Dealing with Emotionally and Verbally Abusive Relationships

By | May 1, 2021 | |

Recognizing psychological, emotional and verbal abuse can be quite difficult as a survivor, whether you’re sensitized on the matter or not. The signs can be quite underhanded or subtle to notice, while the damage done could very well be equally hurtful as physical abuse, or perhaps, in some cases, even more. 

Recovering from the deeply ingrained scars that toxic relationships and the psychological terror that they leave behind can be very difficult as well and may require therapeutic treatment and counselling, and even psychiatric help in cases where it leads to other mental health complications. 

Emotional, mental and verbal abuse are also the most underreported forms of abuse; while emotional abuse is also the most common kind of abuse. They’re categorized by the most debilitating and harrowing experiences that have the most long lasting effects. 

It can happen in both close and impersonal relationships. In most cases, the abuser is the victim’s significant other, i.e their partner. However, the abuser can also be the victim’s:

  • Parent
  • Business partner or colleague
  • Close friend
  • Relative or close family member
  • Caretaker

Such abusers tend to maintain a persistent pattern of behaviour that deteriorates a person’s sense of self esteem, self confidence and mental well being, as well as they make the victim doubt their perceptions of reality. Being in an emotionally abusive relationship or a verbally abusive relationship can also lead to having relationship anxiety, which refers to constant feelings of insecurity, worry, hopelessness, helplessness and stress even if things are going relatively well. 

Signs and Types of Abuse in A Relationship

Abusers tend to use many tactics to gain control in a relationship. This kind of disequilibrium of power in a relationship can be seen when the victimizers are trying to manipulate a person through the means of psychological, verbal, mental, and emotional abuse. These signs and types of abuse are listed below: 

  • Verbal Abuse: This involves yelling, insulting, and hurling curses at the victim
  • Gaslighting: This involves manipulation of truth to make the victim doubt their own feelings, thoughts and sanity
  • Isolation: Abusers limit the victim’s contact with other family or friends, and restrict their mobility and movement. They might not let the victim go out and do the things that they normally do. This symptom overlaps with those of social abuse. 
  • Humiliation and degradation: This involves name-calling, public embarrassment or humiliation, and telling the victim that they’re stupid and blaming them for all the toxicity in the relationship
  • Rejection: Abusers tend to entirely reject all the ideas, thoughts and opinions of the victim
  • Intimidation: Abusers will make the victim feel afraid, fearful and threatened. They’ll purposefully say things that hurt the victim. 
  • Financial Abuse: This may involve stealing or withholding the victim’s finances, and not letting the victim work or be productive. This is a form of domestic violence. 
  • Codependence: A codependent relationship creates a symbiotic dynamic in which everything that you do is a response to the perpetrator’s demands and manipulations, at the same time, everything that the victim does is to boost their self-esteem and gain control over you. You may feel very unhappy in the relationship and may have to deal with the abuser’s extreme mood swings and may have to make a lot of sacrifices to please the person that you’re with. 

Measures to Deal With Abusive Relationship

Once a person has recognized that they are being emotionally or verbally abused, it is time to take action and finally find the way out of the abusive situation. Confronting and acknowledging what you’re experiencing for what it is helps the victim to take back the control of their lives. Following are a few steps on how to do the same: 

  • Prioritizing Your Mental and Physical Health: 

Recognize the fact that your mental and physical health are of prime importance no matter which situation you are in. Remember, the “I” is important. Prioritize yourself over pleasing the person who’s trying to manipulate and control you. The abusers generally tend to tamper with the victim’s sense of sympathy and make them neglect their own well being to take care of the abuser. So, put a stop on this unhealthy cycle and break the pattern. Eat enough healthy meals and a well balanced diet, give yourself enough time to relax during the day and spend time with your friends and family, no matter what your abuser says. 

  • Set Boundaries: 

Take a firm stand and tell the person who is emotionally abusing you to stop manipulating you, stop calling you names, stop being rude to you and stop overly criticizing you. Let them know what will happen if they do not put an end to their abusive behaviour; this may mean that you’ll have to cut your ties with this person and end your relationship with them. 

  • Exit Plan: 

Work on an exit plan with those that you love and rely upon, and take action when the time is right. Now that you have recognized that you are in an abusive situation, you must maintain a plan on how to get yourself out of that dynamic. Discuss your thoughts with a trusted friend, family member, counsellor or therapist. At the same time, make sure that you give yourself enough time and space to heal from the long term effects of emotional abuse. 

  • Seek Professional Help: 

It is important to reach out for long term professional help in the form of therapy, support groups, and healthy friendships and relationships to help strengthen your sense of self and help you recover. Remember that you are not alone. 

How Incontact Can Help:

We are a team of extensively trained and experienced mental health professionals who can help you deal with the mental and emotional effects of abuse with our eclectic approach. We hold specializations in EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and systemic approaches (among others), and at the same time we utilize an eclectic approach in order to personalize the treatment to your unique needs. Overcoming the effects of abuse and stepping out of an abusive relationship itself take a lot of courage and strength. Remember that you don’t have to walk this path alone. Feel free to contact us and book an appointment as soon as you feel comfortable.

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