Emotional abuse doesn’t leave physical bruises or scars, but it sure leaves deep and painful wounds.
Anyone that is a victim of chronic emotional abuse knows it injures a person’s mental health, confidence and self-esteem. And much like physical abuse, the abuser wants power and control and often seeks to intimidate, demean and degrade their victim.
Emotional abuse is not thought to be as serious as physical violence. Therefore, emotional abuse is often marginalized, especially by the abuser. “It’s not like I am hitting you.” But in some ways emotional abuse can be more maddening because the scars are real and long lasting even though the rest of the world cannot see them. The victim experiences the same depression, anxiousness and fear that a victim of physical abuse experiences. And many times the abuser is in as much pain as the victim, only they don’t realize it. It often comes from something deep rooted within them, perhaps even going back to childhood.
Emotional abuse can at first be subtle and then escalate incrementally over time, so you may not notice it right away. If you are questioning whether you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you probably are and have been for quite some time. If the following conduct is chronic in your relationship, you are probably living with an emotional abuser:
Put Downs and Insults: name calling, public ridicule, blaming you for everything, humiliation, dismissive, disapproving
Verbal Abuse: insults, cuss words, yelling, ranting tirades
Rejection: Pretending someone is not there, saying things like “I don’t care”, using the silent treatment, acting heartless as a weapon, withholding affection or emotional support
Isolation: limiting freedom, keeping family and friends away, becoming irate when you attempt to go out or entertain an activity outside of the home, refusing to attend events with extended family or friends
Bullying: purposely saying hurtful things to someone with the intention to hurt them or make them fearful or make them feel like they have no value
Instilling Fear: Intimidating or threatening someone so that they feel afraid, threatens harm to a pet or possessions
These are only a few forms of emotional abuse. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone can have a bad day and act harshly out of anger. But if any of the above actions are an ongoing pattern of behavior, then you are likely in an abusive relationship and the abuse is chipping away at your self-worth. Do you ever think to yourself, “Am I ever going to be good enough?” Do you feel like you are going crazy? Do you tell yourself to stop being weak? Do you make excuses to others in an effort to protect your abuser or hide your abuse?
If you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, let me reinforce to you, EMOTIONAL ABUSE IS REAL. Your pain, confusion, and fear do not make you a weak person; these are reasonable responses to an abusive relationship. You are not crazy. You are good enough just the way you are. God did not create
you to endure such abuse.
1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love “is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…. it always protects.” (1 Cor 13:4-7 NIV).
You can get help. You can regain peace and healthy self-esteem in your life. You can claim joy for your life. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The following is a prayer that you can pray if you don’t know what to say to God about your situation:
“Dear God, Please give me peace. Please provide a hedge of protection over me. Please work in my abuser’s heart. I need your strength and wisdom. Please shower me with your love. Please help me to no longer be afraid. I ask you to please help me understand what I need to do to improve my situation.”
NicieLee is a Christian Life Coach that can help you with matters of the heart.