According to ReachOut.com, you may be experiencing emotional abuse If you feel scared or confused around your partner, or doubt yourself when you’re talking with them.
You might know what the signs of abuse are, but when you are in the midst of it it can be daunting to identify and relate to them. An emotional abuser’s goal is to undermine another person’s feelings of self-worth and independence through words and actions.
Humiliation, negating, criticizing
- Character assassination. This usually involves the word “always.” You’re always late, wrong, screwing up, disagreeable, and so on. Basically, they say you’re not a good person. ( Everytime)
- Yelling. Yelling, screaming, and swearing are meant to intimidate and make you feel small and inconsequential. It might be accompanied by fist-pounding or throwing things. (Always)
- Patronizing. “Aw, sweetie, I know you try, but this is just beyond your understanding.”
- Public embarrassment. They pick fights, expose your secrets, or make fun of your shortcomings in public.
- Dismissiveness. You tell them about something that’s important to you and they say it’s nothing. Body language like eye-rolling, smirking, headshaking, and sighing help convey the same message. (about my interests or feelings)
- “Joking.” The jokes might have a grain of truth to them or be a complete fabrication. Either way, they make you look foolish.
- Sarcasm. Often just a dig in disguise. When you object, they claim to have been teasing and tell you to stop taking everything so seriously. ( during our arguments )
- Insults of your appearance. They tell you, just before you go out, that your hair is ugly or your outfit is clownish. (when I go out …)
- Belittling your accomplishments. Your abuser might tell you that your achievements mean nothing, or they may even claim responsibility for your success. (My MBA Studies)
- Put-downs of your interests. They might tell you that your hobby is a childish waste of time or you’re out of your league when you play sports. Really, it’s that they’d rather you not participate in activities without them. (All My hobbies and interests)
- Pushing your buttons. Once your abuser knows about something that annoys you, they’ll bring it up or do it every chance they get. (When we argue)
Control and shame
- Threats. Telling you they’ll take the kids and disappear, or saying “There’s no telling what I might do.” (on Instagram)
- Monitoring your whereabouts. They want to know where you are all the time and insist that you respond to calls or texts immediately. They might show up just to see if you’re where you’re supposed to be. (When I am wroking)
- Unilateral decision-making. They might close a joint bank account, cancel your doctor’s appointment, or speak with your boss without asking. ( it starts with… I decided …)
- Financial control. They might keep bank accounts in their name only and make you ask for money. You might be expected to account for every penny you spend. ( Not anymore)
- Lecturing. Belaboring your errors with long monologues makes it clear they think you’re beneath them. ( During any issues )
- Direct orders. From “Get my dinner on the table now” to “Stop taking the pill,” orders are expected to be followed despite your plans to the contrary. ( Get me ….)
- Outbursts. You were told to cancel that outing with your friend or put the car in the garage, but didn’t, so now you have to put up with a red-faced tirade about how uncooperative you are. ( excuse for this is either hormonal or health-related… and I have to accept)
- Treating you like a child. They tell you what to wear, what and how much to eat, or which friends you can see. ( I swear exactly !!!)
- Feigned helplessness. They may say they don’t know how to do something. Sometimes it’s easier to do it yourself than to explain it. They know this and take advantage of it. ( I don’t know how to solve the dryer issue)
- Unpredictability. They’ll explode with rage out of nowhere, suddenly shower you with affection, or become dark and moody at the drop of a hat to keep you walking on eggshells. ( Always)
- Using others. Abusers may tell you that “everybody” thinks you’re crazy or “they all say” you’re wrong. ( My family is always involved )
Accusing, blaming, and denial
- Jealousy. They accuse you of flirting or cheating on them. ( Always but I think I am the fault here)
- Turning the tables. They say you cause their rage and control issues by being such a pain.
- Denying something you know is true. An abuser will deny that an argument or even an agreement took place. This is called gaslighting. It’s meant to make you question your own memory and sanity.
- Using guilt. They might say something like, “You owe me this. Look at all I’ve done for you,” in an attempt to get their way.
- Goading then blaming. Abusers know just how to upset you. But once the trouble starts, it’s your fault for creating it.
- Denying their abuse. When you complain about their attacks, abusers will deny it, seemingly bewildered at the very thought of it. ( When I talk about it … I am either wrong or over-reacting)
- Accusing you of abuse. They say you’re the one who has anger and control issues and they’re the helpless victim. ( I am the one with anger issues – I am always blamed )
- Trivializing. When you want to talk about your hurt feelings, they accuse you of overreacting and making mountains out of molehills. (I am blamed for over-reacting)
- Saying you have no sense of humor. Abusers make personal jokes about you. If you object, they’ll tell you to lighten up. ( ALWAYS!!!)
- Blaming you for their problems. Whatever’s wrong in their life is all your fault. You’re not supportive enough, didn’t do enough, or stuck your nose where it didn’t belong. ( When she broke the plastic cover next to the safe even though I said be careful… i got blamed for their mistake)
- Destroying and denying. They might crack your cell phone screen or “lose” your car keys, then deny it.
Emotional neglect and isolation
- Demanding respect. No perceived slight will go unpunished, and you’re expected to defer to them. But it’s a one-way street.
- Dehumanizing you. They’ll look away when you’re talking or stare at something else when they speak to you.
