It’s not easy to recognize emotional abusers. Often, abusers don’t shout or say hurtful things to you. Some emotional abusers can be so smooth-talking that you wouldn’t have an idea that you are being abused.
However, emotional abuse and manipulation are harmful to your mental health. The more you stay with emotional abusers, be it parents, partners, colleagues, bosses, it erodes your emotional wellbeing and mental health. You lose your confidence, love for life and you no longer have the fire burning inside you.
How can you recognize emotional abuse?
Your Partner controlling you
Controlling people can be so sweet and smooth sometimes you can’t recognize it. Check out what I wrote about signs that your partner is trying to control you to see that control can happen in the most subtle ways. An emotional abuser tries to control you so that you are wound around their little finger. They isolate you and leave you no choice but to depend on them and this way, they can get you to do whatever they want.
Using guilt to control
Emotional abusers make you feel guilty over the stuff you didn’t do. They play the victim and are hurt by every little action or exchange. This guilt then is used to make you feel such that you are hurting your relationship and you feel obligated to treat them well. as a result, you overcompensate and do more than you need to so the guilt can be waived.
Gaslighting to keep you off balance
Emotional abusers use gaslighting to keep you off balance. Gaslighting is whereby the tamper with your reality and perception such that you start doubting your sanity. To gaslight you, abusers will make statements such as you are overreacting, you are dramatic, no need to be so upset, it didn’t happen, to a point where you question your memory and your sanity. If someone is willing to tamper with your sanity and wants you to feel you don’t have control over yourself, they are definitely abusing you.
Making passive-aggressive remarks
They are mean or rude to you then imply that they are joking and accuse you of taking things too seriously. There is a healthy amount of teasing, and yet there is a kind of teasing that is hurtful. If your partner is constantly making mean and indirect remarks, this is not okay and is a sign of an abusive relationship.
They give you the silent treatment
The silent treatment is one of the most passive methods used by emotional abusers. They stay silent so that they can punish you. When you are a fully functional person, you need a conversation with your significant other and when they keep quiet, they are creating an uncomfortable environment for you. The silent treatment is highly abusive as it denies you the freedom of expression and the right to be heard.
Provoke you and accuse you of getting angry for no good reason
Emotional abusers provoke you then tell you that you have no reason to be angry. This kind of treatment leaves you feeling invalidated since you have been denied the right to express your emotions such as anger and disappointment.
Play the victim and punish you for hurting them
Emotional abusers play the victim in every situation and then punish you for hurting them. Instead of having a normal conversation, argument, or disagreement, they play the victim every time you bring up something that needs to be discussed. They then make you feel guilty for ‘hurting’ them and punish you for it through the various ways they choose to punish.
Put you down and make you feel inadequate `
Emotional abusers will make you feel unworthy and lead you to doubt your self-worth. They will show you that you are nothing without them, or you are not good enough so that you can constantly depend on them for validation and approval. Being constantly made to feel inadequate erodes your confidence, esteem, and self-worth turning you into a needy person that is a shadow of your former happy self.
Signs to look out for
- Your words are used against you
- They make a remark then claim they didn’t you are imagining it or you got it wrong
- You are made to feel guilty about things you shouldn’t be guilty of
- You are unhappy but have been made to feel if you leave the relationship it is your loss
- This person makes you question your sanity mostly through gaslighting
- You cannot seem to meet the expectations of your partner
- You are constantly walking on eggshells
- Silent treatments are used as a way to punish you
- They are trying to isolate you from your loved ones
- Humiliate you in public
- You’re told you are ugly or unattractive
- You are told nobody will ever love you
- You are made to feel guilty for someone else’s anger
- Emotional abusers use guilt, charm, hope, love, obligation, fear, confusion to get what they want
- They provoke you and pretend not to know why you are upset. They lack empathy and are not remorseful for their behavior
If you have witnessed some of these behaviors in your relationship, you have experienced emotional abuse and this is not normal in a healthy relationship.