Have you considered the impact your relationship has on your mental state? Emotionally “abusive relationships” can be complex and challenging to identify because the signs aren’t always apparent. Someone who abuses emotionally tries to influence by making the victim question their memories and experiences.
As a result, victims of emotional abuse often suffer in silence and go through psychological distress. A better understanding of the destructive cycle of emotional abuse will empower you to detect when emotional abuse is taking place and how to take proper action.
Today, we will cover everything you need to know about emotionally abusive relationships – what it is, what triggers them, and how to fix them.
What is emotional abuse in a romantic relationship?
A person is emotionally abusive when using emotions to criticise, humiliate, shame, blame, or otherwise deceive another person. In general, a relationship is emotionally abusive if there is a pattern of offensive remarks and bullying behaviours that degrade a person's self-esteem and damage their mental health.
In an abusive relationship, you don't feel valued. This person believes that it is within their rights to dictate how you exist and what you are capable of as a person. To them, you are nothing more than an object to be ruled over and manipulated. They're no longer in your relationship to support or nurture the relationship itself.
Let’s look at some of the most typical signs to know if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.
- Your partner gaslights you.
Emotional abuse can be characterised by a lack of respect for the other person's feelings, and rudeness is one of the most common signs. Sometimes, it may be as simple as ignoring your sentiments in public or throwing insults at you.
- Your partner will never admit to being wrong.
Partners in a healthy relationship usually find a middle ground following a disagreement. Both sides are likely to have done something that requires an apology in most situations. However, an emotionally abusive partner will always find a way to blame you for any relationship conflicts or disagreements with them.
Emotionally abusive people frequently can't or won't accept responsibility for their faults and shortcomings. Therefore they tend to point the finger at other people or situations. This can cause you to question your sense of reality, which can lead to feelings of paranoia.
- You have been isolated from your friends or family.
Emotionally abusive people may purposefully or unintentionally separate the people they are abusing, depending on the nature of the abuse. Your abuser will quickly get away with their abuse if you don't keep in touch with your close friends and family members.
It will be more challenging to end a relationship if your partner is your primary source of companionship and support. There is a good chance that your partner is the one who purposefully set this circumstance.
- Your partner does not care about your feelings.
Emotionally abusive partners frequently try to seem like they are joking when they say things that are hurtful to their partners. This could include mocking your appearance and claiming that you "can't laugh at yourself" because you object to the apparent cruelty.
There is a risk of making you feel self-conscious and embarrassed because of this, wondering if you are lousy at understanding humour or if you can't loosen up enough to laugh at your imperfections. On the other hand, when you are joking with an emotionally abusive partner, you could inadvertently start a fight with the abuser who can't accept or acknowledge their flaws.
- Your partner is continually accusing you.
Accusations are another indicator of emotional abuse that is often overlooked. Even in the simplest of situations, your partner can cause pain by accusing you of avoiding responsibilities. At the same time, you are taking care of everything, or accusing yourself of being the cheater, absent, or utterly untrusting in your relationship.
What causes emotional abuse in a relationship?
A variety of factors can cause a relationship's emotional abuse. Some insight into the psychology of abusive relationships may help explain why some individuals become abusive.
Research published in the scholarly journal found that women who become abusive partners are more likely to have experienced a history of trauma, attachment issues, child abuse, drug abuse, or personality disorders. In addition, being raised in a dysfunctional household or having dealt with mental health or substance abuse issues also appears to be associated with abusive relationships.
An additional study supported these findings, revealing that a person's anger, anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies, as well as alcohol abuse and gambling addiction, are all linked to becoming an abusive partner.
According to the findings of these two studies, people with mental health issues or addictions are more likely to engage in abusive behaviour toward others. While these findings do not excuse abusive behaviour, they show psychological reasons behind abusive relationships.
Abuse may be a coping mechanism, a taught behaviour, or an indication of a mental health condition for someone dealing with mental illness, addiction, or unresolved childhood trauma.
