I’ve spoken to many people about this, so far only women. But they have all agreed with me-after any form of abuse, the emotional abuse is what sticks the longest, and is the hardest to overcome.
Part of the reason is no one even knows what it is! We know about physical and sexual abuse because of the News and sensation they cause. But talking about how means someone was to the person they were dating or married to or their children? It’s not as easy to explain and firmly grasp.
The absolute main reason I write these blogs is to inform. It’s crazy how little I knew growing up-so every time I write one of these, I pray it helps someone in need!
Like many other forms of abuse, it can happen to someone in many different ways. With other forms of abuse such as sexual abuse, it can leave the victim feeling dirty and unloved and confused about why they were sexual abused. It creates horrible thoughts in their brain they will have to fight off the rest of their life. Most people say that even after the nightmares stop, even if the fear subsides, the emotional thoughts of their self-worth are the ones that are so hard to pinpoint.
Why? I personally believe it is because of the confusion of our thoughts, to begin with. Since self-esteem is damaged with abuse, the negative thoughts are ever present. Then you have to navigate which ones are real and which ones just the abuse further is having power over you. If the abuse is continuing, more and more thoughts are placed into our minds we have to navigate out as well and it quickly becomes overwhelming. Depression seeps in and anxiety is a normal effect as well.
For me, it is hard to distinguish between emotional abuse and verbal abuse as well.
“Verbal abuse (also known as reviling or “verbal bullying”) is described as a negative defining statement told to the victim or about the victim, or by withholding any response, thereby defining the target as non-existent.”
“Psychological abuse (also referred to as psychological violence, emotional abuse, or mental abuse) is a form of abuse, characterized by a person subjecting, or exposing, another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Verbal abuse is another that is so hard to pinpoint because sometimes people just say mean things. But when it is a daily occurrence or even the norm and a kind word is rare-then I believe you can know, it is verbal abuse-which then causes the emotional abuse.
I think that one of the particularly hard things about this concept-is that it often isn’t illegal. However, my Doctor recently informed me that in the state I live in Emotional Abuse to children under the age of 18 is a crime! Sadly, if you are older it is not considered a crime.
It’s also fairly difficult to treat. I have been to counseling and the emotional abuse is so hard to get rid of because I believe what the emotional abuser told me! If it comes from a reliable source or a person you dearly love, it is that much harder, I think, to recognize the falsehoods in our minds.
Recently I have been reading “Codependent No More” and I have found that working through our minds is the key for me to overcome this type of abuse. There are workbooks that take you step by step to digging deeply into your mind and healing the harms that have been done.
I am still much known to this topic but I felt the need to share my insights and just start with basic awareness. If someone is being continually cruel to you-please seek to counseling. They can help you work out these words floating in your head, give you the validation you aren’t this horrible person the abuser says you are and begin to think and act with your own empowering thoughts.
If you are like me and aren’t able to have counseling right now-check out a local therapy group. We have free ones at my church every week I love to go to and I’ve found it extremely helpful to my growth! (Click here to find a local one near you!)