Emotional abuse is another form of abuse. There are many different kinds of relationship abuse, and just because your wife or husband, boyfriend or girlfriend isn't being physically abusive, doesn't mean there isn't any abuse.
When we think about abuse and abusive relationships, we tend to think that women are victims. However, men can be victims of abuse. Yes, women are just as bad at abuse as a man, when it happens, but the biggest problem is that a man has a hard time acknowledging the woman in his life is being abusive. This may be because of social roles and our culture that teach us that "Men cannot be victims of abuse."
While there are no outward signs, emotional abuse can hurt just as much if not more than a black eye or a bloody nose. It cuts deeper than any kind of physical contact, and can often cause the victim to lose all of their self esteem and self-worthiness, and these wounds can last a lifetime.
There are many different causes for emotional abuse, whether the perpetrator was abused themselves, or saw it happen to a parent, or maybe just likes to exert control over another person.
While many of these abuses are not at first life threatening, any time you are put down, made to feel shame or guilt for things that you didn't do, or any real situation where you feel helpless, or afraid can be extremely traumatic.
This trauma can often leave you with feelings of being stuck in a situation, where you feel you can't get free of it. The abuser will often make the victim feel like the abuser is the only one who can take care of them, or they may even be fearful of leaving someone who is emotionally abusive.
So what are the signs of emotional abuse? How do you know when a friend or loved one is on the receiving end?
One of the very first signs is that the abuser will forbid their victim from talking, or seeing other people. This is usually because if they are found out, then there is a chance to get away, especially early on. If you know someone that has suddenly become withdrawn after being in a relationship for a short period of time, there could be something going on.
For victims, the first time your partner cuts you down, whether in private or in public, this can be the start of abuse. There is a big difference between joking around and emotional abuse. If someone starts telling you that your are no good, or that you are not worth anything, this is definitely signs that they are abusing you.
Anyone that makes threats against you, makes you feel helpless or frightened, they are emotionally abusing you. If your spouse or partner makes you stop seeing other people, going out regularly, and is constantly berating you, that is emotional abuse.
It is often hard for a victim to get away from an emotionally abusive situation, but the sooner they can do it, the less of a trauma it will be. A victim will often blame themselves for the situation, which is certainly not true, but what the abuser wants them to think. Get out of the situation, no matter what it takes.
If your safety is in danger, call 911 immediately.
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