What is emotional abuse?
Emotional abuse refers to any form of mistreatment in which someone attempts to control you by using their emotions to shame, guilt, embarrass or blame you. Over time this pattern of abusive words or behaviours can have a damaging effect on your self-esteem, mental health and confidence levels. Calmerry offers emotional abuse counselors so professionals in this field can communicate quickly with clients while having the flexibility and luxury of working from home while taking on multiple clients at once. With online therapy from Calmerry you’ll earn more while having more freedom while achieving better life balance too!
Emotional abuse is most often seen in romantic relationships, but it can also happen between family members, friends and coworkers. Emotional abuse can occur at any age and gender and it’s harder to detect signs than other forms of abuse because people may ignore or dismiss them altogether. However, signs of emotional abuse should never go ignored or dismissed – they need to be taken seriously and addressed immediately.
Most people are aware of physical and sexual abuse, yet emotional abuse often goes undetected. While they may understand that it involves hurting another person, they may not understand what constitutes emotional abuse.
Different Types of Emotional Abuse Different forms of emotional abuse exist.
Emotional abuse is just one form of abuse; other types may include financial, sexual, and physical mistreatment.
These types of emotional abuse may include:
- Threats or intimidation: Threats or intimidation can be used to make someone feel smaller and prevent them from standing up for their rights. You might experience fear, shouting or aggression in response.
- Criticism: This could include making unkind, dismissive remarks or calling out others. It also could involve not acknowledging your accomplishments, downplaying your strengths or exaggerating them. Criticism has the potential to significantly affect one’s self-esteem, confidence level and sense of worthiness.
- Undermining: This could include dismissing your opinions or disputing your versions of events (a form of gaslighting), leading to doubt in yourself. If they become angry with you, they might say that you are being too sensitive.
- Making you feel guilty: This could range from emotional blackmail to manipulation and ignore you. They may have been cruel before, but now show kindness towards you; this may cause you to feel sorry for them and lead to feelings of empathy towards them.
- Shaming: Feeling embarrassed about one’s behaviors, actions, or experiences
- Name-calling: Some people may make offensive statements and/or use derogatory terms to make you feel inadequate about yourself. When challenged, these hurtful remarks may be disguised as jokes or sarcasm.
- Different Treatment: If someone in your life is emotionally abusive, they may treat you differently than other family members or close friends. You could be put into potentially hazardous situations or controlled by them; additionally, they could pressure you into doing things you don’t feel comfortable doing or wanting to do.
- Isolation: Signs that your partner may be controlling and isolating may include preventing you from making friends, making it hard to trust family or friends, or keeping you away from social events. These could be indications that they have control over you or are trying to isolate you.
- You could be denied sexual activities, affection or money: This could be done to exert control over you and influence your decisions or lifestyle.
- Unrealistic Expectations: Expecting you to spend every moment with your loved ones, sacrifice everything for their wellbeing or listen carefully to all of their opinions can lead to disappointment and may not live up to those standards set by someone with unreasonable expectations. Accurate dates and times for past events (e.g., discussions which they deny having taken place): Establishing unrealistic deadlines may also create unrealistic expectations.
- Invalidating: This could include dismissing or demanding your viewpoint, refusing to agree with you, making you feel uncomfortable, dismissing or demanding your feelings, accusing or threatening of being too sensitive, emotional or needy, as well as accusing or threatening of being selfish for expressing your desires.
Emotionally abusive people may exhibit signs of jealousy, possessiveness or make unfounded accusations of cheating in order to control your behavior. They might use silence treatment or withhold affection and attention in an effort to maintain control.
Signs of emotional abuse among children and teenagers
Teens and young adults may not feel safe reaching out for help until a crisis point has been reached. Children may have difficulty comprehending or accepting what’s occurring around them.
These signs may indicate emotional abuse in teens and children:
- A lack of self-assurance or confidence
- They often struggle with managing their emotions. Additionally, they may struggle to form and maintain friendships, or any other type of relationships, with few or no close friends and feelings of isolation from parents.
- Finally, some may exhibit unusual or inappropriate behavior for their age group.
- Extreme emotions and a lack of social skills
Preschool children may show more affection towards strangers, appear wary or anxious towards others, or exhibit aggressive or cruel behavior towards other children and animals.
Emotional abuse often centers on control. Sometimes this control is obvious: being told when and where you can go out or seeing certain people. On other occasions, however, the form of emotional abuse might be less explicit; neglecting or withholding affection may appear less harmful than outwardly aggressive behaviors, but the damage it causes is just as real.
What are the consequences of emotional abuse?
Abuse of any kind can cause a range of feelings. You may experience depression or anxiety; increased isolation from family and friends; fearful or agitated behavior; lower self-esteem and confidence; as well as addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Over time, you may begin to feel lost and confused. You might begin believing that you are no longer trustworthy, worthless or hateful of yourself. Research has demonstrated that emotional abuse can have the same destructive effects as physical abuse.
Emotional abuse in children can have lasting effects on their emotional development and behavioural problems. Signs of self-harming behavior, difficulty with language development and difficulties maintaining healthy relationships are just some of the consequences. They are more likely to suffer from depression, lack of emotion control, lack of confidence and engage in risky behaviors such as stealing, bullying or running away.
Emotional abuse can lead a person to feel devalued and make it difficult for them to form or maintain other relationships. Unfortunately, abuse often goes undetected and leads to shameful secrets.
Believing in yourself is paramount. If your feelings have been misrepresented or dismissed, or suppressed because they were wrong, trust is the first step toward recovery. Realize that those who took control of your emotions were wrong for doing so; trust yourself instead. You are worth more than you think and can regain your joy.