End the Cycle of Abuse: How to Get Out of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Emotionally abusive relationships are an all too common form of relationship abuse that can leave you feeling exhausted, confused, defeated and helpless. This form of an abusive relationship appears more subtle, but is no less serious, leading to long-term psychological harm. Moreover, there are no guarantees that the pattern of abuse will not escalate into more physical forms of abuse.
Recognizing Emotional Relationship Abuse:
But, how do you recognize emotional relationship abuse? According to Katherine Hurst. a contributor for The Law of Attraction, there are 7 signs that are likely indicative of an emotionally abusive relationship. These 7 signs of an abusive relationship are:
- Subtle Threats: These threats aren’t direct and aren’t always overtly violent. Instead an abusive pattern may occur with pressure to comply, threats of suicide (that are empty) or even suggesting that you get help with YOUR mental health. This lattermost tactic is also a form of gaslighting.
- Walking on Eggshells: You feel like you’re walking on eggshells all the time. Tense moments always happen, however when you feel like you may be subject to angry outbursts or overly controlling behavior constantly, it’s time to run, fast!
- Disparaging Humor: A classically emotionally abusive trick which makes you feel useless, be it making you look unintelligent in front of peers or insisting you are useless and ugly only to turn around and claim it was a joke. Whatever you do, don’t fall for this. You are anything but useless. While, laughing at yourself is a good trait to have, but this is carried much too far and is malicious.
- A Daily Emotional Roller Coaster: Sometimes a relationship is not always abusive. It may sometimes be a nightmare to tolerate a partner, and sometimes they will be apologetic, generous and loving to a fault. Sometimes this is deliberately orchestrated as a form of manipulation. Sometimes it’s genuine. If this is the case, the behaviors can be tied to personality disorders. If so, counseling is a viable option.
- You Become Isolated: Emotional abusers are adept at separating a victim from loved ones and friends. Though sometimes motivated by simple jealousy, if you are isolated, you have nobody to see or speak the truth. Furthermore isolation makes leaving an abusive relationship difficult.
- Treated Like A Child: Being treated like you are a child is often part of a controlling manipulator’s agenda to make you feel inferior. Things such as being told you spend too much money when you spent normal amount of money for a normal purchase, or making you ask permission to do normal things outside the house, diminishes your freedom and self-respect and is a perfect example of this emotionally abusive behavior
- Feeling Trapped: When push comes to shove, feeling helpless and trapped in your relationship is a sure sign something is amiss. Even in a relationship with a child, feeling panicked and helpless is a big red flag. If you feel this hopelessly trapped, PLEASE SEEK HELP!
How to Get Out of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship (Safely!)
Now that you’re familiar with some of the major patterns involved in an emotionally abusive relationship, learning about how to escape safely is the next step in the process to recovery. Adriana Velez, lifestyle writer at cafemom hits the nail on the head with her article on 7 steps to escape an abusive relationship safely. This is a summary of the steps listed in her article:
- Get Professional Help: Seek help from an expert! Talk with skilled professionals as soon as it is safe to create a safe escape plan. Make sure it’s someone who specializes in domestic abuse as not all therapists have this expertise.
- Prioritize Your Safety and Plan Ahead: Create a custom safety plan just right for you. Escaping relationship abuse is unique to each person’s situation. You could be around someone who resorts to stalking behavior (or worse) when you leave. It’s best to plan especially for your individual dilemma. Be sure to talk to someone you trust about your plan to review it so you know what to expect. Moreover, discuss all of the possible safety risks. Leaving can escalate abusive behavior and violence, so keep in mind where you might be most vulnerable and take care to address this to keep yourself safe.
- Get the Law on Your Side: Get professional aid with filing a restraining order. A restraining order is a good idea to add some extra legal punch to your case. Ask for a professional domestic abuse counselor to assist you in the process.
- Gather Necessary Things: Slowly bring necessary possessions and supplies to someone else’s house in preparation. A police escort can be asked for to gather possessions when gathering belongings even if an individual isn’t present.
- Safety First: Most of all, consider your safety first! Trust your gut instinct and get away. Get to somewhere safe as soon as possible.
Finally, go to a library, a police station or a safe location with family and friends so you can determine the location of your nearest abuse shelter. Don’t use the telephone or internet at home and make sure you keep in touch with a trusted family member or friend. Knowing the signs of abuse and keeping this advice mind will help keep you safe as you plan to escape an abusive relationship.
Also don’t be shy about calling the National Domestic Abuse Hotline if you feel you are in an abusive or violent relationship. By using every means necessary and possible, you will ensure you keep yourself and your children safe and ensure your long-term happiness and well-being.