Emotional abuse seems to be one of the most common forms of abuse out there, but very few people want to talk about it. Many of us do not even know that we are victims of this form of abuse while it is happening. It it usually done in such a subtle manner over a period of time that we don’t even realize that we are being abused.
This form of abuse attacks your self-esteem, and to a certain extent, your self-image. Even though I did not realize it at the time, my incredible weight gain over the duration of my relationship had everything to do with being in a relationship with someone who enjoyed seeing me miserable.
What is emotional abuse? I would say that it consists mainly of verbal innuendo toward your partner. The definition should also include the repetition of incidents within a relationship. These include actions such as humiliating, threatening or ignoring your partner.
Personally, one of the things that really got me down after my breakup, was my partner’s insistence that she would come to my place of work and embarrass me. To clarify, we spent quite a large amount of the time apart due to my work commitments. Even though I was quite certain that this would never happen, I capitulated and gave her whatever she wanted. Even though we went our separate ways a while ago, she still uses this threat to see what she can get out of me. She is welcome to come…
Are emotional abusers aware of what they are doing?
They most definitely are. They will continually tell you that they are sorry and did not realize what they were doing, but don’t believe this for one minute. This is all part of their game to keep you in the relationship. The longer you stay, the longer they get what they want.
Emotional abuse is a game to those dishing it out, and a cause of mental anguish to those on the receiving end.
Because this type of abuse is generally internalized, it may eventually lead you to become co-dependent on your partner. I will delve into co-dependency in later posts…
I could never equate emotional abuse to any form of physical abuse or sexual abuse, but if I look at how each of these forms of abuse mentally affects a person, it would keep it’s place quite comfortably in the top three.
For a more “official” definition have a look at Wikipedia.