It can be difficult to differentiate between someone with a bad attitude and someone who is abusive. In an article by Maria Miguel, the issue of emotional abuse is tackled in a lot of detail. In the article, You’re Not Crazy, But Emotional Abuse Can Make You Think You Are, Miguel explains some of the traits and behaviours of an emotionally abusive person to help you identify the situation.
Emotional abuse is described as a form of domestic violence that is not limited to intimate partner relationships. It can come from family members, friends and colleagues.
Miguel unpacks the subtle tactics used by emotional abusers that makes the target doubt themselves about whether they are being abused.
These tactics can include:
- The abuser comes across as a charming, interesting and kind person and so gains the victim’s trust. This is when the manipulation and control start.
- Threats are used as a mind game to manipulate or control the victim.
- Constantly questioning the victim’s decisions and putting them down.
- Teasing you about issues they know are upsetting to you or that they know will bring about a negative emotional reaction.
- This is when they deny your experience or perception of reality. Miguel says that, “when someone tells you enough times that something you remember didn’t happen or that they didn’t say a thing you’re sure they did, or that you said a thing you’re sure you didn’t, you begin to believe that your memory is unreliable.”
- Disregarding your opinions. Your opinions are constantly shot down or you are told to be quiet, implying that your opinion has no value and the abuser hopes you will stop being vocal.
- Victim Blaming – When the abuser tells you that the things that happened are your fault, claiming that the victim always causes issues and starts arguments.
Miguel also explains in detail the emotional abuse cycle and how to stop abuse. To read the full article, click here.