Signs of Emotional Abuse and How to Deal With It?

Emotional abuse is an attempt to harm someone’s mental health or wellbeing through non-physical acts.

In contrast to physical abuse, emotional abuse is much more complicated and harder to detect because its marks are invisible.

If someone faces physical abuse, its signs are pretty obvious and so it can be prevented. On the other hand, Emotional abuse, however, can not be observed, and sometimes even the victim doesn’t realize that he/she is going through it; due to which it doesn’t get much attention.

In this article, I’ll try to help you look through those hidden patterns and make you aware of the signs of emotional abuse so you could see if you have any of these signs or anyone else around you whom you could help. I’ll also try to help you give some suggestions on how to deal with the abuse or an abuser in your life.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Following are some clear signs that you are going through emotional abuse.

  • If You feel controlled by another person
  • If you feel that your self-esteem is eroding
  • If you are feeling low about your self-confidence
  • If you feel as if you don’t exist
  • If you don’t experience validation of your feelings
  • If trying to please people is your goal
  • If you find it hard to disagree with anyone
  • If doubts are clouding your judgment
  • If you feel unheard

Emotional Abuse: Why do People do it?

Now if any of the above signs sound familiar to you, the question arises that why people do emotional abuse?

Well, just like narcissism and sociopath are learned behaviors, similarly, emotional abusers have learned these behaviors through their childhood experiences. Following are some reasons why do they do it;

  1. The main motive for people use emotional abuse is to gain control. They use emotional tactics to get other people to do what they want.
  2. An abusive person is reactive and manipulative. In their day-to-day lives, they want everything to go their way, and if something or someone doesn’t go their way, they feel like they are losing control of the world around them, so they reach out.
  3. Abused victims themselves have suffered abuse. In their childhood, these people faced abuse, so now they have learned that to achieve their goals or control a situation, they must manipulate and turn things their way to attain what they want. After experiencing something for so long it becomes a reality and a part of who they are, and they become accustomed to it, and now they don’t even realize they are being abusive.

Signs if Someone is Abusing

Emotional abuse doesn’t have limitations or exceptions. It can come from any person you know from your parents to your spouse to your cousin, a friend, or even your boss or colleague. People like these will try to manipulate you and brainwash you into believing the things they believe are right or true. Following are some signs of an emotionally abusive person;

  1. They Punish You with the Silent Treatment

They play this game because they know you depend on them and can’t live on your own. So, if you are weak or have low self-esteem, it will upset you, and you don’t like it when others dislike you.

2. They Constantly Push You to Your Limits

Their conduct is always crossing boundaries and they won’t let you enforce your own

3. They are Manipulative

Emotional abusers choose weaker people whose boundaries are easy to violate. It is because manipulative people are so good at sensing when someone has lower self-esteem and boundaries.

4. They Use Passive Aggression

Another sign that a person is emotionally abusive is that they won’t open up and say things explicitly. They’d rather use pinchy words that they know will hurt you while pretending as if they never intended to. They will use sarcasm, indirect slang, and any other means to irritate you.

5. Negative Criticism

Emotional abusers almost always have opinions and lifestyles that are contradictory to yours. There is never anything you can do to satisfy them, and they always criticize you for something.

6. For Them, You don’t Exist

In the mind of a person who abuses emotionally, everything and everyone revolves around them. So, in an emotional abuser’s mind, he or she does not care about what you like, dislike, value, or devalue. They don’t care about anyone else’s feelings. In their view, only they are capable of feeling emotions, and they respect and cherish only their sentiments.

7. They are Always Right

An emotional abuser is someone who is always right. You can’t talk through anything to them. For them, what they have believed to be right will always be the only right, and no knowledge, proof, or justification can alter that. They are too self-absorbed to see the outside world. It never even entered their minds since that is their only reality.

What We Can do to Control it

Unfortunately, unlike physical abuse, this is not something one can defend in court or file a lawsuit for. The good thing is that whatever gets questioned, talked about, or brought to the public’s attention is curable. Therefore, children must learn about it when they are growing up. In much, the same way how physical abuse is not acceptable, and there should be necessary steps taken to prevent it. There should also be an emphasis on teaching children that emotional abuse is also valid.

  • We should try to talk about it more often. The truth does not arise from nothingness. Everything that becomes prevalent becomes the truth. Hence, it’s critical to bring the topic to people’s attention and not deny it based on faulty assumptiIgnoring or hiding it will only worsen it.
  • An abusive person can only prey on the weaklings who don’t have self-confidence or self-worth. Therefore, we should learn to build healthy self-confidence and self-esteem so that if we encounter such a person, they would not be able to control or manipulate us.
  • If someone silently treats us, we should learn to be comfortable and content in ourselves instead of running after them. Let the abuser know that if they prefer the silent treatment, simply give them some time and talk to you when they have dealt with their chaos.
  • Make sure that you are aware of the tactics abusers use. For example, passive aggression, non-acceptance of NO, or attacks upon self-esteem. As you will be familiar with all these strategies you will realize that the problem is not you, but them, making your peace of mind unencumbered.
  • Believing in ourselves is the most important thing we can do for ourselves. Being alone is much healthier than relying on someone. When we’re young, we’re conditioned to think that being alone is abnormal. In reality, we should learn to enjoy our own company and listen to our inner voices. It is important to believe that our feelings are not wrong or deceptive and to accept that we cannot always make others around us happy, nor is it our responsibility to please everyone.



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