If you answer yes to these 11 questions, you’ve experienced emotional abuse (and possibly haven’t realized it)
We all hope for healthy relationships throughout our lives, but that doesn’t always happen. Too many people are emotionally abused by parents, siblings, significant others or friends.
It’s often subtle, with the victim (and even the abuser) not realizing it’s happening.
Emotional abuse is more than having a fight and exchanging words you didn’t mean. It can also be more damaging than physical abuse.
According to Psychology Today, “Emotional abuse undercuts a person’s foundational self-confidence and love of self and replaces them with confusion about self-worth, value, justice, mercy, and love.” Emotional abuse, also called mental or psychological abuse, can be aggressive or passive. It can be tricky to identify in your own relationships, but these questions can help:
If you answer yes to these questions, you’ve experienced emotional abuse
Does your friend, family member or significant other..
- Withhold love or affection as a form of punishment when they disapprove of something you did or didn’t do?
- Place blame on you for things that in no way are your fault?
- Criticize you in public or make you the punchline of inappropriate or cruel jokes?
- Control what you do with your time or money?
- Isolate or restrict interactions with friends or loved ones (or gives limited permission)?
- Put down your goals or ideas, points out all your flaws or tells you your opinions are wrong or you’re too sensitive?
- Make you feel nervous?
- Constantly call or texts to check up on you? Do they have to know who you’re with and what you’re doing?
- Make you “prove” you love him or her?
- Blame you for his or her mood, disappointments or unhappiness?
- Make threats disguised as a suggestion to help you?
Of course, there are other warning signs of emotional abuse and things that the abuser does to the victim, but these questions can help you identify abuse in your relationship. It’s also important to note that the “stress of emotional abuse will eventually catch up with you in the form of illness, emotional trauma, depression, or anxiety”, according to Live Bold and Bloom.
Being emotionally abused is not OK. If you are in an abusive situation with a friend, family member or significant other, please seek help to find a safe place. Find someone who will help you get out and get help. Professionals are also available to help you – call 1-800-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. (In Nigeria call +2347066159997 for Combat Domestic Violence and Abuse Foundation.)
It may be difficult to tell someone about what’s happening and to take the necessary steps to heal and reverse the effects of emotional abuse, but do not give up. You don’t have to suffer alone. You don’t have to stay silent. Help is out there – you deserve to live a life without abuse.