When you love the emotional abuser so much you won't leave - Love and Abuse - Manipulation and Emotional Abuse Guide to Difficult Relationships (2022)

When you love the emotional abuser so much you won't leave - Love and Abuse - Manipulation and Emotional Abuse Guide to Difficult Relationships (1)When you are in love with the person mistreating you, is there a way to improve the relationship? Can you make them understand how much they’re hurting you? And if you did, would it change the situation?

In this episode, I read an email from someone whose emotional abuse turned into physical abuse, but she doesn’t want to leave him because she loves him so much.

Transcript follows

If you’re a brand new reader / listener to Love and Abuse, I want to let you know that this show was created mainly because people in toxic relationships have the hardest time identifying what’s going on in the relationship. Sometimes they’re not able to identify the symptoms of emotional abuse, manipulation and control, and all the other little nuances or negativity that can appear in a toxic relationship.

You can be in the toxic soup of a relationship and not even know you’re in it. You just think, “Oh, we had another fight.”, “He never believes me.”, “She always gets mad about this or that”, or “I’m always in the doghouse with this person.” You think it’s just normal difficulty in your relationship.

It is difficult, but there could be more going on.

I created this show to make sure that you know the signs of real toxic behavior. I’m talking about behavior that is designed to emotionally scar you for a long time sometimes. There are a lot of people in emotionally scarring relationships.

When I was married, I feel that I scarred my ex-wife emotionally. Near the end, I was able to make up for some of that, but I put her through some really tough stuff. In my marriage, my specialty, if you want to call it that, was guilting. I could make my wife feel guilty. And that’s very emotionally abusive.

We think that’s just a relationship difficulty, or at least some people think that’s just something that happens in relationships. Some people just think, “Oh, my partner made me feel guilty.”

We don’t even say that, we just feel it. You might say to yourself, I feel guilty for what I did. When it happens over and over again, you might have a pattern of emotional abuse.

I came up with this show to help you identify toxic behavior and poisonous communication so that you understand what you’re in – so that you have a choice.

Sometimes we think, “Well, I got married, so I’m stuck. And this is how it’s going to be.” Maybe you think, “I’m in this relationship and I don’t want to be in this relationship, but there’s nothing better for me out there.”

Your partner might say, “You’ll never find anything better.” That’s an emotionally abusive comment!

“You’ll never find anything better than this. You’re too old, you’ve gained too much weight, you’re not that attractive. You’re lucky to be here.”

If you don’t know (and you should know) but if you don’t know, those are emotionally abusive comments. Comments like that are designed to keep you where you are, so that the other person can keep you in their control space, just to have a partner for themselves that they can have dominion over.

These may not be the right terms, but maybe they are. Maybe there are people out there that want to control you this much. And when you’re under their control, they feel like they’re in control of their life, which makes them feel better. Because now they have everything they want, and they’ll make sure that you’re doing everything that they want you to do.

You don’t know what you’re in sometimes. It’s like being in the fishbowl not knowing there’s a whole world outside that fishbowl. “This is my world. I’m inside this fishbowl, and this is my life right now, so there’s nothing I can do.”

There’s a lot you can do.

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There’s a lot more you can do when you’re in a bad situation, most of the time. I realize there are exceptions to this. Sometimes we do feel stuck, sometimes we literally are stuck. I don’t want you to fool yourself. Try not to fool yourself into thinking that you’re stuck when there really are options, but maybe they’re too unpleasant to think about. But there are options.

There are options that we sometimes don’t want to face because facing them might mean a life change that we don’t want to deal with, or that we’re too afraid of going through.

It’s that step into the abyss. And we have no idea what’s on the other side, so we dare not take that route.

I want you to know that when you limit yourself to thatfishbowl and you see only this reality and you think this is all there is andthis is all there will ever be, I’m just going to have to live with it, you’rewrong. It’s just not the way things are. We limit ourselves in so many waysbecause we think this is how it will always be, and it’ll never be anydifferent. And it can be.

I want you to be okay being wrong. I want you to be okaywith the idea. If you have the thought that you’re living in this fishbowl andthere’s nothing outside of this reality and you’re not happy, I want you to beokay that you’re wrong, that there are more options. There are more options andthe options aren’t always pleasant to think about, but they exist.

