Emotional abuse is an attempt to control someone but not with physical violence. The weapon of choice for such abuse are often: guilt trips, words, stories, manipulations and etc. Victims may feel, "it is my fault' and live daily with plenty of questions and a possible fear of confronting. The scary thing is, people are commonly unaware that they are emotionally abusive or they are being abused. It is often swept under the carpet.
Should I hold on to this relationship?
These 10 signs will help you conclude if you're in an emotionally abusive relationship.
1. The Lead Of The Relationship
Basically, this person is the main lead of the relationship. But, not in a good mutually supportive way. Sometimes you question, are you there to make him look good? Often, he can be rather self-centered. He doesn't quite see why others are not happy with him and feels like the other party is always in the wrong.
2. Inappropriate Boundaries
He is usually critical and sometimes you find yourself making excuses for him. When situations or feelings are intensified, he shames and blames with hostility, sarcasm or outright verbal assault. Even if he apologises, he is no doubt processing an attempting to manipulate and control you to feel or act in a certain way.
3. Verbal Abuse: Name-calling and belittling you with words
Affectionate pet names are cute. Even vulgar pet names in some relationships. But when it's name-calling, it is no longer cute or affectionate. You will sense an unpleasant intention. Don't shake it off and find excuses for him. This is a red flag that signals toxic relationship. It could be in the form of insulting, passive aggression or make you look bad in front of others.
4. Withholding Affections
This is a passive way of wanting to get things done in his/her ways. As an avoidance tactic, he is waiting for you to say and do something that he wants specifically before you're able to get your 'entitlement'. Do you see it?
5. Possessive & Dominating
When you really process his actions, you might realise there is a power play. Through different tactics and ways (even apologies and romantic gestures), it seems like there's something he is not satisfied with at the end of the day. You may find yourself questioning are you his girlfriend (or a housekeeper, secretary, or spare tire)?
According to Psychology Today, "Gaslighting is a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt her or himself, and ultimately lose her or his own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth."
7. Mind Games
If the relationship keeps you in a guessing game, you feel like you have to tiptoe around him, you consistently feel tired around him for no reasons. You're trapped with a mind-control freak and you don't even realise it.
8. Refusal To Communicate (Stonewalling)
Many relationships break down due to miscommunication or a lack of communication. When a party refuses to communicate or even hear you, you might want to think twice about where the relationship is heading to.
9. Isolating You From Supportive Friends & Family
Instead of encouraging you to lean towards your family and friends, this person is pulling you away from your family and friends.
10. Excessive Defensiveness
When it comes to the point that it is exhausting for both parties. If you constantly have to explain or defend yourself, it might be wise to reflect and ask people you trust for their opinions.
If you can relate to more than 3 of the above points, you are likely in an emotionally abusive relationship. Seek help and counselling.
Victims of this unspoken abuse tend to feel disrespected, passive anger and even withdrawal despite the love they have for their partner.
A Common Scenario
When a trigger (an argument) happens, the abuser suddenly becomes very apologetic. He wants to keep you. He will even become extra romantic for a while. He's trying to gain back the trust through his actions by showing you what he wants you to see.
He may be extra attentive, buy flowers, cooks, come home early, kick away some bad habits, or whatever else he has to do to make you believe he's changed.
What does he want? He wants you to forgive him, trust him again. He wants to paint a picture in you that he is a perfectly good husband or partner. There is absolutely no reason for you to think he is a bad option.
When you begin to trust that he will no longer emotionally abuse you, he starts back up with the same old abusive patterns. Now, the longer you stay the harder it will be for you to leave.
Many people deal with this abuse for life and feel like 'all relationships have up and downs' and 'it's my fault.'
It is not your fault.
Start thinking, "What kind of relationship do I want? What excites me?" and move in that direction while you can. You just want to be happy and to make someone worthy happy.
How about a $9.90 Korean buffet for you?
Photo Source : Pinterest
Text by: Girlstyle SG