Disclaimer: Before you read on, this piece is one I wrote after I did some extensive research and began reflecting upon my own relationship. This is by no means a professional piece, it is simply something I put together to share what are some classic signs of emotional abuse – you may have your own version, but please be mindful that I am simply a writer expressing my own thoughts on the matter. Spare me the vitriol and move along if you don’t want to read it. Simple.
I’m going to speak from experience and talk about an issue that we don’t address as often as we would like to – and that is – Emotional abuse.
Many people think that it isn’t really a form of abuse in a relationship, but it is real, and believe me, it can affect a person’s confidence and self-esteem in a way you wouldn’t expect. Unlike physical abuse which is far more dramatic and in-your-face, this is far more subtle, and creeps up on you in a way you wouldn’t expect and would probably ignore or dismiss, without realizing that it will have far-reaching consequences in the long term.
As someone who went through a similar experience very recently, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve noticed occur, and some of the things that you didn’t think would come under the emotional abuse category, but actually does. I was quite surprised at some of the signs that fall under the umbrella, and after some extensive reading, I thought I’d share a few of those with you:
- You always feel like you need to take permission from your partner to do things that don’t involve them.
This is actually one that surprised me a great deal – but apparently, it is something that is a regular occurrence in an emotionally abusive relationship. You have this constant need to ask your other half if you can go out with your friends, meet your colleagues or even if you want to buy that gorgeous new dress from Zara.
- They find a way to constantly treat you like a child, and not in a good way.
This is one of the first red flags you need to be aware of – and it happens more often than not without you realizing it. You think that at first, they’re doing it because they care and want you to be a better version of yourself, but later it becomes far too often and far more ridiculing that you would like.
- They out and out call you derogatory names that make you feel worse about yourself.
Words like ‘slut’, ‘whore’, ‘fat-f***’, – are they angry with you? They can be, but these kind of names are downright demeaning. No, no one has the right to call you ANY of those names, however pissed off they might be.
- They’re always right, you are always wrong.
Basically, you don’t have a say and their word is final. Once, twice, thrice, acceptable but ALL THE BLOODY TIME? You’re basically dismissing the opinion of your partner and saying that their word doesn’t matter, they will ALWAYS be wrong.
- You’ll always be inferior to them.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a law degree from Harvard, they’ll never see you as their equal. It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked your butt off to achieve a position that you absolutely deserved, you’re still lower than them. And you’ll remain there.
- They make fun of you, ridicule you, and put you down in private and in front of others at any given moment.
And this should make you realize they don’t give a rats a** about you and will make you a party joke at your expense, no matter how much it hurts you.
- They have trouble apologizing.
Seriously – make a mistake, say sorry. They don’t apologize, they use this line, “I don’t apologize easily.” and expect to get away with it. They actually physically have trouble articulating the word ‘sorry’ – don’t hold your breath, you’re never getting an apology even if it isn’t your fault (but with them, it always is.)
- They blame you for a theory they’ve concocted in their head, based on rumors.
Fact-checking anyone? Believe everyone else, except your partner. Blame them. Belittle them. Don’t ever dismiss the rumors but believe them and accuse and blame your partner, even if they tell you it’s false.
- They deflect.
Trust me when I say this, if they’ve messed up somewhere, they won’t accept their fault. They’ll find some small, insignificant detail and make sure you take the onus for their actions. They can’t be held responsible! How can you ever think that?
- They will lower your self-esteem to a point that you feel like the worst version of yourself.
At the end of the day, they won’t make you feel like a queen, but rather, like the the dirt below the dirt. They have blamed you, brought up all your shortcomings in every conversation, called you names, wounded your pride, ridiculed you, made you feel inferior, hurt your feelings time and time again, disrespected you in public, dismissed your opinions – you almost feel like you aren’t good enough, and perhaps at some point felt like you’re fundamentally unlovable – no one will have you or want you. Lowest point, met.
There are so many more signs and actions that are part of the category of emotional abuse. It’s not a one off thing, it occurs on a regular basis. When I say that it can really make you feel super under confident, I mean in every sense of the word. There are so many more ways that someone can be felt like they are emotionally abused and yes, they probably are all signs. It really does break you, and shake your self-esteem to the very core but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt is that we are a lot stronger than we give ourselves credit for. No matter how bad things seem to be, no matter how much self-loathing we go through at the time, we will always find a way to shine again, and become the best version of ourselves, and one day look back at the toxicity and think, “I am so much happier, so much more confident, and so much stronger without it..”
God bless you.