Being Able To Spot Emotional Abuse And Why It’s Important To Confront It
Physical abuse is easy to spot. It leaves us with bruises, cuts, or broken bones. You know if someone is abusing you physically. You come under attack. You face punches, kicks, headbutts, slaps, scratches, hair pulling or physical restraint.
At school we were taught the old chant: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”. But names can hurt too. Sometimes with a longer lasting effect than a physical attack. What’s worse? It can often go unpunished or ignored. We teach our children to “toughen up”. We discourage emotional outbursts. Emotional abuse is swept under the carpet. So how do you know if you’re being emotionally abused and why is it so important for you to tackle it?
Am I Being Emotionally Abused?
Emotional abuse occurs in all sorts of relationships, but has a more severe effect when it’s carried out by an individual who we care for or love – people who are supposed to care and love us in return. More common relationships in which individuals are emotionally abused are child-parent relationships, friendships and romantic relationships. Emotional abuse is insidious and subversive. It can go on under other people’s noses without anybody noticing. Key things to watch out for include:
- Verbal Offense
- The Silent Treatment
If someone is submitting you to any of these on a regular basis, chances are, you’re being emotionally abused.
Why Do People Emotionally Abuse Others?
Emotional abuse is used when one individual wants to control and subjugate another. Quite often these individuals have issues to do with control. They want to be in control at all times and the easiest way to do this is to manipulate someone until they have near enough no autonomy left or are too scared or exhausted to attempt to stand up to the bullying figure.
Often, individuals who abuse others emotionally have been emotionally abused themselves. They haven’t formed positive and healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the emotional abuse that they have experienced. Instead, they attempt to make themselves feel bigger and more confident by reversing their situation and taking out their anger on others.
Why Is It Important To Tackle Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone at any time. It is massively important that the abusers are confronted and condemned for their behaviour and actions. Emotional abuse doesn’t always lead to physical abuse, but physical abuse is often preceded by or accompanied by emotional abuse. It is important to tackle any form of abuse and prevent one form leading into another.
Victims of emotional abuse often don’t see themselves as victims. They don’t see the mistreatment as abusive. They will often consider themselves as overly sensitive. They will develop coping mechanisms to deal with the emotional trauma and stress at the time. However, even once the abuse stops, there will generally be long-lasting effects. Victims of emotional abuse will regularly be diagnosed with anxiety, depression and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Sometimes, if the abuse is bad enough, it will drive some sufferers to commit suicide.