Why is it hard to leave an emotionally abusive relationship?
Emotional abuse can cause a victim to lose their entire sense of self, even if there is no physical evidence of the abuse at all. Instead, the wounds are hidden from others by the victim's sense of worthlessness or inadequacy.
Individuals who endure a pattern of verbal abuse and other forms of verbal abuse, such as name-calling, humiliation, destructive criticism, and gaslighting, gradually lose their ability to see themselves rationally. As a result, the victim may begin to agree with the abuser and become critical of themselves. Once this happens, most abuse victims believe they aren't good enough for anyone else and stay in the abusive relationship.
Can emotionally abusive relationships be fixed?
An abusive relationship can be repaired, but emotional abuse is difficult to recover from after it has occurred. We recommend that both parties seek individual therapy before beginning relationship counselling.
Emotional abuse damages the victim's mental health and well-being even if it doesn't appear that way. If you see signs of emotional abuse, go ahead and confront your partner before making a final decision on whether or not to stay in the relationship.
How do you deal with emotionally abusive relationships?
Find out where the abuse came from.
It's not uncommon for people who've been emotionally abused in the past to retaliate by using others. To ensure that they will never be abused again, they usually become aware enough to stay away from any abusive partners and instead choose a partner who is weak or non-confrontational.
Stop blaming yourself
Anyone who has endured a long-term emotional abuse relationship may believe something is seriously wrong with them. But remember that you aren't the problem here. It is essential to learn and remind yourself that abuse is a conscious decision. So, stop blaming yourself for things over which you have no influence.
You should still set boundaries even if the abuser does not want to respect them or does not care if you do. Establish what you are willing to put up with and what you aren't. You should be clear about what you intend to do and the consequences. If the abuser tries to manipulate you, ensure the results match the behaviour.
The abuser is unlikely to admit they are wrong even if they are right. Let them go, and don't waste your time arguing with them or defending yourself from their false accusations. Unfortunately, an emotionally abusive person can use anything you say against you, including the truth.
It is imperative that you prioritise your own emotional and physical well-being. Let go of the need to appease the individual who has harmed and abused you. Pay attention to what you need. Affirm your self-worth and positivity by doing something that you love.
Taking care of one's health and well-being should be a top concern for everyone. For survivors of abuse, this is even more important. You can regain a sense of stability and well-being by turning your attention away from your abuser and onto your desires and needs. Rest and sleeping well are essential for good health. Balance your diet with healthy snacks and regular physical activity to keep your weight in check.
Plan an exit strategy.
It's impossible to stay in an abusive relationship if your partner has no intention of altering or improving their abusive behaviours. Both your emotional and physical health will suffer as a result.
In some cases, it may be necessary to end the relationship. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. So, talk to a friend, family member, or professional counsellor about what's on your mind. When someone is emotionally abused, it can lead to physical abuse and violence in the long run.
Build a support system
Be open with a trustworthy friend or family member about what you're going through. Many abusers rely on the fact that their victims may be unable to share what they are going through with other people. In many circumstances, victims of emotional abuse don't believe that anyone will believe them since they finally want out.
Talk to someone who can provide you with emotional support and encouragement so that you can have the strength to continue on your healing journey.
Where to Get Help?
When you're in an emotionally abusive relationship, you may experience various negative emotions, including fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, and a need to constantly cry and comply with the other person's wishes, among other things. People in an emotionally abusive relationship can feel frustrated and unsure of what they should do.
Recognising the signs of emotional abuse and figuring out how to end the cycle is both doable. Remember that no matter what you've done or been accused of doing in the past, you don't deserve to be abused. It is never your fault if someone decides to behave emotionally abusive towards you.
You can learn how to manage the impacts of emotional abuse, regardless. Do everything possible to prevent future emotional, verbal, or psychological abuse in your union or committed partnership. Don't let emotional abuse ruin your life by making amends for past faults.