How to Know if You’re in an Emotionally Abusive RelationshipEmotional Abuse is difficult to see but imperative to spot.
We all know what physical abuse looks like; we can see the bruises and broken bones. Emotional abuse isn’t as easy to see.
Those who are in an emotionally abusive relationship tend to hide it well because they’ve been trained to think that everyone will think they’re crazy.
First, let’s be clear about what it’s not. It’s not having a single fight with your partner and saying things you’ll probably regret later. It’s not your partner forgetting a dinner date or your birthday. While these things may cause some turmoil, they don’t add up to emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse is more like a feeling of dread or anxiousness every day knowing that you have to prepare yourself for battle and be able to defend yourself.
It’s feeling completely drained because you’re constantly walking on eggshells trying to keep your partner happy so they don’t lash out at you.
It’s a feeling of fear or nervousness anytime you have to talk to your partner and it’s a feeling you are not able to escape; it’s always with you.
Here are some signs to look for:
Lack of Support
Does your partner know about all of your dreams and goals and support your efforts? Or do you keep your dreams hidden for fear that your partner will put you down or make you feel dumb for having them?
In a healthy relationship, partners support each other’s dreams and they are happy for each other. A partner wants to watch you grow and be successful. They are a team player.
If everyone else in your life is complimenting the way you look, your work, your ideas, and your partner is not, there’s a problem.
Emotionally abusive people look for ways to put you down and keep you down; they want to “keep you in your place” so they definitely don’t want you to feel good about yourself. This is a control tactic. It minimizes your self-esteem and eventually cripples you to the point of dependency.
While ups and downs in life, and in relationships, are normal, a calm always seems to follow.
Not so in emotionally abusive relationships because abusers thrive on chaos and like to keep the relationship in constant turmoil by picking fights and refusing to get along. You are not able to sustain a fight or flight stamina for long before both your mind and your body will begin to break down.
Emotional abusers love to find a way to blame someone else for everything bad that happens and never take responsibility for their own mistakes. It is a victim mentality which is clearly not healthy. If you didn’t call when you did, she wouldn’t have burnt her hand moving a pot on the stove. If only you hadn’t been so busy with your own errands, you could have picked up his dry cleaning and he’d have that suit he wants to wear to his meeting. Abusers also like to tuck away little infractions to bring them back up and throw them in your face whenever the opportunity arises; never letting go of anything.
Lack of Empathy
Emotional abusers lack, well, emotion towards anyone else. They tend to be indifferent about things most people would feel emotional about like a friend’s illness, losing a big promotion at work, or having to put your sick dog down.
If you’re focus is anywhere except on them, they don’t really care. However, they do expect you to take an interest and feel empathy for any trying times they may be having.
Can you relate?
It may be time to seek some help. If your relationship is anything except supporting, loving, and balanced, know that you are not alone and help is available. I and the horses would love to support you with becoming grounded and centered again.