What is emotional abuse?
Many people conclude that if they are not physically abused by their partner or their environment, then they are not abused. This is not necessarily true. You may be in a relationship that makes you “deprived” – you may not recognize it but your partner may have ruined your self-esteem and happiness.
Abuse comes in many forms: verbal, physical, sexual and of course emotional, which includes all types of abuse.
In what ways is emotional abuse practiced?
There are different ways in which it is practiced, they differ in content but the motivation is the same:
- Lies or half-truths to avoid justifying his actions
- Blames others to take responsibility from him
- Refuses to see the other side and insists on his point of view
- Does not say all the details/information to blame later (“you should have known that”)
- Does not recognize the other person’s feelings
- It becomes offensive not in an aggressive way but in a funny way so that the victim thinks he was joking while abusing
- Changes subject to distract from it
- Makes the other person feel unworthy, in his attempt to lower self-esteem and bring him to his own level
- Threatens with physical or sexual violence
- Denies that there is a problem
- Has inappropriate outbursts that make the victim disoriented
- Controls others so that they have no freedom
- Forgets commitments and promises
- Denies the success of others
- Takes advantage of the other’s weaknesses, uses shame, guilt, fear
- Interrupts the other when he speaks
- Eliminates the ability to choose
- Asks inappropriate questions or comments to elicit an emotional response.
In these ways he does “brainwashing” in order to have control over the other’s thinking:
- Initially does not inform the victim about what is happening and the changes that are made (e.g. your partner may be checking your finances, making plans and not informing you until the last minute)
- Controls the time and environment of his victim and gradually isolates him (e.g. insists on stopping a hobby or socializing, moving away from friends and family or stopping contacting people who supported you).
- Makes the victim feel weak, afraid and dependent, through verbal abuse
- Tries to make the victim behave as he wishes
- It presents a “closed circuit-logic system” which is not subject to criticism or changes. In other words, what he says is done…
What is the course of the abuse?
However, the situation is not simple, since the victim does not realize the danger and the threat, so a circle is made as shown in the diagram below:
STAGE 1 – Volume creation:
The tension increases, communication is interrupted, the victim feels the need to calm down – soften the perpetrator.
STAGE 2 – Event:
Verbal and emotional abuse. Anger, accusations, quarrels, threats, intimidation.
STAGE 3 – Reconciliation:
The perpetrator apologizes, finds excuses, blames the victim, denies that “abuse” took place or that things are not as bad as the victim says.
STAGE 4 – Calm:
The incident is “forgotten”, there is no more abuse.
What is the character of the person who is emotionally abusive?
The perpetrator of emotional abuse is usually someone who was emotionally abused as a child, or experienced it within his or her family. He is irritable and angry even with the most insignificant, he is possessive and jealous wanting to control his partner (most of them are men). He feels how “manly” he is depending on how much the woman depends on him. His relationships with other people are superficial, he has low self-esteem, rigid ideas about marriage, he does not compromise and he expects his partner to behave accordingly (often as he was in his own family or just the opposite). But above all he deceives himself for the problems that arise by blaming his partner (e.g. he would not get drunk if he did not provoke him, he would not get angry if he did what he had to do). One can say that he has a double personality: charming or cruel, selfish or generous, since he can, perfectly, deceive others.
What will be the consequences?
The long-term consequences of emotional abuse include alienating and isolating the victim, making him or her feel unrealistic. His self-esteem and belief in what he is worth is falling. Old memories are foggy and many pieces of the past are completely erased. Accumulated feelings of abuse are the main cause of emotional dysfunction, anxiety, distress, panic attacks, depression, obsessions, phobias.
Is there a cure-release?
The worst thing about this situation is that the victims are still living in these situations mainly because they do not know how to unhook themselves. When they try to justify why this is happening to them, recycling it in their mind, they still suffer. Some “carry” these experiences for years, perhaps for a lifetime, imprisoned in these thoughts.
They often think that they can not escape, or that they deserve to live like this, while they have to ask themselves: “is something positive coming out of this relationship in my life?”, “For how long will I suffer for things that happened a long time ago”.
Abuse reproduces negative emotions, physically exhausts victims, blurs their thinking, and prevents them from being better. If they live in an abusive environment, they should leave no matter how scary this thought may be, even if they feel they have no choice: it is because the perpetrator made them feel that way, without power.
People who are emotionally abused need to find the strength to do so and move on with their lives. With the help of an expert, they will investigate their feelings, decide that it is time to move on, take action and decide what changes they need to make to move on with their lives. If old events still cause them anger, confusion, fear, rejection, shame, guilt or other negative emotions, it is time to move on and live as they imagine. We deserve to live better, we deserve an opportunity to change…
For psychology, advises: Anastasia Kotsopoulou, Dr. Of Psychology