Deal With Emotional Abuse

Dealing with emotional abuse is a painful, often debilitating experience. But there are things you can do to make it less damaging in the long run.

First, recognize the abusive behavior patterns. This will give you some clarity about what’s going on and empower you a bit more.

1. Do not engage

Emotional abuse is a form of relationship abuse that is often difficult to recognize. It can be subtle or overt and involves repeated abusive behaviors and words that wear down a person’s self-esteem, mental health, and sense of control.

If you feel like the person you are dating is being emotionally abusive, it is best to avoid engaging with them. Instead, walk away and take care of yourself.

It is also important to stop blaming yourself for their behavior and understand that they are not responsible for their actions. You cannot change them despite your best efforts, so do not try to.

Emotional abuse is very damaging to a person’s mental and physical health. It can cause depression, anxiety, excessive guilt, fear, irritability, and confusion.

2. Accept that you cannot change them

One of the hardest parts about dealing with emotional abuse is realizing you can’t change it. If you want to make things better, it’s important to accept that this is true and work to change your behavior as best you can.

Emotional abusers often alter your experience of reality by telling you lies. This is called gaslighting and is a common tactic in emotionally abusive relationships, according to Patel.

They may tell you that something that happened was a mistake or that it wasn’t really a problem. This helps them avoid accountability and discourage you from revealing your abuser’s behavior to others, she says.

They also use sarcasm and infantilization to make you feel small. They’ll say you don’t understand or you have no sense of humor, which can be very hurtful.

3. Do not blame yourself

While it may be tempting to place the blame on yourself, this can only make things worse. Instead, focus on giving yourself compassion and allowing yourself time to heal.

Emotional abuse is not your fault, and it is not your responsibility to change the person abusing you. They are choosing to behave this way and you have no control over that.

If you feel that you are being abused, speak up and tell someone you trust about it. This can include friends, family members, or a therapist.

One of the most common emotional abuse tactics is to isolate you from other people. They might stop you from going to social events, prevent you from contacting your friends or family, or limit your access to money.

This could cause you to lose your confidence and self-esteem. Over time, this can make you believe that you will never be good enough for anyone else.

4. Get help

It’s best to get help if you or someone you know is struggling with emotional abuse. Emotional abuse can be devastating and have long-term effects on your mental health.

It can also erode your self-confidence and lead to feelings of shame, guilt and over-compliance. It may cause frequent crying and a sense of powerlessness.

A person who is emotionally abused often feels like no one cares about them and they have no support. This feeling may make them feel even more trapped in the relationship.

They are often very skilled at creating a facade. That is why they can seem so believable when they tell you about their abusive behavior.

These behaviors can become so routine that you don’t even realize that they’re happening until you are deeply entangled in the pattern. This can be dangerous because it can go unchecked for months, years or more.

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