The signs of emotional abuse leave no visible bumps and bruises, but it can feel just as painful as physical abuse. Emotional abuse is usually subtle and hides in jokes, justifications, and manipulations. The abuser tries to convince the victim that they deserve every put-down, humiliating comment, and cutting criticism. As a result, the victim’s self-worth shrinks and they begin to believe the abuse is acceptable.
Understand the Signs of Emotional Abuse
The abuser does not take responsibility for their actions. They blame other people and especially the victim for everything wrong in their lives. They use the relationship as an excuse for not progressing— admitting their shortcomings might shatter their fragile self-image.
2. Cruel Jokes
Yelling is not the only form of verbal abuse. Abusers often disguise hurtful comments in caustic jokes that completely lack humor. Cruel jokes allow the abuser to criticize without taking responsibility for the judgement. This form of abuse is insidious and hurts the victim long after the joke is over.
3. Relationship Control
Abusers discourage victims from spending time with people outside the relationship. Isolation from the outside world may leave victims doubtful that positive relationships are even possible. Many people in abusive relationships tend to lose friends that provide the support system they need.
An abuser’s jealousy stems from their deep-seated insecurities. They want the victim to remain small and in their control; they don’t want the victim to grow and meet new people. The abuse may be especially jealous of the victim’s aspirations and goals, because they may secretly believe they don’t measure up.
5. Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Emotional abusers often use alcohol and drugs to cope with life and escape their problems. By drinking and using drugs they only slip further into self-denial and delusion. They act out more, saying hurtful things or acting unaware during a confrontation. They take even less responsibility for their actions, often blaming alcohol or drugs for their unacceptable behavior.
6. Guilt and Love
The manipulative abuser rules with guilt and love. They will tell the victim that they need them and will do anything for them. The truth is, they may only do anything to make the victim stay. If the victim tries to leave, they might even threaten to kill themselves. They don’t want to die; they want to guilt victim back into the destructive relationship.
7. Confusing Abuse with Passion
An emotionally abusive relationship is often confused with a passionate relationship. Often the victim has never felt so loved, and at the same time so overwhelmed with helplessness and betrayal. The toxic relationship dominates every aspect of the victim’s life, making the victim feel lost without it. The victim will make almost any excuse to stay, but no amount of love and passion can sustain the destructive relationship.
Ending the Emotional Abuse
The only way to truly end the emotional abuse is to recognize the signs of emotional abuse and end the relationship. For many, the relationship will become unbearable. No matter how deep the victim’s denial or how small the victim’s self-worth may become, they will no longer be able to justify the relationship to themselves. Ultimately, they will have to make the final decision to leave or live with the abuse.
At Morningside Recovery, we offer a number of drug addiction treatment and mental health rehab programs to help people who suffer from or propagate abuse. Since many people in an abuse relationship may turn to alcohol or substances to cope, we also offer programs to help people understand the roots of their substance abuse problems. Some of these programs include:
- Alcohol addiction treatment
- Prescription drug addiction treatment
- Anxiety treatment
- Bipolar disorder treatment
- Depression treatment
To learn more about our programs, call us today at 855-631-2135. We’ll help you get on track to living a happier, healthier, and safer life.