Abuse has several shapes and forms, and each one is as ugly as the other.
Abuse, in itself, means cruelty, misuse, bad effect, or with a bad purpose. Exploiting any relationship to the extent that instead of building someone up, the person, knowingly or unknowingly, brings them down, shattering their personality or self-confidence is abuse.
Emotional abuse, unlike physical abuse, is extremely hard to pinpoint for the abuser and the one who is being abused. As it doesn’t leave any physical marks, every damage done is mental or spiritual. The breaking point comes and goes without the victim fully recognizing the reason behind it.
Abuse can come from any relationship; business or romantic partner, friend, or even a parent.
What is emotional abuse?
This term is not given that much importance even by law, because it is next to impossible to prove emotional abuse in the court of law.
However, if one can recognize the pattern and carefully observe, things will be clear as day.
For example, it is not emotional abuse to:
- Fight with someone
- Yell or scream
- Argue constantly
- Refuse to give permission
However, it is abuse to emotionally control anyone just like one were to do physically. It is emotional abuse to restrain someone without their permission. Instead of doing any physical harm, an emotional abuser utilizes their emotions and uses them against their victim.
It is extremely common for the abuser to be unaware of their abuse.
They claim to be thinking of or about their victim’s best interest at heart. They claim to be protective, thus, their insecurities get the best of them, and they slowly start to unfurl. However, the blame, the fights, the constant checking up, and emotional restriction – all these are the signs of emotional abuse from parents.
How can you tell if your parents are emotionally abusive?
As mentioned above, even parents can be emotionally abusive towards their children. This comes more naturally, and seldom people bat their eye because, unlike a lover or a friend, one’s parent is supposed to be the one in charge of their children’s life towards a certain point.
They give permissions, they make the rules, and they are with the children 24/7. Therefore, it is extremely hard, if not next to impossible, to identify an emotionally abusive parent, especially if they are careful.
Signs you had an emotionally abusive parent
If you find explaining to yourself that your parent was just having a bad day so much so that the day starts to turn into weeks and then months, then you have an emotionally abusive parent.
This is particularly true if they do not realize what they have done and continuously play the blame game. Following are a handful of signs you grew up experiencing emotional abuse:
1.The guilt trip
Parenting is not an easy feat.
It is a job that requires the ultimate sacrifice, but one chooses to commit this sacrifice. It is a beautiful responsibility, but one takes this responsibility fully knowing the circumstances.
Therefore, guilt-tripping one’s child into doing anything by claiming that they have given birth to you or by claiming how much they have sacrificed for you, these are the signs of emotional abuse from parents.
No one owes anyone anything.
2. The silent treatment
Every credible doctor and psychologist is of the opinion that no matter the relationship, if you feel like you have any problem, bad blood, or bad air, just talk it out.
Communication is the most vital key to any successful relationship.
However, it takes two to communicate. If your parent or parental figure is hell-bent on maintaining the silent treatment until or unless you apologize, not considering the fact that it was your fault or not, this again is a severe form of emotional abuse.
3. The severe criticism
Criticism, in its pure form and when done correctly, is a chance of growth.
Constructive criticism lets a person strive for their best and work hard so they can truly harness their true ability.
However, at times, parents, in their attempt to utilize the true potential of their child, never praise any effort done by them. Instead of applauding their five things done correctly, an emotionally abusive parent would focus on that one thing that was either wrong or not done perfectly.
4. Way too much involvement
Just as a parent can be absent, be it emotionally or physically from their child’s life, it is also possible for them to be overly present.
When they want to be in the middle of every tiny thing that happens in your life, when you are not permitted to stay at a friend’s house or if you are not allowed to be friends with a certain someone, or if you are not allowed to dress a certain way – all of these are a huge red flag for emotional abuse.
5. You are one who is always apologizing
If you find yourself feeling sorry and apologizing excessively, or if you feel that no matter what happens in life, it is always your fault – this is a pretty big red flag that your parents were emotionally abusive.
No one’s perfect, and everyone tends to make mistakes. However, there are a large number of people who always blame themselves for any wrongdoings of others.
They are always severely critical of themselves and excessively forgiving when it comes to others.
Children learn to put up with the bad behavior of their parents out of love, and unfortunately, this trait trickles down throughout their life. But, recognizing the different signs of emotional abuse from parents but forgiving them for anything is a form of love.