Time and again we hear of reports and stories of emotional abuse in relationships. However, as much as these stories sound disgusting and scary it keeps happening in our societies.
Consequently, abusive relationships have led many victims into depression and even contemplate suicide, wanting to end it all. Emotional abuse in relationships can be violent or psychological or both. Both forms are dangerous to the victim’s health and well-being.
Psychological or emotional abuse is when a person (abuser) uses a pattern of behavior consistently to cause emotional trauma to another person (victim) with the aim of controlling and manipulating the person (victim).
Oftentimes many victims of psychological abuse do not recognize what is going on until the situation has gotten severe.
Many of the victims of emotional abuse might not realize they are a victim of abuse while others might be too scared to speak out or seek help. Let’s consider some signs and what to look out for to know if you are a victim of abuse.
Signs Of Emotional Abuse
1. Gaslighting: This is the use of false information to make victims doubt their judgment, sanity, perception, and even question their memory.
A common example is the denial of previous abusive incidents by the abuser making you think it never occurred or staging unreal events with the aim of confusing the victim.
2. Accusations of unfaithfulness by the abuser
3. Constant public humiliations
4. Prevention of interaction with friends and family members
5. Name-calling: constant use of abusive words that humiliate you and lower the self-esteem of the victim
6. Controlling what you wear: forcing you to dress in a manner that pleases the abuser.
7. Blaming their abusive behavior on your action.
8. Use of threats: threats to harm you or your loved ones.
9. “I love you, but…”: This is a subtle threat or conditional statement for the abuser to show the victims’ love. It is a subtle threat that slowly diminishes your self-esteem.
10. Financial control: Restricting your access to what is due to you. Abusers give access when you only do what they want.
11. Ignoring your needs or emotions as unimportant.
12. Abusers have threatened to carry out your death or their own if you leave them.
13. False apology: The abuser might get you a gift or give you nice compliments expecting it to make up for the abuse.
14. Unjust and uncontrolled jealousy by the abuser
15. Constant flirting with other people or cheating on you.
16. Abusers demand to know your movement at all times, never letting you have time to yourself.
17. Withdrawal of affection: they may refuse to fill your emotional needs, withhold sex, hugs, or even hold your hands.
18. Demand and control of digital gadgets like demanding your phone passwords, digital spying, and stalking you on social media.
Steps to Take to Get Back Your Life
1. Seek help immediately. Many authorities around the world have provided hotlines for victims of abuse, so you may need to check and contact your local authorities.
Furthermore, a safety plan can be developed for you by those professionals.
2. Remember the abuse is not your fault, so do not make excuses or try to reason with the abuser. If the abuser is ready to change then they can see a qualified counselor, but this is not your responsibility.
3. You have to remove yourself from the abusive situation or exit the abusive situation. Also, It may be necessary for you to cut ties with the abuser. Make it clear that you are no longer available for the relationship.
4. In a situation where physical contact with the abuser can’t be totally avoided you need to set personal boundaries.
You should try to limit exposure to the abuser as much as possible. In addition, avoid getting lured into an argument with the abuser.
5. Going on a trip or holiday to help you heal from the abuse. This gives you time to rediscover yourself and clear your mind of negative thoughts and fear.
Meanwhile, you should surround yourself with supportive friends and family members who are able to provide practical and emotional support.
6. Getting professional help can assist you in better understanding the situation and help build your self-esteem back. Likewise, talk to a teacher or guidance counselor, or a therapist whichever is applicable to you.
7. It may be necessary for some situations like marriage to seek legal assistance. Above all, getting a restraining order can also help you to limit contact with the abuser.
If you know someone who is a victim of abuse you may be able to help and provide assistance even if you are not a trained professional. Below we list some tips you can follow that are helpful.
Emotional Abuse—5 Ways You Can Help
1. Report to the appropriate authority immediately. The victim of abuse might be in serious danger and might not have access to facilities to reach out for help. As a result, some might be too scared to try to ask for help. This is important as you might just save a life.
2. Listen well and patiently. You want to reassure the victim that you believe their situation and you are ready to listen to their concerns and fear.
However, you do not want to push or rush the person into talking, rather you want to wait till the victim is comfortable talking.
3. Use encouraging words. You want to build her self-esteem back so finding the right words is vital.
Remind the victim of their good qualities and remind them they still have your respect regardless of the situation. Also, you might need to encourage her to get the necessary help.
4. Offer your support by action. It might be by assisting in chores or running errands for them. Providing a meal or material support when such have been deprived.
Besides, you can discuss their safety plan and assist in arranging a place to go in case of an emergency.
5. It is important that you do not tell the victim what to do. You may provide them with information and possible options, but try not to make decisions for them. Rather you build up their confidence to make their own decisions.