It seems that many people who are involved in an emotionally abusive relationship have little idea that they are being manipulated or are simply in denial.
There are a number of signs you’re in a toxic relationship and if any of these warning flags are raised, it may well signal a turning point that it is time to jump off the relationship roller coaster and make a fresh start.
The major issue of emotional abuse is that where physical scars and bruises are blindingly obvious that you have been subjected to domestic abuse when they are put into context, but with emotional abuse the hurt is inside.
The scars of emotional abuse are virtually invisible to the naked eye, other than the look of distress that your face may be displaying. The distressing problem for anyone subjected to this type of abuse is that the psychological damage can last long after any physical scars have subsequently healed.
Recognizing emotional abuse
Emotional abuse is seen by psychologists and other experts who have to deal with the aftermath, as a particularly subtle form of manipulation and control which has the potential to go undetected and unrecognized, even by the suffer, for some considerable period of time.
It is never going to be easy to face up to the fact that you may be a victim of emotional abuse and it is definitely not uncommon for a victim to question their own sanity and wonder whether there is some other reason why they might be suffering from symptoms like anxiety, depression and fear.
Some abusers can be extremely manipulative in this respect and may attempt to reinforce the victim’s view that they are the problem rather than the unacceptable emotional abuse they are actually suffering in the relationship.
Emotional abuse takes on many forms and even constant teasing, which is something a lot of us may do in moderation and good spirit, can be a tactic used by an abuser to wear down their victim.
If you are told when to go to bed, when you can eat and who you are allowed to make contact with, these are all prime examples of a controlling relationship and emotional abuse.
Despite these warning signs being obvious to many of us who are fortunate enough to not be subjected to this sort of behavior in their relationship, the daily chipping away at your confidence and feelings of self-worth can potentially make you feel that leaving is virtually impossible as you may not be able to cope on your own.
Different gender- same damage
Emotional abuse is not gender-specific of course and whilst many women suffer at the hands of their male partner, there are also plenty of examples of women trying to control their man with some form of emotional abuse.
Classic traits for a man emotionally abusing a woman would be attempts to manipulate her fear of harm, deprivation and isolation and he may also threaten physical harm if she attempts to leave him.
A manipulative woman may attempt to emotionally abuse and control her male partner by mocking their ability to provide for the family, and question his manhood and ability to be a good protector or lover.
Taking the positive step to move on and end an emotionally abusive relationship is never going to something that is easy to do and you may well feel the need to get some professional help and guidance to see you through the painful process.
Ending a relationship, even an abusive one, tends to induce feelings similar to grief when you lose a loved one.
Mourning the loss of a relationship is perfectly natural and by allowing yourself to grieve, you will be starting the healing process that will enable you to move on and start a happier chapter in your life.
Surround yourself with support
We all need our family and friends for support at times in our lives and moving on from an abusive relationship is definitely one of those moments.
Try to surround yourself with family and friends who can give you the emotional support and words of encouragement that you need to get over what you has suffered to a certain extent, and at least feel positive about the new direction your life is taking.
Emotional abuse is not acceptable in any form and when you realize that this is what is happening to you, it is time to take positive steps to put an end to it and get help doing so if you need it.
Mike Amos uses his training in relationship counseling to also promote the importance of self-awareness. He likes to share his insights online and contributes regularly for several consumer websites.