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The Subtle Art of Emotional Abuse

When you hear the term, emotional abuse, you probably get this idea in your head that someone might be yelling, cursing and name calling.  While this can be abusive, there are other, more subtle forms of emotional abuse.  It may be hard to recognize though, so if you are in a relationship and have wondered why you aren’t happy, but you can’t pinpoint the problem, here are signs that you may be being emotionally abused.

Does your spouse tell your children or other people that you don’t know what you’re talking about?  Do they disagree with behind your back and undermine you?  Do they tell you things like this to your face when you are having a disagreement? 

Do they deny conversations, agreements or behaviors?

Do they tell you that you’re crazy?  Paranoid?  Making things up?

Do they shut down and give you the silent treatment when they know you’re right?

Do they seem to argue with everything you say?

Do they say all the right things, make agreements and then continue the same previous behavior that was the catalyst for the discussion?

Do they withhold love, support or money when you aren’t doing things their way and then shower you with it when you are?

Do they spy or stalk you? 

Do they invade your personal space?

Do they control things in your life that as an adult, you should have control over?  Money, clothes, etc.

Do you confront them with their behavior, only to find that you are fully defending yourself within 5 minutes?  They’ve managed to turn everything around and put the spotlight on you without you even realizing it; therefore, effectively deflecting your original concern.

Abusers tend to be overly charismatic when you first meet, showering you with love, affection and devotion to concrete the bond between the two of you.  Once the bond is created, they will use these techniques to punish you when you aren’t behaving the way that they want you to.  And it hurts.  It hurts because you thought you had found this amazing person and when they punish you by ripping the rug out from under you, it feels like abandonment.  And they only way to fix it and reestablish that loving connection you once had is to do what they want.  This is the cycle that eats away at your self-esteem and eventually has you wondering if it really is all your fault.  I mean, after all, you really have begun to be anxious and paranoid.  You really are depressed.  You aren’t the same person you were when you two met.  But let me ask you, how could you be?  You are being abused.

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