This is verbal abuse that minimizes or trivializes your feelings, thoughts, or experiences. Following are other subtle types of verbal abuse that are just as damaging as overt forms, particularly because they are harder to detect. Whether disguised as play or jokes, sarcasm or teasing that is hurtful is abusive. They feel guilty and blame themselves. It may not begin until after an engagement, marriage , or pregnancy. Confronting an abuser, especially in a long-term relationship, can be challenging. Being subjected to emotional abuse over time can lead to anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder , depression , inhibited sexual desire, chronic pain , or other physical symptoms. If it feels daunting, you can try a different, educative approach.
When experienced over time, they have an insidious, deleterious effect, because you begin to doubt and distrust yourself. Withholding love , communication, support, or money are indirect methods of control and maintaining power. Passive-aggressive behavior is covert hostility. Following are other subtle types of verbal abuse that are just as damaging as overt forms, particularly because they are harder to detect. Other aspects of the relationship may work well: Then follow up with, "I disagree," or "I don't see it that way," or "I know exactly what I'm doing. To maintain control, some abusers "take hostages," meaning that they may try to isolate you from your friends and family. They are self-centered, impatient, unreasonable, insensitive, unforgiving, and they lack empathy and are often jealous, suspicious, and withholding. It puts you on equal footing and deprives the abuser of the power they seek in belittling you. Emotional abuse may be hard to recognize because it can be subtle, and because abusers often blame their victims. If the abuse stops, a relationship may improve, but for real, positive change, both of you must be willing to risk change. Why is Emotional Abuse Hard to Recognize? Some punish with anger , others with silence — or both. This is crazy-making and manipulative behavior, which leads you to gradually doubt your own memory , perceptions, and experience. In it, a husband used denial in a plot to make his wife believe she was losing her grip on reality. See " How to Spot Manipulation. It often takes the support and validation of a group, therapist, or counselor to be able to consistently stand-up to abuse. Repeating back what is said to you also has an impact, followed by a calm boundary. Usually, both the abuser and the victim in a relationship have experienced shaming in childhood and already have impaired self-esteem. In this way, you set a boundary of how you want to be treated and take back your power. The abuser instead may express affection or make declarations of love and caring. The abuser has won at that point and deflected responsibility for the verbal abuse. See Dealing with a Narcissist: In the extreme, a persistent pattern is called gaslighting, named after the classic Ingrid Bergman movie, Gaslight. If you look back, you may recall tell-tale signs of control or jealousy. Emotional abuse often precedes violence, but is rarely discussed.
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