Sunday, October 17, 2021
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Why Talk About Emotional Abuse?

When we talk about abuse, we don’t realize how many layers it has and how many different forms it can take. Sometimes the discussion remains incomplete because we are not able to look at the big picture. We are too busy trying to validate both parties because from the very beginning, we are taught that it takes ‘two to tango’ and you ‘can’t clap with one hand’ etc., etc. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and then there are exceptions to even those rules since rules of Emotional and psychological abuse are different from physical abuse. There are some common denominators, but we will first focus on the differences because it’s important to note what those feel and look like.
emotional abuse

The Feel of Emotional Abuse

For others, psychological abuse has no feel. That is why it is so quickly dismissible. Mostly, that is why it is dismissed by everyone that comes in contact with someone who is being emotionally abused or harassed. Most times, the person who is being abused doesn’t know it themselves, but it doesn’t do them any favors by hearing it from other people.

The signs of physical abuse are right there, and people will see bruises. If not, others will hear stories about the abusers, anger and screaming, shouting, hitting. That’s not the case with an emotional abuser. They play mind games. They want to control their victim by making sure that person understands that they are better than them in every way and that the victim is nothing without the abuser.

These abusers are very good at keeping an extremely well social appearance.  When the victim complains, no one would believe them against such an upstanding citizen and a person with such impeccable record of only good behavior. After all, how do you judge psychological games in a court of law, and how do you sentence them in any prison? How do you define it as a crime when there is no crime scene to be seen and no criminal to speak of…so to speak.

The difference between emotional and physical abuse
There will be no bruises on an emotional abuse victim.
They will not seem afraid of their abuser as a physical abuse victim might be for their life in most cases.
Emotional abuse victims do not seem to be in any immediate threat or danger from their abuser.

Some signs of emotional/psychological abuse:

  1. Belittling comments
    1. Name-calling, making fun in a way that’s not funny to the other person.
    2. Bringing up shortcomings in front of other people.
  2. Controlling with Money
    1. This doesn’t mean that they don’t spend money on the person. For example, they will buy stuff for you but will not give money in your hands. They will let you pick out expensive vacation destinations, but you will not be allowed to have a credit card or the means to take yourself there.
  3. Controlling where one goes and who is one with
    1. Always keeping an eye, the person by constantly calling and texting or by installing cameras, in some cases maybe even GPS trackers without the person’s permission. If questioned, they will say it’s all for your safety.
  4. Not letting the victim visit family and friends
  5. Control through technology
  6. Dismissiveness
    1. This is very similar to belittling. They will not give any consideration to the person’s opinion, word, or any statement. They will do things like walk away mid-sentence. They might roll their eyes or say something like, “what would you know?” etc. They do all this to create dominance over the subject.
  7. Anger management issues
  8. Gaslighting
    1. They will say one thing one minute and then will deny it the next. They will say something in front of someone else and then repeat it differently in front of other people making the person or the abuser seem like a complete liar or a crazy person. As I mentioned earlier, because they keep an excellent social image, people tend to believe what they say, and it becomes tough to convince others that they are lying. It gets to the point that the abuser feels like he/she is going crazy because they don’t know what to believe anymore.
  9. Character assassination
    1. This means that they start to make the abused the bad guy in front of everyone else. Because the abuser has not been preplanning any of this, it is hard for them to counter all these moves and they feel more and more helpless when people start to judge them for speaking the truth about being in harm’s way.
  10. Faking Helplessness
    1. Whenever the victim tries to stand up to their abuser with whatever little strength they can gather, they start to fake helplessness. They pretend they love them and tell them that they can’t live without them. Remember these victims are already fragile and looking for validation. They have been told over and over again that they are not good enough. They only stand up when they have had too much. At this point (and at other points when they think they might lose the person) these abusers start to tell them that they can’t live without them and they are helpless without them. They might say things like, “I can’t even make an egg, I’d dies of hunger if I didn’t have you in my life”, or “you are the only one who has stuck around all this time. Everyone abandons me.” The victims are looking for validation and they will take it where-ever they can get it. Unless they are self-aware. Most are not, that’s why they are in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Why is it important to talk about emotional abuse?

This discussion is one of the most important discussions in our culture. We are dismissive of our mental health in general. We don’t focus on what is going on beneath the surface. We only want to know what is right there in front of us.

Especially when it comes to relationships and emotional issues, we are very quick to tell others how to ignore everything that is not seen and how everything they are feeling is just in their heads and if they keep ignoring it, it will eventually go away. A lot of the times it does go away, because that person stops talking to us about it so as far as we know the problem is solved.

Emotional abuse is a big problem because people who are emotionally disturbed are more likely to have problematic relationships. People who are not equipped to deal with these emotionally disturbed relationships are more likely to give bad advice to those people in the relationships. Hence the growth of emotionally unstable and problematic relationships. That’s why this topic is important, no that’s why this topic is ESSENTIAL for our culture.

Who is usually a victim of emotional abuse?

Anybody can be a victim of emotional abuse; It could be a co-worker, a friend, a family member or a spouse. Sometimes even parents can emotionally abuse their children.

It is extremely difficult to fight because it is extremely difficult to recognize, and it is even harder to make the victim realize that they are a victim. They are so engrossed in the cycle and becoming a crutch to their abuser that many times even if they want to see it, they would rather be in denial.

That is why it’s important to know the signs so we can know when to help when someone comes to us asking, when to help even without them asking.

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