Emotional abuse: it’s insidious how it creeps into your life. It’s one of those things that, at first glance, feels innocuous.
In the beginning it isn’t uncommon for a victim to innocently ignore the infrequent snide comments and put downs. This is because they occur sporadically and are often “peppered” with random acts of kindness — leaving the victim feeling confused and unsure. Forgiveness and oversights are common.
“Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence or other repercussions if you don’t do what they want.”
It simply (or not so simply) “chips away” at how we think, value and esteem ourselves. However, over time the road narrows between an abuser’s acts of kindness and emotional and verbal abuse.
For those who have been there, you understand; moving from victim to survivor you found yourself wondering, “How did that happen?” and “How did I get here?” That’s how insidious it is. But let me make it clear: you have done nothing wrong. Abusers are just that good.
Here are 12 common signs of emotional abuse (though not exhaustive).
- They put you down. In private, but often in public. This is their attempt to shame you. Projecting their feelings of low self-worth on to you.
- They embarrass you in public.
- They blame you for their abusive and unhealthy behaviors. Using the “if, then” trick. If you don’t do “this” then I won’t do “that.”
- They threaten to harm you or your family often.