19 Signs you're in an emotionally abusive relationship
Good relationships don't make you feel the way explained below. It’s sad that the only time domestic violence is in the forefront of the media is when abusive incidents with sports figures or celebrities become very public. Abuse is not always as apparent as being hit or moredegraded or cussed at. In fact, it can even be subtle. You may start feeling confused about the relationship as to where you stand. This is the kind of abuse that often creeps up as you become more and more involved in your relationship.
Here, I’m talking about psychological abuse — also known as emotional abuse or mental abuse
Psychological abuse is when a person tries to control information available to another person with intent to manipulate that person's sense of reality or their view of what is acceptable and what is not. Psychological abuse generally contains impactful emotionally manipulative content and threats designed in a way that force the victim to comply with the abuser's wishes. Such an abuse takes a severe toll on one’s self-esteem. The abused person starts feeling helpless and in severe cases even hopeless.
In addition, most of the mental abusers are masters at convincing the victim that the abuse is his/her fault and that somehow, the victim is responsible for what happened. A more complex form of psychological abuse is often referred to as "gaslighting." This happens when false information is presented with the intent to make the victim doubt his/her own memory, perception, and sanity.
Examples may range simply from the abuser straight out saying that any or all of previous abusive incidents ever occurred to staging outlandish events with the intention of confusing the victim. I listened to a client tell me that his wife denied an affair even after she found a racy email to another man on her computer and confronted her. The wife denied this and went so far as to send an email to her tech guy asking how his account could have been hacked and to fix the problem!
The most common form of emotional abuse is "I love you, but ... " That may sound nice at first, yet it is both a threat as well as criticism in disguise. It indicates, "I love you for now but if you don't stop this or that, I won’t love you anymore."
It is a constant hit that gradually keeps on increasing in severity that in the end, destroys your self-esteem. Abusers get reinforcement out of using the word "love" as it seems to become the one magical word to control you.
Abusers are also known to frequently do what I call "throwing a bone." I have heard many-a-times from people that their partner was "being nice," "strangely complementary, ”brought a gift," etc. as if it should erase all of the times they treated you badly. You need to understand that this is a part of the cycle of abuse. In fact, it is rare in abusive relationships to NOT have these moments of sincere apologies, feeling good or attempts to make up for the bad times. The victim clings on to the short lived hope when these moments take place and the abuser knows this.
Here are 19 signs to watch for if you think you or a friend may be in psychologically abusive relationship:
1. Constant put-downs
2. Extramarital affairs
4. Humiliating or Embarrassing
5. Provocative behavior with opposite sex
6. Excessive sarcasm
7. Unreasonable jealousy
8. Extreme moodiness
9. Making fun of you or jokes that are in bad taste
10. Saying "I love you but..."
11. Saying things like "If you don't _____, I will_____"
12. Domination and control
13. Withdrawal of affection
14. Guilt trips
15. Making everything your fault
16. Isolating you from friends and family
17. Using money to control
18. Constant calling or texting when you are not with him/her
19. Threatening to commit suicide if you leave
It's important to remember that this kind of abuse is NOT your fault. Abusers are manipulators with a habit of making you believe that the way you are being treated is your fault. These people know that everybody has insecurities and use them against you. They are capable of convincing you that you do not deserve better treatment or that they are treating you this way to "help" you. Some abusers even put on an act of being charming and nice in public so that others have a good impression of them. Whereas it is a completely different story behind locked doors, which is also quite perplexing.
If you see yourself in these words, know that there is little hope for your relationship to improve. It would take a monumental amount of insight and motivation for the abuser to change and unfortunately, this is rarely the case. If you are in an abusive relationship, I urge you to get out and the first step is through talking. Get counseling to rebuild your esteem so that you can take the next appropriate step.The above article was curated with the help of Dr. Marni Feuerman’s (expert) article on “21 Signs You’re in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship”