Emotional abuse is a silent killer in many relationships.
Subtle attacks and backhanded compliments have ended more relationships than we can account for. The sad thing is, it’s hard to see the victims of emotional abuse because the acts of abuse are often done behind closed doors, away from public view.
Even if an emotionally abusive person was to slip up and show their true colors in public, many victims would find a way to justify their behavior because they don’t want to make a big deal out of it.
For these reasons, it may be hard for someone who is being emotionally abused to reach out for help. They may not want to get their partner in trouble, or they may feel that their troubles are insignificant by comparison. The truth is, though, anyone who is experiencing emotional abuse in relationships deserves a lifeline. They deserve the chance to free themselves from their guilt and shame or from the relationship they’re in altogether.
The following is dedicated to showing those that are being emotionally abused a well-lit path out of their dark times. Use these bits of advice to help free yourself from the pain you’ve experienced.
Get some perspective: Talk to a friend
If you’re being verbally or emotionally abused in relationship, chances are good that you’ve tried to rationalize your partner’s behavior away at some point. You’ve convinced yourself that it’s not his fault that his job sucks, and as his wife, you’re supposed to be there for him to vent. You’ve told yourself that your wife’s ex-husband was abusive to her, so she mirrors that behavior as a defence mechanism.
No matter what story you’ve come up with, you need to tell it to someone else. Tell someone that can give you an objective opinion. You’re much more likely to get quality insights from someone who isn’t a part of the day to day operations of your relationship. Be open, be honest, and let them really get a feel for what’s going on in your home.
Since they’re your friend, their only motive is to help you however they can, so they will do whatever is best for you with the information. If they tell you to pack your bags and get the heck out of the relationship, take them at their word. You need an objective opinion more than you need your pride.
Take their advice for what it’s worth.
Beware of gaslighting
If you’ve never heard the phrase “gaslighting” before, it might be because your emotionally abusive partner convinced you that it’s not a real thing. In reality, gaslighting is when an abusive partner makes their spouse feel like they’re losing their mind or their memory.
You may bring up that time that he was mean to you at the family picnic, and he’ll act as though that never happened. You may mention how she insulted you in front of your colleagues, and she’ll convince you that it was someone else that called you a fat slob.
If you feel like there are events or moments that are being swept under the rug or outright deleted from the conversation in your marriage, be aware that it may be an intentional mission of your emotionally abusive partner. By attempting to alter your version of events, your spouse is attempting to take control of the narrative of your relationship. If they can convince you that you aren’t being abused, then you have no reason to be upset with them, do you?
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for this kind of behavior.
If it gets to the point that you can’t remember what is true and what isn’t, start documenting things regularly so you can start putting the puzzle together on your own.
When all else fails, find your nearest therapist
Therapists can’t cure you of the abuse, but they can at least care for your mental state as you adjust from the hostile environment that you’re trying to free yourself from.
When in the care of a therapist, you can put all of your emotional baggage on the table and work through it with their trained eye to assist you. One of the hardest things to do when dealing with emotional trauma is attempting to work through it on your own. A therapist or counselor can walk the path of recovery with you.
It is a safe space where you can say what you need to say and not feel judged. Their job isn’t to assess the choices you’ve made, but allow you to make better ones moving forward. They will give you the tools to step out of your unhealthy marriage and into a life with more self-care and self-awareness in your future. It may feel taboo for some, but allowing a therapist or counselor to help you through a dark time in your life could be the fastest way for things to get a little brighter.
No matter what course of action you choose to take, understand that it is the action that is required if you want to save yourself from emotional abuse in relationship you’ve found yourself in. The quickest way to save yourself is to reach out to an objective ear and tell them what you’re going through. Either they will help you directly or help you find the assistance that you need. Don’t hesitate if you feel like you’re being held captive in an emotionally abusive marriage.
You owe it to yourself to get your life, your sanity, and your peace of mind back.