We’ve all felt the anxiety that follows an argument with our partner. Will he forgive me? Could she really have meant all of those hurtful things that she said? Every relationship needs a healthy level of disagreeing, negotiating, and reconciling, but how can you tell when there are aspects of your relationship that aren’t healthy, or worse, are emotionally abusive?
The word “abuse” is often thought about under the context of physical abuse, but in reality, emotional abuse can be just as mentally and physically debilitating. Emotional abuse, also known as psychological abuse, or chronic verbal aggression, is defined as, “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.” For the partner being abused, this type of treatment could result in such physical manifestations as depression, anxiety, stress, and even substance abuse.
Emotional abuse should never be accepted or tolerated. What follows is a list of fifteen signs that you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship:
- Humiliation: Does your partner make fun of you in front of others?
- Degradation: Does your partner discount or negate your feelings?
- Judging: Does your partner tell you that your feelings are invalid?
- Criticizing: Are your complaints met with the response that you are “too sensitive?”
- Domination: Does your partner attempt to control your actions and behaviors?
- Controlling: Do you feel that you need to get permission before making decisions?
- Shaming: Does your partner tell you that your behavior is inappropriate?
- Accusing: Has your partner ever staunchly accused you of something you know you did not do?
- Blaming: Does your partner make excuses for his/her own behavior, and blame the cause of every issue solely on you?
- Emotional distancing: Has your partner ever withheld affection to punish you?
- Giving the “silent treatment”: Does your partner go hours, or days without speaking to you?
- Isolation: Does your partner make you feel alone?
- Emotional abandoning: Does your partner fail to ask how you are feeling or what you need?
- Neglecting: Does your partner act like he/she is unaware of your feelings?
- Codependence: Does your partner act like you are an extension of himself/herself, and refuse to acknowledge your independent needs?
If your relationship exhibits any of these signs, know that you do not have to live in a state of emotional abuse. Private counseling services are available for couples who are ready to make healthy lifestyle changes, or for individuals who are ready to end their relationship and begin their own personal emotional healing.
Contact Horizon Health Services today by calling 716.831.1800 for more information on emotional abuse counseling services or to make an appointment.