Oftentimes, people who are struggling feel as if they are in a loop. Unable to move forward, unable to escape from the negative thoughts, and most importantly, unable to heal from the trauma that never seemed to go away. While it is easy for regular and unknowing people to say that you have a choice, not everyone is equipped with knowledge about mental health, albeit all existing psychology workshops and online resources the Internet has. Not everyone is aware of psychological red flags, and for those suffering from mistreatment and abuse, things get confusing, boundaries blur, and everything seems hopeless.
It is what happens when there is abuse present in the relationships they have. There are different kinds of relationships: familial, romantic, platonic, and there are friendships too. All of these could harbor an abusive party and later on cause you harm. That is the thing about abuse, it does not come from strange places or people, but it comes from those you value and love.
If you have clicked on this article, then that is one reason you should read on, as we will shed light on emotional abuse and how you could overcome it.
What is emotional abuse?
It is when a person gains control over you by using negative emotions and feeding on them to manipulate you. An emotionally abusive relationship tends to have a pattern of this behavior that ultimately drowns a person to the depths of depression and anxiety.
Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse could be hard to recognize and tricky to admit. One form of emotional abuse is gaslighting, which could be subtle enough to make you turn against your own better judgment. This abuse eats away at your self-esteem, and you would slowly begin to lose your own identity.
See, controlling and manipulating the victim is the main point of emotional abuse. It could be done by gaslighting, blackmailing, and even silencing.
It would be too late when the victim would realize it for themselves. There would be that consistent feeling of being trapped. People in this unfortunate situation are often too broken to work the relationship out and are also too afraid to walk away. Hence, being stuck in a cycle, or rather in a very unhealthy loop.
Three Red Flags of Emotional Abuse
1. You have lost your sense of identity
It may begin with simple and mundane things such as expecting you to spend time together, then canceling plans you made with your friends, and then manipulating you to put aside your aspirations and put theirs first. If the abuser wants their victims to act a certain way they want, the abuser finds a way to make it happen. The victims then fall short in planting their feet to stand their ground. It repeatedly happens until a cycle is born—until the victim is nothing but a husk looking back to the life they used to have.
2. You are blamed for the pain you are feeling
In a psychological sense, this is called emotional invalidation. It is where the abuser blatantly refuses to be accountable for the damage they have caused the victim and instead projects everything. Common phrases that signify emotional invalidation are: “You’re being crazy!” and “You’re too sensitive!” Emotional invalidation is when your feelings are silenced, denied, and minimized, creating a rabbit hole that traumatizes victims for life.
3. You receive threats and blackmail when you try to walk away
The last red flag is the most crystal clear. When all else fails, the abuser tends to resort to extremities to regain their sense of control over the victim. It could be by using blackmail against you, whether in the form of your kids, your assets, or even private information. Anything you hold dear may be used against you, and if this is not enough, even your conscience could be used too.
Abusers also tend to threaten their selves to sway their victims back into their grasps. They make it seem as if it is a selfless thing to do, a romantic gesture. However, nothing about this is healthy. Should anyone in your life tells you this, pack your bags and do not look back.
It’s okay to feel scared, but it’s not okay to keep hoping that any of the following red flags would turn green for you. It does not work that way. If you do not walk away now, you will only suffer more. It is time you break the cycle yourself and if you’re scared, then do it scared. What matters is you taking back your own life.