About Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is a form of manipulation used to maintain control in a relationship. This type of abuse may include verbal attacks, humiliation, intimidation, bullying, and isolation. It can cause deep emotional harm that may last for years.
Abuse is often defined as threatening behavior designed to subjugate another human being. Emotional abuse uses negative feelings like fear, guilt, and shame to control a person. Common tactics include insults, threats, coercion, and criticism. Another common technique is gaslighting, in which one person convinces the other to doubt their own memories. Emotional abuse can overlap with physical and sexual abuse, or it can appear on its own.
In some relationships, partners might emotionally abuse each other. In other relationships, the abuse goes one way. Abuse may wax and wane, being more frequent or intense at some times and less intense during other periods.
Emotional abuse can be difficult to identify if it is not blatant. Some people excuse their abuser’s behavior, blaming it on a bad mood. Since emotional abuse often causes low self-esteem, the person may think they deserve their poor treatment. If someone experiences gaslighting, they may even believe they imagined the abuse.
A person's behavior may fall into the category of emotional abuse when:
The behavior does not stop or even pause when the recipient begins crying or asks for time to cool down. In fact, abuse may escalate as the recipient of the abuse becomes more vulnerable and upset.
The behavior is frequent, occurring several times a month or more.
The person uses vulgar and demeaning language, or they make baseless accusations.
“Arguments” are one-sided: one person does all the talking and never listens.
The person threatens violence.
The person does not apologize after engaging in abusive behavior.
The person who is abusive will not recognize the validity of anything their victim says.
Sexual abuse or physical abuse is also present.
It is important to note that behavior may be abusive even if none of these factors are recognized. However, if any of these factors are present on more than the rarest of occasions, emotional abuse may be taking place.
Emotional Abuse Treatment and Therapy
Emotional abuse treatment and therapy are available to help either one or both parties in the abusive situation. Emotional abuse treatment might be sought after experiencing emotional abuse in a personal relationship or even at work. In abusive situations, abusive behavioral and thought patterns tend to become deep-rooted over time and emotional abuse therapy can address this and work to create healthy, functional relationships in the future.
Emotional Abuse Treatment for the Victim
Emotional abuse treatment for the victim has a better chance of being successful but only if the victim is prepared to be as open and honest as possible about the abuse. Many emotional abuse victims hide the abuse or the extent of the abuse, even from therapists, due to their own shame and guilt. An emotional abuse therapist though can only help when they truly understand the problem.
When seeking emotional abuse therapy, it's important to remember:
The abuse is not your fault, you did nothing wrong
Feeling guilt and shame over the abuse is normal but it isn't warranted
The desire to hide the details of the abuse is normal but will be counterproductive in treatment
Even if you don't leave the abuser, it's okay to get help
Emotional Abuse Treatment for the Abuser
Sometimes, the victim is able to coerce the abuser into emotional abuse treatment either in a couple or individual therapy setting. This is rarely helpful and can actually harm the relationship. In couple's therapy, the abuser has the chance to misrepresent themselves, paint themselves as a victim and charm the therapist into believing there is nothing wrong with them and indicating that the victim has all the problems. Most abusers are skilled manipulators and quite capable of getting a therapist, particularly one not specializing in emotional abuse, on their side.
Only if the emotional abuser acknowledges that they have a problem with emotional abuse and are prepared to openly deal with it can emotional abuse therapy even have a chance to be successful. Most emotional abusers are not prepared to admit their behavior to a therapist, however.
Collaborative Therapeutic Services (CTS) seeks to maximize clients’ options by offering a variety of services, hours, and service providers with diverse specializations. We offer evening & weekend appointments. Have questions? Contact Us Here or Call 813-951-7346. Located in Tampa, Florida.