In a relationship where you are always put down? Or where you are starting to feel worse about yourself, and you can’t put your finger on why?
You might be experiencing emotional abuse.
If you are being emotionally abused, it means that another person is doing things to take power over you, even if they never physically hurt you. These things will erode your self-esteem and sense of wellbeing.
Also called ‘mental abuse’ or ‘psychological abuse’, emotional abuse includes bullying, verbal cruelty, control, manipulation, harrassment, oppression, and intimidation.
What are examples of emotional abuse? It can look like the following:
No, you won’t have any visible physical injuries. But emotional abuse is extremely damaging and can have long-term consequences for your wellbeing.
1. It lowers self-esteem and confidence.
Emotional abuse goes deep, making you question your personal beliefs and finding you come up short. And the more your sense of worth drops, the more you start to believe the abuser.
2. It can lead to an identity crisis.
All forms of abuse strip away your sense of self. Eventually you can question who you are entirely.
3. Future relationships can be deeply affected.
Even if you do manage to leave an emotionally abusive relationship? Your self-esteem will be damaged enough that unless you seek professional help, you are highly likely to just attract another abusive relationship.
4. Your physical health can suffer.
Being psychologically manipulated and abused is exhausting. Many people in abusive relationships have constant flus and colds, or unexplained medical symptoms.
5. Your career can falter.
Abusers can manipulate you to the point you feel not good enough for your career, and even quit. Or they leave you so exhausted you start making mistakes at work that mean you miss promotions or are fired.
6. Depression and suicidal thoughts set in.
Lowered self-self-esteem is a direct route to depression, as is feeling cut off from healthy support, if your abuser stops you from talking to friends and family. If the emotional abuse is bad enough, you can start to feel so worthless suicidal thoughts begin.
If you still aren’t sure if you are or aren’t being psychologically abused, start to notice if you are often making excuses about the relationships. These can sound like:
Emotional abuse in many ways brainwashes us. We can end up with such an unhealthy perspective it's very hard to find our way back to healthy alone.
And often, if we allow people to abuse us as adults, it's because we experienced tough things as a kid that meant we already had low self-esteem. Therapy helps us work through those past events so that we don’t walk right from one abusive relationship into another.
Need support to leave an abusive relationship, or to rebuild your self-esteem? Use our easy booking tool to find a perfect therapist for you and talk to someone who really understands.