Emotional Abuse: Signs, Impact, and Measures| Stop Suffering in Silence
When we hear the word “violence” we often just think of the physical abuse as it is evident, noticeable, and recognized. But on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Calm Sage would like to bring your focus on another type of violence.
The violence that many men and women suffer in the silence; the violence that is least noticed; the violence that we rarely talk about; and violence that needs to be addressed now! The kind of violence that we are going to address today is Emotional Violence aka Mental Abuse.
According to the stats available, the majority of the violence cases reported are that of physical violence. While only a few cases are registered of emotional abuse, many people suffer from it in silence. But why? Here is a list of reasons why emotional abuse is least reported:
- An individual isn’t aware that he or she is exposed to emotional abuse.
- Emotional abuse is often disguised as care, love, and protection.
- It is often subtle, insidious, and overt.
- An individual couldn’t confide in anyone else.
- Emotional abuse makes the person feel trapped in the cycle and hence couldn’t find a way of coming out of it.
Due to these reasons, the vision of viewing a relationship as abusive gets blurry.
So, how does one identify whether or not they are in an emotionally abusive relationship? While it might take time to accept it, there are some signs that one can always look for. But before discussing the signs let us see what is Emotional Abuse.
Emotional abuse involves a person’s attempt to frighten, control, discredit, isolate, and silences the other person. This makes a person feel trapped on one end and feels too fearful to leave the relationship. It further leads to a repetitive cycle that a person falls in.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
By examining your relationship closely you can look for the signs and check on your relationship (it might surprise you, but there are 100+ signs of emotional abuse). Some of the major signs that are seen in an emotionally abusive relationship are:
1. They might address you with awful and disrespecting names like- “stupid” “failure” and more, blatantly. In some instances, they might call you in disguise.
2. No matter what wrong is happening in their life or yours, you are always blamed for it.
3. Irrespective of the fact that whether it’s just the two of you or you are surrounded by the public, they don’t think twice before picking a fight or making fun of you.
4. Even if you are doing amazingly well in your life and are being praised by others, they will be-little your accomplishments.
5. They won’t participate in activities that interest you. On the other hand, they demand you to accompany them in their favorite activities.
6. If they know about anything that annoys you, adds to your weakness list, or makes you vulnerable, they won’t miss a chance to bring it up.
7. They as well want to monitor you, from where you are to what you are wearing, they want to be informed beforehand. In some cases, they might even control your life financially, socially, and physically.
8. They are likely to distance you from your close support circle by telling you that they think wrong of you and support them.
9. When you decide to share your hurt feelings with them, they might just trivialize the whole situation and blame you for overreacting.
10. They never validate your feelings, emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. In fact, they never validate you as a person. They will end up finding one or the other thing wrong in you and further lecture you to improve.
Impact of Emotional Abuse on A Person
Emotional Abuse leaves a negative and deteriorating impact on the overall well-being of the person who experiences it. The signs discussed below should not only be used for the self-check but also to check on your loved ones around you.
- The person constantly apologizes.
- They might experience breakdowns even on small disagreements.
- No matter how well they are doing in their life or relationship they end up feeling that is not enough.
- They are hypersensitive to criticism.
- They have a decreased sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
- You might find them stop caring and loving themselves like they used to.
- They are constantly looking for reassurance.
Alarming Facts To Consider (Source: WHO)
- Across five regions, 82 percent of women parliamentarians reported having experienced some form of psychological violence while serving their terms.
- One in 10 women in the European Union report having experienced cyber-harassment since the age of 15.
- School-related gender-based violence is a major obstacle to universal schooling and the right to education for girls
- Less than 40 percent of the women who experience violence seek the help of any sort.
- Emerging data shows a five-time increase in calls to domestic violence helplines in many countries since the outbreak of COVID-19.
These facts are not only alarming but also concerning. Therefore, it becomes important to raise your voice and stand for yourself against any form of violence. Only then we can see these numbers dropping down.
5 Ways To Deal With Emotional Abuse
The impact of emotional abuse discussed above is behavioral but it does temper the mental health of individuals. Emotional abuse not only triggers negative emotions like grief and shame but also increases the risk of mental health issues in a person’s life.
Therefore, it becomes important to address it and work on it. The more you choose to suffer in silence the more you put yourself at risk of being emotionally abused. So, below we are discussing with you some effective ways that will help you break the cage and be the change.
1. Stop Blaming Yourself
After accepting and realising that you have been through emotional abuse you have two ways open for you. You either come out stronger than ever by working on yourself or weigh yourself down with self-blaming. Clearly, the former one is the healthy choice to make. So, don’t blame yourself for being in the relationship and letting them abuse you emotionally, feel empowered that you are finally stepping out of it. Remember there is nothing wrong with you and you are loved.
2. Put Yourself First
For quite a long time you have been keeping others above you, prioritizing their needs, and loving them. Well, now it is time for you to turn the side and direct this love and care to self. Do everything that makes you happy and just for a while don’t think of anyone but you.
This will empower you to stop worrying about pleasing others and taking care of their needs. Take at least 30 minutes out for yourself and devote them to your rest time, self-care, and eating healthy.
3. Create Boundaries
Be assertive and affirmative while communicating your needs to your partner. If you don’t want to go out with them, or want them to know about your whereabouts, just simply and firmly say that don’t yell at me, ask me where I am, or I don’t wish to accompany you today. Further tell them that if they try to evade your boundaries, what the consequences will be. Stand tall with your boundaries and don’t let manipulation bend you or the boundaries down.
4. Heal Your Body To Heal Your Mind
Our mind and body are closely related. When our body feels weak and tired, our feelings and thoughts also dip down. That is why it is important that you fill your body with positive and healthy energy so that it can reflect in the way you feel and express yourself. You can choose from different types of meditation, exercises, and activities to heal your body and further heal yourself from within.
5. Seek Therapy
It might seem overwhelming to take the measures discussed above. But if you find the right, certified, and experienced professional help then the process can be eased out. There is no better place to make it happen than therapy. With the help of a therapist you can make your boundaries strong, focus on self, and learn important coping strategies. Thus, seeking therapy for emotional abuse is recommended just like going to a physician to heal the wounds of physical violence is.
We hope this blog will help someone in some way on this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. If you know someone who is going through emotional abuse do share it with them and help them stop suffering in silence. Also, be patient with the one who has been through mental abuse as they are in the process of healing.
Thank you for reading!
P.S.: Work on you. For you.