Exploring Emotionally Abusive Relationships:

Exploring Emotionally Abusive Relationships:

Characteristics of an emotionally abusive relationship include:

• Using money as a means of control

• Threatening to walk out or abandon you

• Creating fear through looks, words, threats and actions

• Destroying things (and often things you value) – either in a cold and heatless way, or in an angry outburst or fit of rage

• Using blaming, shaming, minimizing and denial to control you

• Verbally attacking and demeaning you (includes name calling, shouting at you, criticising and putting you down – especially in public)

• Attacking and putting you down in private, and acting loving and charming in public

• Minimising the abuse; acting as if you’re over-reacting and it’s “no big deal”

• Deliberately withholding approval, affirmation, affection and as a means of punishment or control The effects of living with emotional abuse include:

• A fear of being natural and spontaneous

• A loss of enthusiasm or their old joie de vive

• Insecurity related to how they coming across to others

• An inner belief that they are deeply flawed

• A loss of self-confidence and self esteem

• Growing self-doubt (so they’re afraid to make even the smallest decision, or to take on even the simplest of tasks)

• Never trusting their own judgments (as they believe that they misunderstand or misread everything)

• Having a constant critic in their head

• Feeling they should be happier and more upbeat than they are (in order to meet the approval of others)

• Feeling they’re too sensitive, and ought to “toughen up”

• Fearing they’re going crazy, or losing their mind

• A tendency to live in the future (“Everything will be OK when/after ….”)

• A desire to break free, escape or run away

• A distrust and fear of entering into any close relationships again.

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