Sometimes, you just need clear signs that you are a victim of mental and emotional abuse. Why? Because for many of those who are in emotionally abusive relationships, it is truly hard to determine that you are in one. How come? As this article will show, there are many factors that contribute to the unhealthy dynamics of an abusive relationship. And all of them tend to make it difficult to see the relationship clearly for what it is.
How they happen in the first place
There is no general rule, of course. But, in many cases, there are certain indicators towards the higher possibility of an abusive relationship to occur. And for the most part, these factors, unfortunately, came to be long before we were even considering romantic relationships. This is why they are so hard to see.
For many of the abused individuals, it is true that they tend to fall from one such relationship into another. From the outside, it often seems as if they were completely blind to the kind and gentle potential partners. And if they do get involved with one such person, the relationship tends to end quickly. You can hear them saying: “It just wasn’t right”.
And it wasn’t. Because we all more or less (unless we approach the problem directly and address it with professional help) tend to recreate the relationships we witnessed when we were children. In specific, we usually replicate the dynamics of our parents’ marriage. It may be more or less obvious, but it is more of an exception not to project our parents’ relationship into our own romantic affairs.
And if you witnessed your parents going back and forth in emotional abuse, you are highly likely to seek partners that will help you relive this kind of interaction. Not really consciously, because we would all agree abuse is wrong. But, on some level, you will probably perceive some forms of abusive behavior as normal. This goes for both, the abuser and the victim.
Why they last
The story usually develops rather predictably. The prospective abuser and abused seem to detect each other with surgical precision. Among all the people around them, they seem magnetically attracted to one another. They immediately hit it off, and the world seems to narrow down to just the two of them.
The abuse starts almost immediately. After just a few days or weeks (but often as soon as on the first date), the hidden expectations begin to shape the interaction. Both begin to play their role. The abuser will start to dominate, at first with some reserve, but very soon this will develop into a full-range emotional abuse.
And the abused will also cooperate. He or she will start to act submissively, every day more and more so. Outsiders will ask themselves why they are tolerating the abuse. The victim will ask: “What abuse?” And this is an honest reaction. Because, as we demonstrated earlier, for both partners, this is a normal form of interaction between two romantic partners.
Interestingly, both could have been on any of the sides. It is just the matter of which parent they identified with, and whose behavior they took over as their own. But an abusive relationship tends to be very sturdy, even though completely shaky when seen from the outside. Because the two work in perfect harmony and collaboration. They are completely adapted to their unhealthy dynamics.
The signs of emotional and mental abuse
So, if you suspect that you are in an abusive relationship (and emotional and mental abuse are very difficult to recognize from the inside of it), you should try and find the clues. Don’t be scared or embarrassed for not noticing it earlier, it is perfectly normal. The good thing is, you will see it now, and you can make a positive change.
The first and overarching sign is how your partner uses love and affection. In specific, abusers tend to occasionally throw you a bone. They will make sure there are very intense moments of affection and passion. They will apologize, and make you on the top of the world. And if they don’t apologize, they will surely awaken your hope that this is how it will be from the point onward. It won’t.
The abuse will come back. And here are the signs. You are being constantly put down. You are being humiliated and overly criticized all the time. The partner is being unreasonably jealous, but proactively seeking contact with the opposite sex. You are conditioned to do what they want you to. You are being convinced that all that is your fault. You are being gradually isolated from friends and family. And finally, you have the feeling that your self-esteem keeps decreasing from the very moment you met your partner.