What happens when a mistake like the one above or even one of less consequence brings an onslaught of vicious anger? What is the result when such an incident, brings an attack which leaves the victim humiliated, and degraded? Clearly the mistake was not deliberate, but sometimes “deliberateness” is not considered, and brings a verbal attack with words which belittles, shames and demeans the victim. Behavior such as this is considered emotional abuse, yet many don’t recognize it or label it as such.
I know someone who lived years with a spouse who repeatedly demonstrated emotional abuse and refused to ever consider it “abuse.” But attacks on their spouse’s opinions and beliefs, feelings or even the inference that thinking for themselves was beyond their means was routine. It left the victim with little or no self-confidence, self-worth or self-esteem. They begin feeling guilty because they are not “good enough” or capable of having an intelligent thought! At times they even wondered if they were going crazy and wished they could just be done with the world.
It causes them to create a wall around themselves or withdraw to minimize the pain and attempt to hide their perceived personal inadequacies from anyone they see or communicate with. The problem with emotional abuse is often the victim begins believing they deserve it and take great efforts to “right” the problem. In their mind they consider the “wrong” with which they have been accused and tell themselves… “If I just ______(fill in the blank with any idea of a way to placate the abuser—be it quieter, more diligent, a better cook, smarter, prettier)” then everything will be alright.
But it isn’t alright. The abuse, after a while can cause depression, anxiety, and frustration. The scars of emotional abuse can be worse than those from physical abuse and take much longer to heal. Ultimately emotional abuse walks hand in hand with verbal abuse and is a subtle form of control and domination that can be as intimidating as physical abuse and just as effective.
If this is your world, seek help. Don’t delay. The longer the abuser is permitted to live this lifestyle, the more grounded he becomes in his belief that “this is the way things should be.”
Some examples of Emotional Abuse:
· Yelling and swearing
· Humiliating, degrading comments
· Ignoring the victim
· Blaming the victim for their behavior
· Threats and intimidation
· Giving orders unreasonably to the victim; treating them like a servant or a child
· Insulting or mocking, name calling
To find more information on this type of abuse, search online for “emotional abuse.” There is an amazing amount of information available.