When you’ve become a victim of emotional or psychological abuse, you can find yourself questioning the very idea of whether you have even been abused. With a media that is riddled with stories of physical abuse, domestic violence and other forms of abuse, emotional and psychological abuse sometimes get pushed to the side. Here are three reasons why emotional and psychological abuse are very, very real and why they should never be ignored.
1. It takes away your self-esteem.
Imagine having your self-worth and self-esteem attacked on a daily basis. “You’re so stupid, you always load the dishwasher incorrectly!” “Are you really going to wear that to dinner?” “You can’t do anything right, can you?” These statements are not nice. After a while, they can become all you can hear. Eventually, you being to tell yourself how stupid you are or how you always mess up dinner. Once these comments are embedded in your brain, it’s very difficult to shake them and you may even begin to believe that you are stupid and incapable of doing anything right. After some time, you make look at yourself in the mirror and see a worthless individual and this indicates that your self-esteem has been taken from you.
2. You get manipulated into giving up the things you love
Let’s say you’re getting up for your ritual Saturday morning yoga class. As you’re gathering your mat and towel, your partner approaches you and gives you a kiss. You tell them you’ll see them after your class, and they pull you in close and say “I was hoping you’d make those amazing pancakes you make for breakfast.” You feel a little sad about missing your class but figure, what the heck and stay home and make the pancakes. Manipulation can be a tricky form of psychological abuse, but it works nonetheless. As the weeks progress, the requests pour in and before you know it, you haven’t gone to yoga in six weeks. The time that you stood your ground and said you were going, turned into argument about you not wanting to spend time with your partner. In time, it becomes easier to just give in, and in an instant, you have been manipulated into doing something to please the other person. Your needs suffer in order to please the other person. This is not fair to you and is a very toxic form of psychological abuse.
3. You begin to question your own sanity
You know yourself pretty well, right? Of course you do, it’s you! All that be changed in the face of psychological and emotional abuse, unfortunately. Perhaps you have a partner that has become accustomed to showing you how to do things “the right way.” It could be as simple as making the bed in the morning, you’ve been doing it wrong all these years! It doesn’t have to come with a sharp and hurtful correction either. It could come out as “Here, let me show you how I tuck the sheet under.” The tone of their voice, the look in their eye or a gentle touch of their hand to stop you from doing what you were doing are all forms of psychological abuse. This and other scenario of the same idea will begin to slowly eat away at your confidence. You’ll begin to think that you know nothing about anything and will start to question your own sanity. As a form of abuse, this gives all the control to your partner and you better believe that having all the power in a relationship is most definitely abuse.
These are just a few examples of the way that psychological and emotional abuse can affect a person. There may not be visible bruises or cuts, but the damage done to the individual is just as painful as any physical wound. They lose who they are. They are hurt every single day of their lives. Even if they are able to break free from their abuser, they may still suffer trauma from the years of abuse they endured. So if you find yourself questioning whether you’ve been a victim of abuse when the abuse doesn’t include any physical evidence, remind yourself of the examples above and remember, all abuse is not physical.
For more information on abuse and it’s many forms, please feel free to contact us.