Do you feel trapped?
Like sitting at the bottom of a deep well. No light. No life. No hope.
He pushes your buttons with remarkable precision – he knows exactly where they are.
“You’re just like your mother!”, he barks.
“Tired? You?!!”, he rolls his eyes with contempt, “You make me laugh.”
“So you’re smart, ha?”, his face dangerously close to yours.
Then he plays the nice guy, to lull your vigilance and catch you off guard. With criticism, lies, and intimidation.
Just to suddenly strike you with his,“Now, what’s wrong?”
You try to comprehend your partner’s behaviour. Blaming yourself for the “wrong” questions and being “stupid”.
Sinking deeper and deeper into despair.
Just as he wants you to.
Is it your fault?
Meet the Beast
It takes two people to screw up a relationship.But emotional abuse is not your fault.Click To Tweet
Do you always recognise its ugly face?
Psychological abuse (also referred to as psychological violence, emotional abuse or mental abuse) is a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting, or exposing, another person to behaviour that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Let’s have a closer look.
Sophisticated and cruel, gaslighting is meant to destroy you.
The abuser ruthlessly insists that your feelings, thoughts and memories are inappropriate.
He denies your reality, your sense of the past and yourself.
To impose his own, instead.
He’s never wrong. The fault is always yours, and he blames you shamelessly for everything.
“I’ve never said/done that. It’s all in your head.”
“There is no reason for feeling hurt. That’s nonsense.”
“Are you crazy/on your period?”
He changes the subject, manipulates and lies to confuse you. He must always win.
Deceived, disoriented and doubting. Can’t trust yourself and your memories anymore. Guilty and unworthy. Helpless, insignificant, anxious and unlovable.The abuser aims to dismantle the very core of your personality - your self-esteem, judgement and self-trust. Click To Tweet
To get you into his power.
2. Isolating – separate and conquer
Family and friends are your strength. They love and support you. Help you to see things from another, healthy perspective.
Your abuser knows it, so he pulls you out of the supporting network. To isolate and make you vulnerable. To suck you into his power field.
Alone, anxious vulnerable and insecure. Manipulated and controlled. Your self-esteem plummets, and you don’t dare trusting yourself.
He breaks you down piece by piece until you feel depended on him for your survival.Family and friends are your strength.Click To Tweet
3. Trampling your boundaries
Do you remember being yourself? Such an empowering feeling.
But your independence is a threat to abuser’s dominance.
“We’re visiting my mum tonight,” – he spits out ignorant to your plans.
Or he wakes you up in the middle of the night, oblivious to your busy schedule. To share a passing thought or reproach you for the absence of orange juice.
Accusing you of cheating, he drops by unannounced at your office. And God forbid if you talk to a male colleague.
He sends you countless texts expecting an immediate reply.
When you bring it up, he blames you for his own actions pretending to be hurt. “I worry about your safety… you stupid cow.”
He dumps his emotional junk on you. Feeling upset, he attacks you just to feel better himself.
Annoyed, ashamed, intruded and violated. Nervous under the constant surveillance. Controlled and deprived of your personal freedom.
*Argh*Smashing your boundaries helps the abuser to impose his will on you.Click To Tweet
To him, you’re not an individual but an extension of him – with no needs of your own.
And no freedom to choose.
4. Mocking and insulting
Let me share a story with you.
Lizzie, a successful mature woman, was confused. Her boyfriend’s idea of having fun included making jokes at her expense.
Though Lizzie felt hurt, she kept saying that her boyfriend wasn’t mean. Somehow it was her fault because she was clumsy and overweight.
And what about: “You are so smart, you don’t need a head” or “You are doing great with your weight loss. Soon you will be as pretty as your coach”?
Disguised as humour or support, they are neither.
Ugly and humiliated. Uncomfortable in your skin.
Mockery and insults are other “tools” to break you down.
5. Suffocating you financially
Is he in charge of your finances?
Has he cancelled your credit cards leaving you with a pittance of an allowance?
Are you accountable for each penny you spent?
Or, he buys sports cars and expensive presents to his family with your money.
Used, controlled, trapped and insecure. Helpless and powerless. Anxious for your future.
Financial dependence takes away your hope to escape.
Emotional abuse is simply unhealthy.Click To Tweet
Emotional abuse damages your health. Like cancer, it’s eating your mind and body from the inside.
See the Light from the Bottom of Your Well
Is there way out?
Yes, it is.
You can choose to stay in your well, facing the darkness in front of you. Or dare to look up and see the light.
No matter how tiny – this beam is your hope.
Let’s claim your life back.
- Trying to understand his behaviour. There is no logic to it. Stay sane.
- Arguing with him. Don’t explain yourself. You will just drown in endless arguments.
- Making excuses for him, normalising his behaviour. There is nothing normal about it.
- Believing he can change. Maybe he can … after years of therapy … if he agrees. Want to stick around that long?
- Blaming yourself. That’s not your fault.
- Doubting your ability to be on your own.
- Believing that you are in a unique situation nobody would understand. You are not.
Just stop it!
Reclaim Your Human Rights
Think of yourself five years from now.
How do you look and move? What your clothes look like? How does your voice sound?
Imagine being in her skin.
Time to stop the abuse.
Make this first important decision on your own.
And commit to it.
How?You can’t control another person’s behaviour, but you can control your response to it. Click To Tweet
Let me show.
There is no need to be the Steadfast Tin Soldier fighting a storm on your own.
Find a person you can trust – a friend, a family member or a priest. A social worker or a mental health professional.
You need support, feedback and protection.
Share your experiences with her. Make reality checks to get your memories back and rebuild self-trust.
- Distance emotionally from your abuser. Put his actions and your feelings in words. Find a list here or use emotional words from this article.
- Start building up your boundaries. Tell your partner how you want to be treated. What behaviour you accept and what not. Don’t do it alone if you feel frightened.
- Secure yourself financially for the first time, so you can stand on your own feet. Be creative but careful.
Remember, he won’t leave his territory without a fight. So brace yourself for pushbacks.
Be prepared in case of possible aggression. Have emergency numbers and a safe retreat. Ask a friend to come if you feel frightened.
To leave an unhealthy relationship is<ahref=”http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1002/jocc.12038/full”>a huge challenge even when you feel ready for a change.Recovery from emotional abuse might take years but it worth the hard work.Click To Tweet
You deserve a better life.
Be Your Own Guardian Angel
Don’t let the disturbed, poisonous person suck the life out of you.
“Happiness is always there. You just have to choose to see it. There’s no point dwelling in the dark and ignoring the light of the stars.” ~ Carrie Hope Fletcher
Your emotional well-being is your responsibility. Take it.
Tune into a vivifying vibe of your new life.
You have right to be you. To feel, think and decide for yourself. To be happy.
Small changes grow into big in time.
Be brave and move on.
PS If you know someone who suffers from emotional abuse, please, feel free to share this article with her. Or him. If you like my advice. Let’s help so many people we can. Together. Thank you.
Edited by Yvonne Reese
Images by Stock-Snap.io