you remove your feelings of self-worth and independence. In such a relationship, the victim may feel that there is nothing s/he can do and without that person, they can’t survive. Emotional abuse will feel as harmful and damaging as physical abuse and might severely impact your psychological state. It’s normal for physical abusers to dish out emotional abuse as a way of maintaining power and control over you.
Types of emotional abuse
Emotional abuse may involve –
1. Verbal violence – yelling at you, insulting you or swearing at you.
2. Rejection – pretend to not notice your presence or ignoring your verbal communication.
3. Put-downs – calling you names or telling you that you’re stupid, publicly embarrassing you, blaming you for everything.
4. Causing concern – making sure you feel afraid, intimidated or vulnerable.
5. Isolation – limiting your freedom of movement, stopping you from contacting others (such as friends or family).
6. Financial dependence – dominating or withholding your cash, preventing you from spending, stealing from you.
7. Bullying – deliberately and repeatedly saying things or doing things that are hurtful to you.
The impact of emotional abuse:
Physical violence is commonly considered more serious than emotional abuse, however, this isn’t true. The pain of emotional abuse is real and lasts longer. It has a negative impact on your self-esteem and confidence and emotional abuse will leave you feeling depressed, anxious or in poor mental health.
In many cases the perpetrator of emotional abuse doesn’t understand that s/he is being abusive. In fact, they may feel insecure whether their partner loves them or not, thus, they feel they are compelled to accuse him or her of cheating, blame him or her for their unhappiness, or perpetually find mistakes, etc. The accusations, the blame, and the constant checking acts as emotional abuse for their partner.
The person might imagine that they know what’s best for the other person and hence, they may try to manage every move of their partner. They may criticise the partner so much that the partner would be afraid to do anything without their approval.
Some might verbally attack their partner when the partner tries to raise his/her voice because this indicates to the abuser that the partner is not under the abuser’s control. Some emotional abusers may criticise their partner’s way of dressing, talking, walking, interactions with others, and more, in order to gain and maintain control over the other person.
If you or a loved one is a victim of emotional abuse, it is important to recognise it and seek professional help from a therapist. If you are a mental health professional and want to build your skills so that you can help victims of emotional abuse, check out this integrated course in hypnosis, NLP and life coaching TODAY!