#grlclbDAAM day 4 - emotional abuse

to many people, physical violence is the be-all and end-all of abuse. even people who recognise the very real issue of emotional abuse, may not actually be able to recognise what constitutes it. it’s important to remember that emotional - or psychological - abuse, isn’t always about name-calling or putting someone down. the element of control and coerciveness is often present in a lot of emotional abuse behaviours.
the following is a list of possible behaviours associated with the experience:
  • insulting you, calling you names
  • undermining you, putting you down
  • threatening you/those you care about
  • threatening to have your children taken away if you leave
  • setting down rules about where you can go, who you can see, how long you can be out for, how quickly you have to reply to his texts etc
  • demanding to know about everyone in your life - being suspicious about people they don’t know
  • refusing to reciprocate shared information - doesn’t tell you about the people they see, or spend time with etc
  • acting suspicious about who you’re spending time with, where you’re going, your relationship with certain people
  • accusing you of cheating with no provocation/foundation/evidence
  • cheating on you, especially repeatedly
  • acting jealous - especially of you spending time with other people
  • trying to prevent you from spending time with family, friends, colleagues etc
  • preventing you from going out - even physically stopping you from leaving your home
  • making you feel unsure of your own account of events, or even convinced that what’s happening is all in your head. this is called ‘gas-lighting’ (more on that another day)
  • blaming you for his behaviour - saying that you ‘bring it out in him’ or that he’s just angry because of things you’ve done
  • making demands about what you do/who you see etc at work or university/college/school
  • making you feel useless, telling you that you can’t do anything right
  • making you feel like a bad parent, manipulating your children into turning against you/not listening to you/being scared of you
  • controlling what you wear, your makeup, your haircut etc
  • threatening you with deportation if you report him, due to your immigration status
  • purposefully and antagonistically ignoring you
  • making you believe you’ll never do better than them
  • making you believe that you should be lucky they 'put up with you’
  • threatening to hurt themselves because of you
this is not an exhaustive list - but what’s important to understand is this: emotional abuse is about how you’re made to feel. there is no definitive list of what constitutes abuse, it is defined by the effect it has on your mental wellbeing and your self-esteem. this is what makes emotional abuse complex and misunderstood by so many - it is a very grey area, and exists as a spectrum of behaviours that are centred around the manipulation of your sense of self. 
only you know how controlled you are, how small you are made to feel, and how unwilling/unable you are to talk to anyone about how your partner treats you - but it’s important to know what is & isn’t ~normal~ in a relationship. if you have been manipulated into thinking that any of the behaviours on the above list are normal or expected, it’s important to understand that they’re not. love shouldn’t hurt.
see you tomorrow.

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  • Harriet on

    I think what you are doing is wonderful. So many people don’t talk about or don’t understand any form of abuse that isn’t physical. For someone who find it very hard to talk about things and put emotions into sentences, I can really relate and find it easier to process my experiences when explained so well. Keep it up!

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