It’s difficult to see, acknowledge and define emotional abuse due to its quiet consequences. Unlike physical abuse, there are no visible bruises, scars or marks left behind. Instead, the abuser uses control over one’s emotions, thoughts, feelings and decisions in order to make the abused do what they want. This means that the damage caused isn’t as obvious to the abused or even outsiders that may witness it happening.
This also means that the type of abuse becomes difficult to talk about, but it needs to be in order to make it known. It needs to be discussed in order to be recognized. Here are 6 things we don’t talk about when we talk about being emotionally abused:
1. Being emotionally abused is just as bad as being physically abused.
Just because you don’t have the marks to prove it doesn’t mean you didn’t suffer through abuse. Emotional abuse can create just as many scars as any other form of abuse but are left unseen due to the outlet used to create them.
By manipulating someone, making them feel small, hurting them with words or toying with their emotions, a person can really leave an indefinite mark on the one they are abusing. This can lead to a mentality that takes years to recover from. It can also take years to even acknowledge the abuse that’s happening.
Sometimes, emotional abuse can actually be more detrimental, because it is not as apparent as physical abuse. One should not be afraid to speak up about their feelings of being emotionally abused simply because others can’t see the scars it is leaving behind. If you are being emotionally abused, it is still abuse and it should still be a concern to the ones that really love you.
2. Those who are emotionally abused often won’t recognize it right away.
The problem with being emotionally abused is that you often fail to recognize it right away. The abuser tends to blame the abused for any issues that come up. Not only do you not have the physical scars to prove it, but you are also belittled into thinking that your emotional pain doesn’t matter by the one who is directly inflicting it.
This makes it hard to even recognize when you are actually going through emotional abuse. You fail to see why it is you are hurting so badly and for so long. You think that you are at fault because it is YOUR emotions that are being directly affected.
Not many others will recognize it either, only furthering your belief that it is all in your head.
3. Emotional abuse comes from the ones closest to us.
It can be a mother, father, sister, wife, boyfriend, or best friend. It doesn’t have to be limited to a romantic relationship. The thing with emotional abuse is it can only really be caused by the ones we love, because we love them so much.
We don’t let just anyone have the power to control our emotions in this way. It’s the ones we grow closest to that have this power, because they know you so well. They know what makes you happy, sad, depressed, and angry, and they use all of this information to their advantage.
4. You are more likely to accept emotional abuse.
Since you fail to recognize it right away, you also tend to accept emotional abuse as part of a relationship and even as love. If this is all that was taught to you within a relationship that has mattered to you the most, you accept it. You worry that there is not going to be anything better out there.
The problem is that emotional abuse manipulates a person into thinking you are undeserving of both love and a healthy relationship. This, in turn, makes it so you accept the abuse instead. You accept it as part of their lives, because it is all you have known.
The abuser takes all the power by making the abused feel as if you are the reason for their unhealthy ways of treatment.
Emotions are strong. They act in every decision and thought that you make. If your emotions are being completely controlled by another person, it’s hard to get out of.
5. Emotional abuse lingers, even after leaving it.
Because emotions play such a huge part in our lives, those who have been emotionally abused tend to have a lot to cope with afterwards. You start to question every feeling you have, because for once they are your own instead of ones that are being brought up by your abuser.
You feel happy but still feel it’s underserved. You feel sad but don’t know who to blame those feelings on anymore. It takes a long time to heal from emotional abuse. It is not only a traumatic experience but also one that is not as talked about. You’ll fail to see the reasons for your emotional reactions.
Sometimes you even go back to your abuser or to someone who is like them, because they knew how to handle your feelings, even if it was in a negative way. You give them back that power because you don’t know how to handle it yourself. The way of healing is not an easy one, but you can’t continue to go back to old ways of negative treatment simply because it’s familiar.
6. You can emotionally abuse yourself.
Whether it’s caused by depression, anxiety or the traumatic experience of being emotionally abused by another, you also have the capability to do it to yourself. You put down your own feelings, thoughts, body, characteristics and ideas because you have somehow built a mindset that you are unworthy.
In a way to dismiss your overwhelming emotions, you dismiss yourself completely. This is a toxic way of living and should be acknowledged as such. We all deserve to be loved, especially by ourselves.
Just because you have left an abuser in your past doesn’t mean that the words they used against you doesn’t still remain in your head. It will take time, but once you acknowledge that you are worthy of unconditional love, affection and patience, it will be that much easier.