Does your partner emotionally abuse you? Emotional abuse is often a sign of narcissistic abuse and can be subtle and difficult to recognize. But this type of abuse can erode your feelings of self-worth and chip away at the happiness you deserve. How can you recognize the signs of narcissistic abuse so you can take steps to protect yourself?
An abusive person shows their tendency for violence in many ways. They may punch walls, kick the dog, break down doors, or show other violent behavior. Some forms of violence, however, are less obvious. Emotional violence can be just as dangerous and destructive. Below are some basic indicators of narcissistic and emotional abuse.
Emotional and narcissistic abuse often manifest in these ways:
1 – Isolation. Sometimes, a person in a relationship can become possessive. A possessive person tells you they care about your safety, and that their possessive behavior proves that they love you. Taken to the extreme, possessiveness causes you to isolate yourself from the people you know and love. The goal of isolation is to control you by breaking down your emotional will to resist.
Isolation is employed by cult leaders to prevent their followers from having contact with outsiders, including their family and friends. Similarly, narcissists try to isolate their partners in order to deprive them of social support, thereby weakening their defenses and making them more dependent on the narcissist.
Additionally, the desire to isolate could be caused by a partner’s insecurity. They may project that insecurity onto you by trying to control everything you do, who you meet, and where you go. They may try to make you feel guilty for enjoying yourself or making friends. However, it’s important to remember not to cater to this excessive insecurity because it’s dysfunctional and you will lose yourself in the process.
2 – Verbal abuse. Regular verbal attacks on your character and value destroys your self-esteem. Continuous verbal assaults may cause you to put aside your most important ideals and beliefs.
Verbal abuse is characterized by critical or humiliating remarks about you as a person. If your partner continuously puts you down and makes you feel unworthy of self-respect, this is a warning sign that something is definitely wrong. Verbal abuse may escalate into sexual or physical abuse if you avoid taking action to protect yourself.
It’s also one of the biggest indicators of narcissistic abuse. When a narcissist becomes abusive, it’s likely you will start having errors in thinking because of the constant verbal abuse.
You might never feel like you can get a word in and that you’re never really heard. Your comments are likely to be ignored or invalidated.
3 – Financial abuse. Unless you’re financially independent, you don’t want to leave your finances vulnerable to a partner with abusive tendencies. They may deny you access to funds, refuse to allow you to work outside the home or spend money irresponsibly and blame the financial struggles on you.
What to Do
If you’re the victim of continuous emotional abuse within your relationship, the most important steps are to recognize the abuse and know that it is wrong. This can be a challenge for anyone who has been emotionally bullied over a period of time.
You are worthy of respect, and you can live a life that is free from the emotional abuse of your partner. Think honestly about your relationship and ask yourself these questions:
If you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, take steps to change your circumstances. Seek friends who build you up and affirm that you’re valuable, and spend time with those friends. Whatever you do, don’t try to do it alone. You will need ongoing support, a coach, and a healing program to keep you on track.
If you decide to leave an emotionally abusive relationship, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself. If you choose to walk away, remember that the abuse may continue.
Take these necessary steps to protect yourself:
Remember that you are valuable. Anyone who makes you feel otherwise can only do so if you fail to put a stop to it. Enlist the help of emotionally strong, positive friends. Take action. Protect yourself. Replace emotional abuse with strength and confidence in your self-worth.
Nothing will change in our lives until we change our own behavior. Insight won’t do it. Understanding why we do the self-defeating things we do won’t make us stop doing them. Nagging and pleading with the other person to change won’t do it. We have to act. We have to take the first step down a new road.”
― Susan Forward, Emotional Blackmail
Building the Courage to Leave
When you’re in an abusive relationship, it can be difficult to see the way out. However, you don’t have to be trapped in a relationship with an abusive partner. People leave their abusive partners and start their healed lives every day.
Discover how to separate yourself from them in a safe way by using these strategies:
5. Go with the flow of the healing process. Don’t rush yourself or be hard on yourself when you feel doubt creeping in.
You don’t have to stay with an abusive partner out of fear. Relationships can be difficult to end, but it’s not impossible. Figure out a way to escape and leave them, even if you need someone to help you do it. There are resources and people who can help you get out of your abusive situation and get started on a healthier life.
Need further clarification on whether you’re with an emotionally abusive narcissist? Sign up for your free action guide below, Handling Verbal & Emotional Abuse From Your Partner – A Case Study.
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Kim Saeed is a narcissistic abuse recovery expert on a mission to help abuse survivors to heal, find purpose, and live joyfully after No Contact. She also hosts a podcast called Heal, Grow, Evolve, where she aims to help people create meaningful lives and relationships after emotional abuse. Listen and subscribe at www.healgrowevolvewithkim.com