In layman terms, abuse is simply an act of exploitation. Such exploitation is observed quite often in different spheres of life. It is common to hear that someone used their power to get things done their way even if it was unfair, that is a form of abuse of power. It is also common to hear that someone misused prescription drugs for recreational purposes, which is also categorized as drug abuse. In this section however, the focus is on the kind of abuse that occurs in relationships.
When there is an element of abuse in relationships, one is the dominant perpetrator while the other is the victim. The perpetrator is the one who hails the hurt while the victim suffers the damage. The damage even when physical, verbal or sexual in nature tends to cause harm at an emotional level. Abuse is a form of an emotional wound that stays with the individual and impacts their personality. There are many different types of abuse but here are the most common types:
1. Emotional Abuse
2. Physical Abuse
3. Verbal Abuse
4. Sexual Abuse
It comprises of a set of behaviors aimed at ridiculing a victim.Even though the specific behaviors that fall under emotional abuse are hard to pin down, as they tend to change form in different relationships, there are certain characteristics that generally constitute emotional abuse. Listed ahead are some types of behaviors evident in emotional abuse:
1. Biting and bitter remarks: There are times when people say things with the intent of hurting. Answer the following and see if you have ever been at the receiving end of emotional abuse. Has your spouse ever called you names? Has your friend ever made a rude comment that was uncalled for? Did a teacher ever shoot down your response calling it stupid or dumb? These are just a handful of questions and shockingly enough, there is no way to build an exhaustive list to indicate what falls under emotional abuse. Although these questions are basic but when you sit and try to answer them, thinking about the time when the incident took place; it gives rise to discomfort, low self-esteem and low mood.
2. Terrorizing: Think of a time period when there was a disagreement and your spouse raised their voice. What was their intent? Was it to end the argument or put their point across? Whatever the intent might be, the aim was to intimidate you to give up your point. Similarly, has your parent ever screamed at you or threatened to humiliate you in front of your friends if you don’t listen to them? Emotional abuse is involved in all these instances where domination is achieved by belittling the victim.
3. Control: When your parents, spouse or friends want updates about your life, it is generally out of care, love and the desire to keep up with you. However, there are times when such behavior becomes intrusive in nature and the need to dominate makes it suffocating and toxic.Think about the time when your spouse shortlisted the people who you can be friends with and other who you should not be friends with.How did it feel? Or the time when your spouse or parents prevented you from attaining and sustaining a job? It was controlling and intrusive behavior that makes one feel as if their freedom and independence has been hijacked. The need to dominate is also noticed in other relationships where the dominant one tries to take over every aspect of the victim’s life.
4. Emotional blackmail: This is the most common type of behavior in emotional abuse. Has your spouse ever threatened to kill themselves? Have your parents ever threatened to leave the house and abandon you? Has anyone ever tried to be dominant by playing with your emotions? Emotional blackmail is a manipulation technique adopted on purpose to dominate the situation or an individual.
The aforementioned are just a handful of aspects involved in emotional abuse. However, it is important to separately discuss emotional abuse in a parent-child relationship.Emotional abuse can be held synonymous to neglect by parents. When parents adopt a style of parenting that is either too careless or too rigid, it can lead to emotional abuse. To make this point clear, image a child whose parents are careless about their roles. Has the child eaten? Are they doing well at school? -They do not tend to care. The lack of connection with parents, a lack of praise from them and the sense that ‘I don’t have anything to look forward to when I go home’- is a form of emotional neglect. On the other hand, imagine a child whose parents control every aspect of their life: from eating habits to friendships to career path. This type of rigid control is also a form of emotional neglect because the child does not get a chance to express themselves or be themselves in any way. Both the above are categorized as types of emotional abuses in a parent-child relationship.
Emotional abuse is an emotional ill-treatment that attacks the self-esteem, self-worth, confidence and the other aspects of a person’s life. It makes an individual feel anxious, frightened and low. The right thing to do is recognize if you are emotionally abusing someone or if you are at the receiving end of emotional abuse. Connect with us if you feel emotionally drained in a relationship and need help.
Other Abuses also involve Emotional pain, read more