Emotional abuse is subjecting a person to psychological trauma through psychological means. Often the victim doesn’t even realize he/she is being emotionally abused. The people involved in these are really good at understanding the other person’s psychology thus attacking the weak points.
Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse does not leave behind scars or other physical evident. But the effects can be so devastating and can leave lifelong psychological and emotional damage on the victims.
It has always been a challenge in identifying victims of emotional abuse because the definition of emotion/psychological abuse is unclear. The victim quite often doesn’t see the mistreatment as abusive due to a lack of awareness. In some cases, neither the abuser nor the victim is fully aware they are in an abusive relationship.
Very often, emotional abuse creeps in the victim’s life slowly and gradually and eats away their self-worth. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms in the early stage to prevent further damage to the person’s life.
There are are at least 15 types of emotional abuse, centered around the same theme, denying dignity and worth to the person being abused. It is really the old concept from our childhood, if I want to see myself as more than, I have to see you as less than.
Take a look at some of these triggers and know when you are actually being abuse psychologically and emotionally.
- Abusive Expectations – Makes impossible demands, requires constant attention, and constantly criticizes.
- Aggressing – Name-calling, accusing, blames, threatens, or gives orders, and often disguised as a judgmental “I know best” or “helping” attitude.
- Constant Chaos – Deliberately starts arguments with you or others. May treat you well in front of others, but changes when you’re alone.
- Rejecting – Refusing to acknowledge a person’s value, worth, or presence. Communicating that he or she is useless or inferior or devaluing his or her thoughts and feelings.
- Denying – Denies personal needs (especially when need is greatest) with the intent of causing hurt or as punishment. Uses silent treatment as punishment. Denies certain events that happened or things that were said. Denies your perceptions, memory, and sanity by disallowing any viewpoints other than their own which causes self-doubt, confusion, and loss of self-esteem.
- Degrading – Any behavior that diminishes the identity, worth, or dignity of the person such as name-calling, mocking, teasing, insulting, ridiculing,
- Emotional Blackmail – Uses guilt, compassion, or fear to get what he or she wants.
- Terrorizing – Inducing intense fear or terror in a person, by threats or coercion.
- Invalidation – Attempts to distort your perception of the world by refusing to acknowledge your personal reality. Says that your emotions and perceptions are not real and should not be trusted.
- Isolating – Reducing or restricting freedom and normal contact with others.
- Corrupting – Convincing a person to accept and engage in illegal activities.
- Exploiting – Using a person for advantage or profit.
- Minimizing – A less extreme form of denial that trivializes something you’ve expressed as unimportant or inconsequential.
- Unpredictable Responses – Gets angry and upset in a situation that would normally not warrant a response. You walk around on eggshells to avoid any unnecessary drama over innocent comments you make. Drastic mood swings and outbursts.
- Gaslighting -A form of psychological abuse involving the manipulation of situations or events that cause a person to be confused or to doubt his perceptions and memories. Gaslighting causes victims to constantly second-guess themselves and wonder if they’re losing their minds.
As you can see, the abuser/bully needs to control the victim’s thinking, behavior, and self-image. He has no power over her without her submission or fear. Abusers are typically very good at identifying people with low self-esteem, people who were victimized by a parent, or are financially dependent and physically incapable of fighting back.
Now that you know the signs, always be on the watch to identifying when you are actually being victimized emotionally and psychologically.