Psychological violence can take different forms. Humiliating jokes, insults or degrading comments, it is not always easy to spot. Here’s how to recognize the signs, along with some remedies.
There are a few sets of behaviors that generally constitute psychological abuse. Here are the different forms of psychological violence:
- Humiliation, negation and criticism: you constantly feel belittled, judged, or told you are too sensitive.
- Domination, control and shame: you feel infantilized and ask for “permission” for activities that are nonetheless common.
- Denial and unreasonable demands: The person abusing you cannot accept the blame or even apologize, and they are constantly denying the facts or embellishing them to their advantage.
- Isolation and Neglect: You are subjected to “silent treatment” and you are denied any affection or attention as punishment.
- Codependency: Your personal boundaries are systematically violated and the person relies on you as their only emotional support.
Pay attention if someone makes you think you are crazy
Slowly but surely, you begin to question your sanity. You are constantly questioning yourself. You apologize for trivial mistakes. You struggle to make simple choices. You wonder if you are too sensitive. It is an extremely subtle form of emotional abuse and in the end, someone might make you think you are crazy.
Learn the characteristics of a healthy relationship
It can be difficult to recognize abuse and emotional abuse if you have no idea what a positive relationship looks like. In a healthy relationship, moral and emotional support is important. You are entitled to your feelings and opinions, even if they are different from the other person. Respectful behavior devoid of threats, disparagement or insult. The other encourages your interests and accomplishments.
Discuss the problem calmly
Throwing a charge of emotional abuse in the middle of a big argument is a recipe for disaster. Instead, consider these less confrontational alternatives. Ask the person if you can have a calm discussion. Use “I” sentences instead of making accusations that start with “You”. If you feel that a reasonable and calm discussion is not really possible, write a letter.
Ask for help
Seek the advice of a friend or family member to help you see the situation objectively and confirm your feelings. Do not choose a mutual friend, he will not be a good choice and will feel “torn”. It is perfectly legitimate to let go of what you are feeling with a loved one, but they are not your personal psychologist. Otherwise, that person will just think that you are using them to complain.
Consult a professional
If the situation has escalated to the point that you cannot resolve it on your own, contact a professional who specializes in the matter. Find a psychological abuse therapist or counselor, and make an appointment as soon as possible. If you feel in danger, quit the situation immediately. Stay with a friend or family member, or contact a local help center.
Break the cycle of emotional abuse
The more you progress in the situation, avoid repeating the behaviors that were dominant in the relationship. Be careful not to let someone else fool you. If you fall into the same victimization patterns again, immediately end the relationship with the person. Do not imitate the person who abused you psychologically so that you no longer feel like a victim. You must resist this temptation!
Psychological violence can turn into physical violence. Once the physical violence kicks in, it all gets a lot more complicated. Seek assistance from the police and document all incidents with their date. Use your phone to get photos of your injuries and have a witness who can attest to the sudden physical abuse.