PHYSICAL ABUSE – Leaves scars, a trail of proof that cannot be denied.
VERBAL ABUSE – Can be heard not only by the abused but others as well; it can also be recorded with a phone, revealed in texts and/or emails – it too leaves a trail.
EMOTIONAL ABUSE – is a silent killer.
An emotional predator may speak in a calm tone, without yelling or screaming or even name calling. They may at times speak kind words to you. In front of others they appear supportive, the perfect spouse that others always wished for yet only thought existed in movies. Their covert abuse is administers in small doses, daily, in the most cunning ways over a long period of time. The impact in the victims is gradual as opposed to fist-to-the-face immediate. So gradual that when the victim seems “crazy” to those around him/her….no one even remembers the person that victim was before the abuse began – not even the victim.
Now realistically, it’s important to recognize that we have all hurt others, especially those we love. No one can claim to never have hurt their partner emotionally – in fact an inability to recognize the pains you inflicted on others is a red flag.
However there’s a difference between hurting unintentionally, or regretfully our loved one and cunningly emotionally abusing them. Keep in mind that emotional abuse is also known as psychological or mental abuse.
Where is the line drawn?
When a crime has been committed, part of the prosecutions job is prove intent, motive. Emotional abuse has a motive: It’s aim is to control, belittle, shame, isolate and humiliate others into subservience. It happens little by little, slowly eroding a persons self confidence, self esteem, self concept and own ideas dissipate and become nothing but a rumor.
Sometimes emotional abusers hide their abuse behind the lie that they are “teaching” you to be better or “guiding” you to where you need to go. This allows the abuse to remain hidden as it grows and poisons a person from the inside out.
It’s important to remember that emotional abuse is not simply put downs or criticisms. In fact emotional abuse is not simply ONE thing, but rather a cluster of many different actions combined. I’ve included a list of the many faces or symptoms of emotional abuse – remember that if you know someone or you yourself exhibit one or two of the following behaviors, this does not necessarily indicate emotional abuse. However the more symptoms you see, the more behaviors you can identify with and recognize in your daily life….the more likely emotional abuse may be present.
*They may control expenses – keeping you with next to nothing, having to ask and account for every penny you spend yet they themselves may have accounts you are not allowed to have access to and their spending can never be questioned. This control of the expenses can occur whether or not they are the financial provider or YOU are the financial provider.
* They treat you like a child or as if you are inferior to them.
* They rub your face in your mistakes and faults constantly, bringing up over and over things that happened years ago. They may even rub your face in the mistakes your parents, family and/or friends have made as if somehow you too should be punished for their errors. Their mistakes are untouchable, you are not allowed to mention them, bring them up or point them out.
* They may make you feel as if they are always right and you are always wrong ALL THE TIME. The words I’m sorry will only ever be uttered by you. And if you try to point out a mistake they made, or even if they hurt you somehow – they will react with anger, so much anger that little by little you begin to not point out their mistakes, you begin to think the way you are living is “normal” and they convince you that any time you are upset, it has nothing to do with their treatment of you but somehow it is always your fault you are upset.
* They may act angry for no apparent reason, giving you constant disapproving glances and/ or condescending looks and comments. If you ask them what’s wrong they respond with anger that you are even thinking their is something wrong with them. You begin to walk on eggshells analyzing every move you make, trying to discern what causes them to act so disapprovingly.
* They may control the amount of time you spend with your family and friends, little by little you become isolated and only are able to spend time with people they “approve of”. These ‘people’ are often people that are fooled by the abuser, thinking he/she is amazing and the abused is the one with issues..
* They refuse to take responsibility for their actions, they constantly deflect all the blame on you.
* They have no regard for nor interest in the way you feel. If you have a disagreement that leaves you crying and sad, they will ignore your pain AS IF IT DOESN’T EXIST.
* They use the “silent treatment” to punish you. Days, weeks and months can go by without them speaking to you – this is emotional torture, being treated as if you were dead, non existent.
* They will become deliberately emotionally distant from you for long periods of time, yet they will demand you give them 100% whenever they command it.
* They will give attention to others in public, so much attention that others view them as amazing, never noticing that they never speak to you in the same manner they speak to them, never noticing the emotional neglect they give you while pouring it out for others.
* They will call you names, belittle you and label you as a bad person.
* They will belittle your success and triumph. If there is something you excel at they will criticize it until you no longer even have the desire to engage in your passions.
* They will mock you if you are upset, they will impersonate you when you are expressing your feelings. They will make you feel as if your feelings are somehow wrong and bad.
* They may accuse you of things you never did. Better yet they will accuse you of the things THEY do (projection). The more you try to prove to them that they are the ones doing those things the more they spin you around and around in an endless debate that terminates because you are simply too exhausted and confused to continue.
* You may feel intimidated or scared when voicing your opinion because the NEVER agree with you and make it a point to go against anything you say or suggest.
* They may degrade or subtly humiliate you in front of other people and claim they were “joking” not caring that the joke is at your own expense.
If you are in a relationship with an emotional predator, please take steps to protect yourself.