Signs of Emotional Abuse

Signs of Emotional Abuse

emotional abuseIt is easy to get wrapped up in the ups and downs of emotionally abusive relationships. Victims too often miss the signs of emotional abuse, even though they are always there.

How to Stop Being Victimized

Most abusers have effectively learned how to bounce between attacking and retreating, keeping their victims off balance; undermining and lowering their self esteem

Because the abuser suffers from internal discomfort and conflicts they don’t know how to address, no amount of logic, submissiveness or kindness will be enough to compensate or satisfy their insecurities.

They are not seeking to understand or respect others because they do not fully understand or respect themselves. They hide from their own weaknesses by trying to make others weak. They can’t control their own emotions, so they look to control others. While they may have positive qualities, they hold toxic and unrealistic expectations which cannot be met. Those who try to meet these expectations will end up feeling like a failure because it is a game they cannot win.

For those who are abused, it is important to remember, the abuse received seldom has anything to do with them. The actions of the abuser are not their fault. One of the hardest things to realize is one has little to no influence on making deep or lasting changes in the abuser.

Even if the abusers wants to change, they seldom want to put any real effort towards changing. Victims of emotional abuse often think otherwise. They stick around hoping they can fix things and often end up blaming themselves for the state of the relationship.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Abusers will tend to

  • Tell lies and half-truths to avoid having to explain their actions
  • Accuse and blame to divert attention away from themselves
  • Refuse to accept the perspective of others while irrationally defending their own positions
  • Withhold information in areas affecting the lives of those they are abusing – it give them the control to manipulate future events. 
  • Avoid acknowledging the feelings of others, while at the same time bringing up how their emotions are being effected
  • Slight or take digs in a non-aggressive or joking manner, allowing the abuser to say he was just kidding while still being abusive
  • Change the subject to divert attention from themselves
  • Make others feel worthless in an attempt to lower their self-esteem and bring them down to the level of the abuser.
  • Threaten or hint of physical, mental or sexual abuse
  • Deny anything is wrong (not being responsible and lying to self)
  • Show inappropriate emotional out bursts (a form of distracting attention, confusing the abused or shifting blame)
  • Use controlling and domineering tactics to limit freedom or expression
  • Forget commitments and promises.
  • Deny success by placing unreasonable demands, unjustly singling out or constantly placing someone in the category of a loser.
  • Take advantage of vulnerabilities using shame, guilt or fear
  • Have actions and promises which are out of alignment. They say one thing and do another
  • Only be nice when all other options have been removed, when they feel they are trapped or cornered
  • Cut someone off so they are not allowed to speak. Suppressing self-expression.
  • Look to eliminate the choices of others, while gathering control for themselves
  • Ask inappropriate questions or make insinuating comments to evoke emotional responses
  • Humiliate others in public situations to show their superiority
  • Keep pushing buttons and activating places of sensitivity
  • Pretend to understand concerns and then disregarding them
  • Slander the name, reputation, associations or activities of those they can’t control

The Long Term Effects of Abuse and Stress Ruin Lives

The long term cumulative effects of abuse are often difficult to quantify. Many victims successfully suppress or try and forget unwanted and painful memories. For them the past becomes difficult to access or memory gaps exist. Others have feelings of detachment or isolation; their self-worth and self-esteem are lowered.

Unresolved feelings from past abuse can eventually contribute to emotional problems and disorders, including anxiety, panic attacks, stress, depression and OCD.

Stress has been credited for up to 75% of all hospital stays. Studies have shown those who have not come to terms with past abuse, especially abuse suffered in childhood, have a harder time dealing with stressful situations later in life. As life progresses, situations associated to past abuse become more difficult to handle.

Understanding emotional and mental abuse is one thing. Effectively releasing the pain and emotions.attached to abuse is something completely different.

Suffering is Not Mandatory

reachoutMany don’t know the signs of emotional abuses, so the blame themselves for the failed relationship. Others don’t know how to let go of painful memories and some don’t want to forget.

Replaying scenarios over and over will only have the mind reliving negative experiences again and again, only prolonging the suffering. Some carry these events for years, even their entire lives, because they didn’t know how to release these events.

Abusive actions never support the well being of anyone. They breed negative emotions, depleting the body’s energy, clouding clarity of thought, and hurt future relationships.

If you are in an abusive environment, the first step is to get out. That may be a scary thought and the options may seem limited. It is what the abuser wants you to believe, that you have no power. But you do and you must find it within yourself to take the first steps. Having a social worker or legal counsel to assist you in the beginning is usually a good idea.

Healing From Abusive Relationships and Experiences

Work with a professional who can help you sort things out, raise your self esteem and assist you to release old negative emotions. To let go you must take action and to make the needed changes necessary to move on with your life. Abuse tends to impede how we process thoughts and emotions. It very often contributes to PTSD, anxiety and OCD.

Since abuse can touch a person at the core of their mental and emotional abilities, it can be a sensitive subject to approach. At Designed Thinking, our goal is to help clients release the discomfort of old painful memories as easily and effortlessly as possible.

If past events still trigger anger, frustration, fear, hurt, rejection, shame, guilt, or other negative emotions;  they have a hold on you. If you are constantly feeling these emotions, they have a hold on you. You can’t begin living life in a new way if any part of you holds on to the old ways. Every deserves the opportunity to allow themselves to change.

Before You Begin Recovery

change 2First recognize the signs of emotional abuse. The next step is to get out of the abusive relationship. This is common sense. It’s hard to let go of traumatic memories, raise self confidence and self esteem and move forward with life again if someone is still holding you down. While it is not always easy to do, you have to decide it’s time to move on, to put your needs front and center.

Next identify the emotions you experience from the abuse. Is it guilt, shame, hurt, rejection, sadness, or anger. Take inventory and get in touch with the emotions your nervous system has been signalling you with.

Then get some help. It can be difficult to sort these things out on your own. Find someone who can help you process and work though the discomforts of your situation. Someone who will also help you obtain skills, so in the future you will not find yourself in the same situation again.

Nothing changes unless you give yourself a chance to change. Raise your awareness by recognizing the signs of emotional abuse. Decide it’s time to be different and support yourself, your mental and emotional needs in a meaningful and willful manner.

Remember, long term emotional abuse can create all sorts of uncertainty, self doubt and self esteem issues, so give yourself some time heal. For more information on specific negative emotional states, click on the links below or call. Designed Thinking at 866-718-9995.

Grief and Sadness

Guilt and Shame

Hurt and Rejection

Anger and Frustration

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