Emotional Abuse 1: What Is It?

When you enter into a marital relationship, you expect your emotions to be respected and nurtured. You expect to be loved, respected and cared for (and the vice versa). In a successful relationship you will find that the partners love, care, and respect each other. Even if one of the ingredients is missing, the marriage is not successful in the true sense. But what happens when abuse becomes one of the ingredients instead of these three?

Abuse is any behaviour that controls another person by means of fear, humiliation, intimidation, guilt, manipulation, etc. When we talk about abuse, people usually think of physical abuse. About 90% of the people assume that if they are not being physically abused by their partner, they are not being abused. That is not necessarily true.

If you are in a relationship that is draining something from you, you are undergoing some type of abuse. Emotional abuse can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics like repeated disapproval, non interest in communicating, or even silence.

Does it sound Familiar?

My husband wants to do what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants. He is emotionally absent even when he is home. To date, my husband has not shown or expressed love or affection saying that he cannot display affection. But he does that with other people.

He refuses to resolve the smallest of conflicts. Infact he denies there is a conflict. If I gently try to express hurt, he denies he has done wrong. He is a master at making excuses. He is generally indifferent towards me—not caring about what I did in a day’s time, not interested in the things I say, and certainly has no desire to share anything about his life with me. But at the end of the day he wants (and often demands) to be treated with care, love, affection, and with load of respect.

If I suggest an alternative idea to any of his plans, he perceives me as trying to control him. He does not like to be questioned or challenged. It annoys him. He is self-absorbed—his time is his time; his activities are his activities, things purchased by him are his, etc. His definition of family is his parents and siblings. I wonder what importance my kids and I have in his life. I take care of our (mine and my kids) expenses and requirements.

If he spends any money on us, he reminds it time and gain in front of friends and relatives, but does not mind purchasing expensive gifts for his family (brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews).  He also forgets to mention that he rarely spends any money on us. His life is centered around making calls to his friends and “family”. So, to the outside world, he is caring, a charmer, a communicator.

 This does not mean that only men behave this way. I used “husband” as the villian in this example, probably because I am a woman and also becuase I have seen men indulge in kind of behaviour.

Emotional abuse is defined as behavior designed to degrade/humiliate someone by attacking their self-value. It takes place in the form of shaming, blaming, intimidating, dismissing, and/or making threats.  Whatever form it takes, the effects for the abused individual can be crippling. Initially the victim does not even realize what is happening because nobody expects a spouse to be so abusive.

Emotional abuse in a marriage is such a covert form of domestic violence and abuse—you may not even recognize that you are a victim or be aware that your partner has stripped you off your self-esteem respect, and happiness. You may have a feeling that something is wrong. You may feel stressed out, unhappy, unimportant, isolated, disillusioned, and depressed. Yet, you can not quite identify what is causing those feelings. This state of confusion is usually caused due to emotional abuse.

Married couples often fight, but emotional abuse is different than an occasional outburst of anger.  In case of a fight, the person responsible for the fight is usually  remorseful after the encounter is over. The angry person offers a sincere apology later, in an attempt to heal the rift that the hurt (due to argument) has caused. This is not the case in an emotionally abusive situation.

Cycle of emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is a cycle or pattern of behavior designed to control, manipulate, or force submission. Emotional abuse often follows a pattern.

    • Phase I: The abuser breaks down all forms of communication. This builds-up tension in the relationship.

      Any attempt on your part to talk or communicate with the person is futile—it is faced by absolute silence. To maintain this silence, they just walk away, lock them selves in the bathroom/bedroom, or make all possible attempt to instigate you into an argument which you want to avoid.

    • Phase II: This involves the actual incidents of verbal and emotional abuse.
    • Phase III: It involves reconciliation. The abuser offers lame excuses, blames the victim, and denies the abuse occurred.

      The abuser will try to prove that you has got it all wrong—blame it on misunderstanding from your part or anything else. “you did not understand what I said“, “your didn’t understand the language and hence misunderstood what I said“, “I was trying to be funny”, “it was a joke, but you don’t understand jokes, “you are not intellegent enough to understand what I say“, and lots more.

    • Phase IV: In this phase, there is calm. The victim tries to forget the incident and get along with life.

Then, after a few days, the cycle repeats itself.

Hope you are now able to spot the people who involve in emotion abuse. If you are the victim, try to analyse the stuation and get some help. Read on…. https://sajithajayaprakash.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/emotional2-sign

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One Response

  1. Thanks for liking…. I checked your blog, liked the little bit I read, and am following you! Shall visit back and read more stuff.

    Regards,
    Sajitha

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