What is Emotional Abuse?

What is Emotional Abuse

No one doubts that physical abuse in a relationship is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with immediately in order for the safety of all individuals involved. What is less obvious and discussed is the unhealthy behavior of emotional abuse and the lasting effect it can have on the individuals involved in the relationship. One of the reasons that emotional abuse is so difficult to talk about and discuss is due to the vague nature of it. Physical abuse is obvious and observable while emotional abuse is based on the mental states of the individuals involved. While inherently different, physical and emotional abuse can do enormous amounts of damage to an individual so it is important to catch the signs of it early.

Emotional abuse is highly subjective and varies between relationships. What may be considered tolerated in one relationship may not be allowable in another. For example, you may be okay with your significant other joking about your personal appearance while in another couple that would lead to hurt feelings. Likewise, individuals within a relationship can have different emotional boundaries. You may not mind jokes about how you look, but your significant other may be very insecure and uncomfortable with such jokes.

There are several baselines that can be used to tell whether you are in an emotional abusive relationship or not. For example, you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship if you:

- Are afraid of leaving the relationship

- Are afraid of your partner leaving the relationship

- Are frequently put down emotionally by your partner without them realizing it

- Are often threatened or intimidated by your partner

- Feel as though you are insignificant as an individual

As said, the standards of emotional abuse vary from person to person, but these actions are generally considered obvious signs of abuse.

- Verbal attacks that involve yelling or insulting

- Refusing to acknowledge someone's value as an individual or the ideas they have

- Limiting your partner's freedom, either physically or emotionally

- Controlling someone's finances

- Public humiliation of an individual in front of either friends or strangers

Emotional abuse is a serious issue. If any of the symptoms apply to you, it is important to communicate your thoughts and feelings with your significant other. If the actions persist, it is necessary to seek external help in order to prevent any further damage to your mental health.

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