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Subtle signs of emotional abuse

Things that interfere with sex in long term relationshipsWhen you date an abusive personality, you may buy into their charm, braggadocio, and phony façade while downplaying their inconsiderate and questionable behavior.

You might mistrust your instincts that your partner is lying to you, demeaning and controlling you. Worse yet, you may think you are overreacting and crazy as they claim you are.
You can be in an emotionally abusive relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, male or female friend, family member, boss or co-worker. Abusive people are everywhere and they are master game players.
An abuser’s goal is to affect and control the emotions, objective reasoning, and the behavior of his or her victim. Covert abuse is disguised by actions that appear normal, but it is clearly insidious.
The abuser methodically chips away at your confidence, perception, and self-worth with his subtle hints, unnecessary lying, blaming, accusing, and denial.
If you are experiencing any of the following things, you are in an emotionally abusive relationship:The abuser fosters an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, instability, and unpredictability. They steadily push you to the edge with their deception, sarcasm, and battering until you erupt in anger and then you become the “bad guy” giving them the ammunition they need to justify their hurtful actions.

Accusing and blaming
They shift the responsibility and the emphasis onto you for the problems in your relationship. They say things, like: “It’s your fault.” What’s wrong with you?” “You didn’t remind me.” “Nothing I do is ever enough.”

Punishment by withholding
They refuse to listen, ignore your questions, withhold eye contact and give you the “silent treatment.” They are punishing you. They love when they hurt you. They may refuse to give you information about where they are going, when they are coming back, about financial resources and bill payments. They also withhold approval, appreciation, affection, information, thoughts and feelings just to diminish and control you.

Blocking and diverting
They steer the conversation by refusing to discuss an issue or may inappropriately interrupt the conversation. They twist your words, watch TV, or walk out of the room while you are talking. They criticize you in a way that causes you to defend yourself and lose sight of the original conversation.
They disapprove and oppose your thoughts, perceptions or your experience of life itself. No matter what you say, they use contradicting arguments to frustrate you and wear you down.

They deny your experience of their abuse. They tell you that you are hypersensitive or that you are imagining things or that you can never be happy. They disfigure the truth, causing you to mistrust your perception and the reality of their abuse.

Disparaging humour
Verbal abuse is often disguised as jokes. The abuser teases, ridicules, and humiliates you with sarcastic remarks about your appearance, personality, abilities, and values. They make fun of you in front of your friends and family because they know you will avoid a public confrontation. If you tell them to stop, they tell you that you are too sensitive or you can’t take a joke.

General crazy-making
They use a combination of distortion, blaming, forgetting, stonewalling, and denial to confuse, frustrate, and drive you to the brink of insanity. They deny the truth and twist your words, and continuously put you on the defense. They want you to second guess yourself, doubt your reality and your ability to reason.

Judging and criticizing
An abusive partner harshly and unfairly criticizes you and then passes it off as constructive criticism. If you object, they tell you that they are only trying to help in an effort to make you feel unreasonable and guilty. They are good at this.

They break their promises and fail to follow through on agreements. They minimize your efforts, interests, hobbies, achievements, and concerns. They trivialize your thoughts and suggestions. If you suggest a restaurant or a vacation destination, they undermine your suggestions and make it look as if you are not sensible.

They accidently forget the things that are important to you. They forget your birthday, they forget to pick up the dry cleaning, to make a household repair or buy tickets to the movies. By doing this, they are saying, “I’m in control of your time and reality.”
Abusive behavior is not always verbal. Your partner may use body language or gestures to control and diminish you.
Distorting what you say, provoking guilt, or playing victim is another way to abuse you. Yelling, swearing to shut you down and starting a sentence with ‘forget it’ are ways you are being emotionally abused.

Credit: Sunnewsonline

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