Emotional abuse is not illegal, but it can have severe, lasting effects on your love and life. And sometimes, the line between abuse and a bad romance can be thin, masquerading as intense lover's quarrels, or typical trials and tribulations. But these four emotionally abusive behaviors have no place in relationships:
1. Needle point
Your beau may call himself particular, picky or observant, but beware of a partner who is constantly needling and criticizing you. He may try to defend his overly critical and hovering nature as helpful -he's keeping you focused and steering you in a better direction, right? The problem is, he's the only one who is bothered by just about everything you do.
He may make constant comments about your clothing, hair, makeup or body to try to get you to present a certain image. He may grumble about what and how much you eat and how often you exercise. These verbal intrusions are likely outwardly condescending and judgmental, but some skilled criticizers can present a completely innocent and neutral tone, making your negative reception seem like an emotional overreaction.
If you do express dismay at your man's treatment or speech, take note of how he responds to your distress. Emotionally abusive men will often refuse to acknowledge any wrongdoing and focus the attention on your negative feelings. Others will tell you or imply that your feelings are unimportant, or worse, irrational. You may have heard the infamous line, "You shouldn't feel that way." But being told you don't have a right or reason to feel how you do is just as unfair and damaging.
To confirm your guy is the one with the emotional issue and not you, take stock of how the other people in your life treat you. If you feel persecuted and unloved in every relationship, including friends and family, you may be dealing with some emotional or psychological issues. If your partner is the only one who treats you badly then tells you it's your own fault, you can rest assured you've identified the real problem.
3. High maintenance
An emotional abuser will accuse you of being high maintenance when you expect better treatment (even if that treatment is healthy and normal). Whether you casually mention your hurt feelings or outright demand more respect, you'll be branded as needy, overly sensitive or unreasonable. Asking for better behavior or to be treated and spoken to with empathy, consideration and respect is an affront to someone who is emotionally abusive.
They will act exhausted, offended or laugh off the remarks when confronted with their own shortcomings. Some men genuinely don't know where they are emotionally deficient, while others build their lives around stepping on the esteem of others to feel more powerful. Offering the opportunity to see his errors, apologize and change will tell you who you're dealing with.
4. Prisoner of love
Emotional abuse involves breaking down your defenses with his emotional arsenal. He needs you to be tough enough to stick around but weak enough to take what he dishes out. He will convince you being with him is your only option.
He may say any of the following to keep you under his thumb:
You deserve him
You don't deserve better
You can't or won't do better than him
Someone better than him will never want you
He treats you too well already
He's the only person for you
He's the only person who will ever love you or be there for you
Domestic abuse comes in many flavors. And though it may not become physical, this kind of mistreatment can leave lasting scars on your psyche. If you doubt, question or second guess yourself and your ability to be loved and respected, you are in a troubling situation. Be resilient enough to see through the lies and find the truth: You're worth so much more and you can do so much better.
If you're looking for help for yourself or others, don't hestitate to call the domestic abuse hotline: 1−800−799−7233.