what is emotional abuse?
There are four signs of emotional abuse: Degrading words and messages. This can be unfair negative criticism, hurtful accusations, or contemptuous statements. They are designed to be harsh and assassinate the character of the person on the receiving end.Tone and nonverbal communication. This is aimed at put-downs and demeaning tone. These can be loud and aggressive or quiet, silent, and passive-aggressive.Feedback towards the abuser. How the person reacts to being told he said or did something hurtful makes a big difference. Emotional abusers take little or no responsibility for their actions and tend to deflect it back to the injured party. This can take the form of denial and gaslighting.Repetition. The patterns of these behaviors tend to be repetitive, have a high frequency and significant duration.
Emotional abuse involves controlling other people by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, and otherwise manipulate them. This can occur in any form of relationship including a partner, friends, family, and coworkers. The patterns of abuse tend to wear down a person’s self-esteem and mental health. It frequently results in isolation and shame, which leads the person to believe that somehow they deserve the abuse they are receiving and have difficulty seeing any way of not continuing it.
The forms of emotional abuse include creating unrealistic expectations of another person including making unreasonable demands, expecting that person to meet all their needs and spend all their time together, and being dissatisfied no matter what they do. Emotional abuse always invalidates a person. This bullying, manipulation, and emotional blackmail tend to create chaos in their life.
If you or someone you know is being emotionally abused, it is vital that you talk about it. Saying something to others is a critical step, as well as keeping connections to outside people. It's a good idea to build a support network to make your physical and mental health a priority. It’s important to realize you can't fix other people and focus on your own actions. Establish boundaries with the abuser and work on an exit plan. All human beings are deserving of respect, validation, and kindness. Never let anyone or anything tell you differently. - Tim Re, Psy.D., ext. 317