Any relationship can include emotional abuse. At the core of all abuse is the need to have power and control. Any one of us can feel the need to control things or someone else. It becomes a real problem when someone is being emotionally or physically hurt because of that need for power and control. This is when a relationship has reached a toxic level and needs an intervention. Toxic relationships left to escalate could lead to dangerous situations where no one is safe.
What is Emotional Abuse?
Barbara Shaffer, Ph.D. in Christian Counseling, defines emotional abuse as "an attitude of entitlement and profound disrespect that discounts at every turn the inherent right of the other person to dignity, separateness and autonomy. Out of entitlement and disrespect spring various overt behaviors that use anger, violence and/or contempt to induce fear, guilt and shame. The other person is controlled, punished or demeaned."
Harsh words and selfish actions coming from someone who should love you and protect you, kills a spirit slowly and methodically. If you live with someone or are close to someone with this kind of behavior - a parent, spouse or friend - you will begin to lose track of reality and truth. Am I really crazy? Am I really an idiot? Maybe if Idid this, things would get better? Maybe if I cooked better, dressed better, spent less, served more, spoke less, I wouldn't deserve to be treated this way? But maybe I really do deserve this?
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, especially more than one, you need to take your situation very seriously. Safety should be top priority even if there has never been any physical violence. Resources are provided at the end of this article.
Now let's take a look at the 10 most telling signs of emotional abuse to be aware of:
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