Recently, I've been experiencing and was a witness of very strange situations between two individuals which I believe, are worth sharing. I'm talking about the term "emotional abuse" in its various forms. For me, personally, it is a very important topic, and information should be spread widely about it as abuse could cause many issues at a global level.
Being a very emotional individual, I cannot stop myself from writing this and providing my point of view on the matter. It is not a problem to ignore - indeed, emotional abuse shouldn't be underestimated and instead - it should be addressed properly. No matter how hard it is to cope in a certain situation there is always a way to make things better and to chill out the situation a little bit.
What does "Emotional abuse" mean?
Emotional abuse is a behavior of a person that can result in harmful results for his/her victim, such as lower self-esteem, reducing his/her self-confidence, aiming at achieving power and control over another individual. Such behavior can use various strategies to achieve the same thing - it all depends on the victim and how he/she would react to those strategies. There are too many ways to abuse as human imagination is unlimited so I'll be mentioning only the most wide-spread ones:
Emotional abuse - Photo credit: Avanduyn via Commons.wikimedia.org
Aggression is one of the signs of emotional abuse and it can be really dangerous if supported. By supported I mean if the victim answers the aggression with continuing and reacting like a victim - feeling helplessness, suffering, etc. Aggression could only work if reciprocated, otherwise, it just stops at its very beginning. What aggressive people often don't realize is that such behavior not only harms but leaves deep scars in the minds of the people they abuse.
I believe the reason aggression exists is to protect, and not to misuse. Aggression is a way to survive, and not to transfer negative energy to others. There are many kinds of aggression - it can be verbal, physical, psychological, etc. When we are talking about emotional abuse, the aggression used is mostly verbal.
Verbal aggression is a form of direct psychological aggression that includes yelling at the service provider or making sarcastic or offensive remarks.
Verbal aggression is expressed by calling names, insults, threats, and/or humiliating phrases. It is aimed at achieving superiority over another person. The paradox here is that actually, the aggressor is the one who is weaker and needs help, not the victim. However, the object of aggression is convinced it is the other way around.
Denial is another form of emotional abuse which consists of denying obvious facts and proven statements trying to change the reality of the individual. This method could only work if the victim doesn't realize what the abuser is doing. Denial can be various form, too, such as:
- denying other people's needs and emotional cravings;
- denying events that have happened or words which were spoken;
- denying memories, rational thinking, logical and proven facts;
- denying every other point of view different from his/her own.
This could lead to absurd situations and if the person being abused is not that strong he/she could start questioning their own reality and sanity. Unfortunately, people rarely seek help when they are abused using denial as they slowly start integrating into the world of the abuser. They stop trusting themselves the way they did before and this leads to many other negative consequences - lack of confidence, depression, etc.
Handcuffs - Photo credit: George Hodan via Publicdomainpictures.net
Domination is when someone becomes a master in the life of another person. He/she tries to control the way the other does things - their surrounding, their friends, from the way they dress to the way they talk and react. It is very harmful to have a dominating person in your life as you are threatened of losing your own identity. Dominating people are very insecure that's why they need to constantly prove their worth by controlling other human beings. It's also very hard to get away if you are being controlled - losing your rights is often accompanied by low confidence and lack of rational thinking. However, some people manage to free themselves from the obsession of the dominator at some point in their relationship.
Underestimating is another form of emotional abuse which is also very harmful to society. It's not such an extreme form of abuse, however, it also has its impact on the victims. Underestimating is when someone neglects the feelings and emotion of another human being, considering his/her feelings to be too strong or that he/she is too sensitive.
The problem with being underestimated is that you can lose your true judgment on how you react about things or on what you believe about the world. Constantly being told you are reacting wrongly could make you believe it. And that leads to lowering your ambitions, your goals, the trust you have in yourself, and ultimately - affecting your reality and self-confidence.
5. Verbal attacks
Verbal attacks are dangerous because they have the power to change the mood or the behavior of the victim. They include words that aim to criticize, threaten, undermine, and/or reprimand. Destructive criticism never made someone successful or a better person. It's exactly the opposite - the abuser aims to stop the development of the individual and prevent him/her from realizing what's really going on.
Ongoing, repeated verbal attacks meted out by an intimate, or by someone in a position of authority, can drastically affect self-esteem, give rise to enormous anxiety and periods of confusion, and even lead to clinical depression iHn susceptible individuals.
6. Unpredictable behavior
The abuser sometimes can have drastic changes in his/her mood or they act in a way that is controversial. This leads to the victim constantly worrying about the reactions of the person not knowing what is right and what is wrong. Many of the cases with such behavior are caused by alcohol or drug addiction. The abused individual can then suffer from anxiety, stress, or can be frightened, confused, and out of control. Unpredictable behavior is also related to burst outs and periods of extreme anger - during those the victim doesn't know how to react. And during the rest of the time, he/she is overthinking and expecting the next episode of the story.
As we can see, emotional abuse can be expressed in many forms depending on the character of the abuser or the behavior he/she adopted from his/her parents, social environment, etc. It's important that we could recognize such abuse so that we can find the proper ways to address it, and to cope with such situations.
Domestic violence: Break the silence - Photo credit: Spangdahlem.af.mil
I hope you found this blog useful and I definitely hope to find time to write another one soon.
Thanks for reading! See you in my next blog!