- Keeping you from socializing. Whenever you have plans to go out, they come up with a distraction or beg you not to go.
- Withholding affection. They won’t touch you, not even to hold your hand or pat you on the shoulder. They may refuse sexual relations to punish you or to get you to do something.
- Actively working to turn others against you. They’ll tell co-workers, friends, and even your family that you’re unstable and prone to hysterics.
- Calling you needy. When you’re really down and out and reach out for support, they’ll tell you you’re too needy or the world can’t stop turning for your little problems.
- Interrupting. You’re on the phone or texting and they get in your face to let you know your attention should be on them.
- Indifference. They see you hurt or crying and do nothing.
- Disputing your feelings. Whatever you feel, they’ll say you’re wrong to feel that way or that’s not really what you feel at all.
- are unhappy in the relationship, but fear alternatives
- consistently neglect your own needs for the sake of theirs
- ditch friends and sideline your family to please your partner
- frequently seek out your partner’s approval
- critique yourself through your abuser’s eyes, ignoring your own instincts
- make a lot of sacrifices to please the other person, but it’s not reciprocated
- would rather live in the current state of chaos than be alone
- bite your tongue and repress your feelings to keep the peace
- feel responsible and take the blame for something they did
- defend your abuser when others point out what’s happening
- try to “rescue” them from themselves
- feel guilty when you stand up for yourself
- think you deserve this treatment
- believe that nobody else could ever want to be with you
- change your behavior in response to guilt; your abuser says, “I can’t live without you,” so you stay
The side effects of this relationship
You might be in denial at first. It can be shocking to find yourself in such a situation. It’s natural to hope you’re wrong, you may also have feelings of:
This emotional toll can also result in behavioral and physical side effects. You may experience:
- difficulty concentrating
- muscle tension
- racing heartbeat
- various aches and pains
Studies show that severe emotional abuse can be as powerful as physical abuse. Over time, both can contribute to low self-esteem and depression, you may also develop:
- chronic pain
- social withdrawal or loneliness
What can I do…..
I always thought I was the wrong person, I was at fault I was the cause…. but after Identified that I am living this kind of abuse, I understand why I react the way I am. I am even too scared to even write this topic, it is so hard to write my feelings.
I ended up isolating myself, giving up on my hobbies and still I am not good enough, I realized I am in an Empathy-Narcissists relationship. According to Shannon Thomas (therapist), empaths work hard for harmony, whereas narcissists are looking to do the opposite. They enjoy chaos and like to know they can pull people’s strings.
The Empathy-Narcissists relationship
Narcissists manipulate empaths by stringing them along with intermittent hope. They will integrate compliments and kindness into their behavior, making their victim believe that if they behave in the correct manner, they will get the loving person back who they once knew.
“Empathetic people have the tendency to understand that we’re all human, we all have defects, and they’re willing to be patient with someone else’s personal growth,” Thomas said. “Empathetic people will be very long-suffering if a narcissist says ‘I really want to change, I know I’m not perfect.’ They have these moments where they sort of admit fault, but they never actually follow through or believe it.”
This is simply a tactic narcissists use to reel their partner back in. With empaths, it is very effective, because they want to support their partner and help them grow. Ultimately, they are just being exploited further.
The push and pull nature of the narcissistic relationship can generate a trauma bond between the victim and the abuser, where it can feel almost impossible to leave the relationship, no matter how much damage it is doing.
“With empathy comes the ability and willingness to look at ourselves and look at our own faults, and that gets taken advantage of while the trauma bond is happening,” Thomas said. “It becomes a cycle for an empath who has been trauma bonded because they start looking at themselves, and what do they need to do to change, and what do they need to do different, and what their character flaws are. It’s the perfect setup, unfortunately.”
It can be difficult to comprehend the fact you are in a narcissistic relationship at first, but there are many red flags you can look out for as you get to know each other better. Thomas said to keep yourself safe from narcissistic abuse, you should understand we are responsible for our own personal growth, and other people are responsible for theirs.
“When you meet people or are in relationships with them, you have to be very careful that you’re not doing their work, or wanting their growth more than they do,” she said. “You have to see what they actually do to get better.”
Also, realize that boundaries are healthy for all relationships. For empaths, boundaries can feel harsh, but once they are aware of the strength of saying “no,” they can protect themselves from people who are looking to take advantage of them.
“Empaths don’t have to become hard or hard-hearted to be able to be healthy,” Thomas said. “It’s important to recognize that not everybody needs to be in our lives. We’re going to come across people who we realize might not be healthy for us, and you have to be okay with letting them go.”
- Dodgson, L. (2018, January 23). Empaths and narcissists make a ‘toxic’ partnership – here’s why they’re attracted to each other. Business Insider. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from https://www.businessinsider.com/why-empaths-and-narcissists-are-attracted-to-each-other-2018-1.
- Pietrangelo, A. (2018, December 6). 64 signs of mental and emotional abuse: How to identify it, what to do. Healthline. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-of-mental-abuse#what-to-do.
- Pietrangelo, A. (2019, March 29). Effects of emotional abuse: Short and long-term, PTSD, recovery. Healthline. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/effects-of-emotional-abuse#long–term-effects.
- What is emotional abuse? Abuse and violence | ReachOut Australia. (n.d.). Retrieved November 10, 2021, from https://au.reachout.com/articles/what-is-emotional-abuse.