Just because it is not physical doesn’t mean there will be no scars.
Abusive relationships can take multiple forms. Just because a person is not experiencing physical mistreatment, does not mean that other types of abuse are acceptable. The idea that a person in a committed relationship must endure harassment and fear from their partner in any form is a false narrative that is accepted in many relationships.
Often times people question whether their relationship is an abusive one based on how they feel and then deny to themselves due to the fact that their partner never touched them. This does not mean that the relationship is healthy.
Forms of Emotional Abuse
Fear: In some cases, the threat of violence often is just as debilitating to a person as actual harm. Abuse isn’t always a matter of causing physical pain or marks that can be seen. A person that is threatened or uses fear as a weapon to control their partner is as unacceptable as any other type of abuse. When a spouse uses intimidation to control the other, this takes away that person’s sense of security and in the place where they should feel most secure, their home. Subtle or overt, these behaviors should be addressed.
Excessive Criticism: Very commonly dismissed by others and often times by the recipient of this form of abuse, often this is used as a control mechanism by the abuser. In extreme circumstances, this “tactic” is used to diminish the other’s self-esteem and place the other in a subservient role where they are constantly coping with the feeling of inferiority. This behavior is used to establish a dominance over their partner and should not be tolerated. Feelings of humiliation or inadequacy tend to develop in the recipient of this abuse and can have long-term psychological effects on the person.
Lack of Compassion: For many people that live with someone that has a lack of compassion, this can be a very hurtful and cruel situation. By withholding these feelings and expressions of love and concern, the victim often feels inadequate and tries to garner any expression of emotion for the other. This is a very unhealthy living environment and in severe conditions can have a long-lasting negative effect on the persons social skills throughout their life.
Are you in an Emotionally Abusive Relationship?
In the examples above there are varying degrees and not all can be categorized in absolute terms. A single fight with a raised voice or a negative comment about a person’s accomplishment does not mean there is a pattern of abuse. However, daily reinforcement of these behaviors can point to a seriously dysfunctional relationship.
If you feel you are being abused or any of these apply to you, then consider getting help. A marriage counselor or therapist may begin helping you through your journey to escaping emotional abuse. Many shelters offer services for women and families who need to escape a dangerous situation. They can help you find legal representation and protection. Finding an attorney who can protect your legal rights, child custody, and alimony is an important step in escaping abuse. Remember, no one deserves emotional abuse.
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