Emotional abuse is “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”1
Psychological abuse and it can be just as devastating as physical abuse. Psychological abuse can affect your inner thoughts and feelings as well as exert control over your life. You may feel uncertain of the world around you and unsafe in your own home. Psychological abuse can destroy intimate relationships, friendships and even your own relationship with yourself.
Emotional and psychological abuse are hard to spot, especially when the victim thinks that what she/he is living is completely right. Also, the abuser will make her/him think she/he is completely right through manipulation. Abusers are are self-centered, impatient, unreasonable, insensitive, unforgiving, and they lack empathy and are often jealous and really suspicious. They have a dominant personality and they need to take control, to isolate you from your family or friends. They could also have wide mood swings: they could go from extremely happy to be completely angry and give you a ”silence treatment” or, when it’s pyshical abuse, they try to hurt you in different ways. ”The abuse could usually start as something innocuous, but grow as the abuser becomes more assured that you won’t leave the relationship. It may not begin until after an engagement, marriage or pregnancy. If you look back, you may recall tell-tale signs of control or jealousy. Eventually, you and the entire family will “walk on eggshells” and adapt so as not to upset the abuser.” (from psychologytoday.com)
Victimized people can develop emotional or psychological problems secondary to their abuse, including anxiety disorders and various forms of depression. If abuse has been very severe, the victim may be traumatized, and may develop a post-traumatic stress injury such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or acute stress disorder. If abuse has occurred from a very early age and has been substantial, a personality disorder may occur such as borderline, narcissistic or histrionic personality disorders. In some cases, they could develop a severe dissociative disorder such as dissociative identity disorder (commonly known as multiple personality disorder). There could also be sexual disorders, eating disorders or drugs addiction.
These could be the signs and the example of a possible emotional and psychological abuse:
- yelling or swearing;
- threats of violence, abbandonement and death;
- socially isolating an individual;
- insults, mocking;
- repeated manipulation, especially when the abuserstry to make the victims forget about what they did. They make the victims doubt of the perception of reality and also themselves (gaslighting)*;
- telling to an individual that she/he is a burden and she/he causes many unresolvable problems;
- making an individual fear that he/she won’t get the care that he/she needs;
- may switching topics, accuse you, or use offensive words to stop you.
*What is gaslighting?
Inspired by the 1940 and 1944 films “Gas Light,” where a husband systematically manipulates his wife in order to make her feel crazy. Gaslighting a systematic pattern of abuse by which the abuser manipulates factual information to give the victim the impression that they cannot trust their own senses.
The signs could be:
- You are constantly second-guessing yourself;
- You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” a dozen times a day;
- You often feel confused and even crazy at work;
- You’re always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend, boss;
- You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier;
- You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family;
- You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses;
- You wonder if you are a “good enough” girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.
Physical abuse in a relationship often starts gradually, such as with a push or a slap, and then becomes progressively worse over time.
Physical abuse can involve any of the following violent acts:
- scratching or biting;
- pushing or shoving;
- choking or strangling;
- throwing things;
- force feeding or denying you food;
- using weapons or objects that could hurt you;
- physically restraining you (such as pinning you against a wall, floor, bed, etc.);
- other acts that hurt or threaten you.
Escaping is not easy but acknowledging that is the first step to take. It could be painful and you won’t probably believe in yourself, you would think you’re being a bad ingrateful person but, trust me, you aren’t. Then, you need to reach out for help. Here there are some recommended sources for all the types of abuse:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
Help offered 24 hours a day and access to more than 170 languages through interpreter services
- The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
- The Family Violence Prevention Fund
- The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- https://www.childhelp.org/ (for child abuse Hotline: 800.4.A.CHILD (422.2253) )
- For other resources go https://www.rainn.org/national-resources-sexual-assault-survivors-and-their-loved-ones
Use a safe computer, the National Domestic Violence website warns users to use a safe computer not accessible to the abuser as computer usage can be monitored quite easily. Don’t wait until you don’t feel anything to leave. As dysfunctional as it was, you cared about him or her. Surround yourself with support, find a therapist who can assist you in rebuilding your self-esteem and your life.
I suggest you to watch these videos/ read these articles and share them if you want.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RqXZL93kyQ (10 red flags of abuse);
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As_8Bb0bVNY (10 gaslighting signs in abusive relationships);
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5AOp93S1F4 (10 types of emotional abuse);
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQVPmLKOzGI (gaslighting).