Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse in Marriage

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Relationships are not all chocolates, roses, and holding hands. There’s not always living happily ever after or a secret bond between two people making everything magically easy.

Relationships and love are not effortless nor granted. It’s extremely hard work to get to know each other, learning to let go and compromise, and accept each other’s boundaries.

But how can you be sure that the time to let it go completely has come? Seeking the advice from Survive Divorce, we’ve prepared this article on emotional abuse — a neglected but terribly common and dangerous problem among many married couples.

What Is Emotional Abuse?

In emotional abuse, there is a victim and an abuser. It can either be the abuser’s unaware behaviour and an action on purpose. Whichever reason it is, the effects of emotional abuse on the victim are just as harmful. Emotional abuse is an advanced and really dreadful form of manipulation.

Generally speaking, the abuser wants or feels the need of:

  • Controlling the other person
  • Shaming and belittling the victim’s interests, needs, and achievements
  • Humiliating both in private and in public
  • Criticising and neglecting the victim’s behaviour, opinion, clothing, etc. for no apparent reason
  • Isolating the other person from their friends, family, new acquaintances, etc.
  • Damaging jealousy
  • Denying the truth
  • Blaming the victim and accusing them of abuse, abandonment, unhappiness, etc.
  • Making hurtful, unnecessary comments and jokes about the significant other

How Does Emotional Abuse Make You Feel?

Being a victim of emotional abuse deprives you of all your boundaries. You start feeling helpless and deeply lonely. Your self-esteem is sinking drastically, you cut off your friends and are afraid or feel guilty when you’re trying to socialise at all.

You’re trapped and you’re questioning your own sanity. Sometimes, you feel like an abuser yourself. You’re probably thinking you’re not good enough to your spouse and start obsessively prioritising their needs over yours.

You start seeing yourself the way your beloved spouse (and your abuser at the same time) is treating you — useless, problematic, unfaithful, stupid…

You think it’s the best you can deserve.

What Are the Consequences of Being the Victim?

The consequences of such severe mental abuse are horribly dangerous. If the abused person won’t recognise themselves as a victim, there’s a high risk of getting depression, paranoia, personality disorders, eating disorders, developing anxiety, phobias, and serious trust issues. That all eventually can even lead to a suicide attempt.

Such alienated and frightened people with extremely low self-esteem rarely would look for help by themselves. Emotional abuse victims usually stay imprisoned in toxic relationships trying to prove to their partners that they’re worth their attention and love.

If you don’t notice the problem at the right time, you’ll probably fall into a serious codependency — a pathological spiral of fear, seeming love, and trying to please the abuser as much you can.

Why Does the Abuser Do That?

First of all, it’s important to know that either is the abuse an unaware or intentional action, there’s no excuse for it. Manipulation causes incredible pain and severe mental health issues in the victims. Once you acknowledge you’re being a victim of emotional abuse, don’t neglect that and don’t try to justify your abuser’s actions!

A person who uses emotional manipulation probably used to be a victim of mental or physical abuse themselves. Another reason can be previous problematic relationships, extreme self-esteem issues, or mental illnesses and disorders.

If you can tell the abuser is doing it on purpose, don’t hesitate to cut the person off and rescue yourself. If the abuser was not aware of their harmful actions and once you talk to each other about the issue is just as terrified as you, you can consider going to both couples and individual therapy.

You Think You’re a Victim of Emotional Abuse (or the Abuser) — What’s Next?

It’s wonderful news if you’re able to notice your own pain and neglected needs. Don’t worry about what other people or your spouse think of you. Focus on what’s right here, right now, and get in contact just with yourself.

Now, when you’re aware that something might be wrong about how your relationship works visit your doctor, go to a psychologist or psychiatrist, call a helpline… get any kind of help you can think of at the moment.

Making the first step towards your wellbeing is the most difficult one. Whatever the first step is exactly, it’ll take you onto the right way. You decided to ask for help — use it well and make your life better.

You deserve a peaceful life full of love and acceptance!

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