Regaining Confidence After Emotional Abuse
The Awful Truth About Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse involves nonphysical behavior that belittles another person and can include insults, put down, verbal threats or other tactics that make the victim feel threatened, inferior, ashamed or degraded.
Some people don’t even realize that they are being emotionally abused. In this article I really want to break it down and educate you so you can realize if you are being verbally abused or if someone you know is being verbally abused.
Five red flags of an emotionally abusive relationship
You walk on eggshells (most of us know what that feels like and it is not good. What is happening here is that your nervous system is constantly dysregulated and overtime that breaks us down not only mentally but physically). Your partner can express emotions and opinions but will not allow you to do so (they marginalize your words and will not listen to you). You cannot discuss your relationship problems and issues (once again you are marginalized and not listened to). Your partner mistrusts you and your emotions (that’s not true, they may say, you don’t feel that, I don’t believe you, you don’t really believe that do you? That is crazy). You feel constantly confused and trapped (I must be crazy, what is wrong with me? I cannot ever leave. What will I do on my own? How will I ever get along without them).
Types of emotional abuse
Accusations of cheating or other signs of jealousy and possessiveness. Constant checking or other attempts to control the other person’s behavior. Constantly arguing or opposing. Criticism. Gaslighting (someone trying to make you feel and think you are crazy for example someone saying, I never said that you must have made that up in your head, or that never happened what are you talking about. When you know for a fact that what you heard or what happened actually did happen, they are just denying it). Isolating the individual from their family and friends (you may not even realize this, it slowly happens over time. Excuses why you cannot go and see your friends and family and pretty soon you never see them). Name calling and verbal abuse (examples of this can be direct or indirect, hostile or in a kind voice. Honey, you are not smart enough for that, let me help you. Or you are so stupid, you are so ugly, no one would ever want you, I am the only one who would put up with you, or I am the only one who will ever understand you…..).
Remember that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me?” Let’s take a good look at this. In theory this is a wonderful saying and it has connotations of empowerment, not to internalize, and don’t believe something just because someone said it to you. So, what we would like to think is that someone with high self-esteem, high self-regard, someone who is grounded, knows who they are, someone who is values their worth, and someone who refuses to accept (internalize) or believe what anyone says about them just because they say it. This is what that statement is really saying, which is a good thing. However, is it easier said than done and what really happens when we think and believe all of the above about ourselves but yet that little voice of self- doubt suddenly creeps in out of nowhere? What really happens is that nasty, hurtful, degrading, comment seeps into our unconscious and begins to erode at our core. We become less confident, less trusting of ourselves, our self-esteem becomes lower. Sometimes without us even knowing it. It starts to come out in strange ways. It may even present itself as depression, anxiety, low motivation, panic attacks, negative self-talk, physical illness. It can have lasting effects and can bleed over into all aspects of your life, personal and professional. So, you see, I cannot impress upon you how hurtful words can be. Because no matter how wonderful your self-esteem is these negative messages seep in and grow.
Keeping your self-esteem and self-worth intact
You recognize when someone around you is emotionally abusing you and you immediately create a boundary and have a conversation with them. Now, from reading one of the warning signs, an emotional abuser will more than likely not ever take personal accountability for their actions. You may never hear that you are right, they are being very destructive in their words and they are sorry. But what you can do is tell them that you will no longer tolerate them saying or behaving in a way that is emotionally abusive to you and if they continue to do so you are going to end the relationship for your own self-respect and mental health. This may be so much easier said than done especially if this is a romantic partner who is doing this.
It can be very hard to eliminate a person like that from your life. The thought of it can be full of fear. I encourage you or anyone you know who may be being emotionally abused to please reach out for help. Find a fabulous therapist who will teach you tools and practice with you so you are able to get strong so you can choose you and your worth over anyone who would treat you less than a person who deserves to be treated with respect, kindness, love and who values you so much that they would never do anything to purposely hurt you. I promise you, these good, healthy people do exist.
Loads of self-care and always be kind to you!
Love, Peace and Happiness,