5 Signs to Recognize Emotional Abuse

Are you or someone you know experiencing emotional abuse? Although many of us are aware of how to recognize physical abuse, the damaging effects from emotional abuse can be just as powerful and devastating as physical abuse.

Sadly, emotional abuse is still largely ignored by our society and many times those experiencing it are not even aware that they are being abused in an on-going way that has detrimental consequences for their health both physically and emotionally as well as long-term consequences for their children.

In her book, “Emotional Abuse,” therapist Marti Tamm Loring describes how emotional abuse can erode both the inner and outer core of well-being of those who are being abused and the reasons why this type of abuse is often not identified as

“Many are convinced that they are at fault and thus do not perceive themselves as abused. When they seek out a therapist, it is usually to deal with symptoms such as suicidal ideation, intrusive thoughts, terrified clinging behavior, and pervasive feelings of confusion and unreality.”

Since there are rarely legal consequences for these types of harmful behaviors and they are so difficult to prove, many of those who experience emotional abuse are convinced that they themselves are to blame.

Here are just five of the signs Loring shares in her book that can indicate emotional abuse.

5 Signs to Recognize Emotional Abuse

1. Criticizing and Name-calling– in a clear and consistent pattern in an effort to demean and control

2. Withholding Affection—when your partner is not demonstrating empathy toward you and you find that your feelings and needs are significantly discounted on an on-going basis

3. Interfering with Opportunities—when you are not permitted to seek a job, medical care, have access to finances or your partner restricts or monitors use of your email, computer or phone

4. Threatening life, pets, property or family–this may also include implied threats, throwing, punching and kicking things, driving recklessly with you in the car and other acts that cause you to fear what may happen next

5. Threatening to Abandon—( physically or emotionally) when your partner keeps you on edge and extremely fearful of having to live on your own without adequate access to money, resources or support

When emotional abuse continues to twist and turn along its insidious path of destruction, not only is your psychological and emotional health at risk—your physical well-being is also likely to take a turn for the worse. Enduring emotional abuse often leads to migraines, stomach problems, auto-immune disorders such as lupus and fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses.

Knowing how to identify some of the key signs of emotional abuse is the first step toward taking control of your life so that you can look for the support and guidance you need now to move forward in a healthier way for both you and your children.

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