Emotional abuse is a type of abuse that can be just as damaging as physical abuse, if not more so. It can be hard to recognize emotional abuse because it doesn’t leave any physical marks, but make no mistake: emotional abuse can be just as harmful as physical abuse, if not more so.
If you’re in a relationship where you feel like you’re constantly being put down, made to feel worthless, or otherwise manipulated or controlled, you may be a victim of emotional abuse. Here’s what you need to know about emotional abuse and how to get help.
What is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional abuse is defined as any kind of behavior that is designed to control, intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, or isolate another person. It can include anything from verbal put-downs and name-calling to more subtle forms of manipulation such as withholding affection or giving the “silent treatment.”
Emotional abusers often try to control their victims by playing on their fears or insecurities. They may try to make their victims feel like they’re not good enough or that they would be nothing without the abuser. In some cases, emotional abusers may also try to control their victims financially or attempt to isolate them from their friends and family.
Signs You May Be a Victim of Emotional Abuse
If you’re not sure whether you’re being emotionally abused, here are some signs to look for:
- You’re always walking on eggshells around your partner, fearful of saying or doing something that will set them off.
- You feel like you can never do anything right in your partner’s eyes.
- Your partner regularly puts you down, calls you names, or makes derogatory remarks about your appearance or intelligence.
- Your partner tries to control what you do, who you see, and where you go.
- Your partner threatens violence against you or your family members (including pets).
- Your partner withholds affection from you as a way of punishment or control.
- Your partner controls all the finances in the relationship and doesn’t allow you any say in how money is spent.
- Your partner has isolated you from your friends and family members.
- You feel like there’s no way out of the relationship.
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, it’s important to seek help right away. Emotional abuse can have serious consequences on your mental and physical health; it can lead to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep problems, eating disorders, and more. If you’re in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.