In a previous post we talked about the signs of an abusive relationship. When people think of abuse they imagine the victim covered in welts, cuts and bruises. However, someone does not need to be physically assaulted to be the victim of abuse. There is another aspect of abuse, emotional or verbal that can be just as damaging to a victim.
The goal of emotional/verbal abuse (or any type of abuse for that matter) is make the victim feel worthless and dependent on their abuser. Just like all abusers, their goal is to maintain power and control in the relationship, and there are several methods the abuser will use to get it. The abuser may first degrade the victim by name calling, insulting or scolding him or her. The abuser will then reject and detach from the victim by starving him or her of any affection or emotional support. This could result in the victim feeling as if their thoughts and actions were responsible for the abuser’s cold and cruel behavior. This will make most victims willing to do anything to keep the abuser happy and his or her life. This response then allows the abuser to isolate the victim from his or her family, friends or financial resources. This response will also lead the abuser intimidate, terrorize, and ever exploit the victim.
Although an emotionally abused victim may not show any physical signs of abuse, the effects are just as damaging. Emotionally abused victims feel as if they need the abuser in their lives. They feel worthless, depressed, fearful and unworthy of love or respect. They may become socially withdrawn and develop strong feelings of inadequacy. This may lead the victim to turn to alcohol, drugs, gambling or other risky behavior.
Whether it’s emotional or physical, no one deserves to be abused. As I said in the previous post, relationships should be built on mutual respect and love. Your partner should never make you feel worthless or unimportant and vice versa.
If you or someone you know is being abused, please get help. Tell a family member, a friend, someone you trust. If you feel they cannot help or need assistance please call 1800-799-SAFE. Help is out there.