The reason I’m talking about this, about having options, is that I received an email in May of 2019, and I created an episode on it called, Are they for real: Is it all lies and deception or are you just going nuts? It was based on an email from someone I called Janet.

Janet said, “I know he’s being emotionally abusive, and I’m contemplating on what I can do with my life. And he gets really angry when I talk about trying to improve the relationship or something that I’m questioning him about, and I don’t know what to do, but I’m just reaching out to run it by you.”

I created a whole episode on that, and it might be important to listen to that one first before this one, but it doesn’t matter. All of these episodes can stand alone, but I received another email from Janet, who said sadly:

I’m back with nothing good to say as far as my relationship when we last spoke. I admit I did not listen to what you suggested for me to do and things got worse. This love thing is really hard and will make you easily care for others more than you do for yourself.”

She goes on to say, “I ended up moving in with my boyfriend. The communication isn’t there from him. He continues to say that I am the problem and it’s turned into physical abuse after I nag too much when only trying to fix an issue or a problem within the relationship. I also admit at this point, I’m stupid to still be here, but I don’t have the willpower to leave. I love him too much. I think I can’t imagine my life without him. I don’t know when enough is enough.

I tried to go to couple’s counseling, but he says that I am the problem and he has no issues. I really need help. I want to recover, aid and save my relationship, but honestly, I think I keep looking for excuses to stay. What I would have wanted was to see a pastor or spiritual person with my boyfriend, so that he can finally see how things are also his fault, and that he isn’t perfect. And just hope that he finally changes.

As I wrote in my first email to you, I did leave him before, which was a surprise to him, but I think I came back too quick to the relationship. I really don’t know why I’m messaging you when I know the answer. I think I just like to discuss, hoping for you to push me to fly back home to my family. I’ve been praying to God and really putting this in his hands.

How can I save this? He gets an attitude when I try to communicate and talk through issues that I see. If I ask too many of the same questions, because I think he doesn’t tell me how he honestly feels, he ignores me. I mean, it can go on for 10 or 15 minutes acting like I’m not even there, and to me, it’s a sign of no respect.

I think he’s going to propose to me soon, because he started building rapport with my dad and most likely he’s going to ask for my hand in marriage. At this point, I want to say no, the relationship isn’t healthy. And how can there be a good relationship when he thinks I’m the only issue?

I don’t have enough money to see a psychologist myself, so I do appreciate you, Paul, I don’t want to skip out on my new job here either, because I may not get the same back in my hometown as quick. I’m behind in life, I feel. I’m not even independent yet, and my birthday is next month. Abuse will not be tolerated with me and I don’t know how to be taken serious with that statement.”

Janet threw a lot at me in this email, and I’ve thrown it over to you. And I’m sure some of you are screaming through your podcast players right now, saying certain things to Janet to support her, to send her in a good direction and to give her the advice that you know to be true, and that will help. This is a tough one because she says she doesn’t have the willpower to leave.

Janet, you’re in a space right now of such brain fog thatyou cannot see outside that fishbowl. You cannot see that there are so manyoptions for you because you don’t want to take the chance. You don’t want totake the risk. In fact, you are risking on the side of abuse instead of theunknown. And to me, I don’t like taking those kinds of risks.

If I know one evil, terrible path is going to lead to some abusive behavior, then I’m going to take the other path, regardless, even if I don’t know where the other path leads, because I know this path leads to abuse.

That’s the first thing I want to say to you Janet, is that it’s important to understand that you already know one path leads to abuse, and you have no idea what the other path is, but it’s not the abuse. I’m not saying it couldn’t be abuse in another form but at least it’s not the abuse you know you’re going to receive if you stick around.

You mentioned physical abuse. If this has already turned into physical abuse, it doesn’t get better. It only gets worse.

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It only gets worse! I was reading a statistic in Patricia Evans’ book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship that says 90% of emotionally abusive relationships turn into physical abuse. I don’t know how accurate that is because there are levels of emotional abuse that never turn into physical abuse but it’s important to understand that statistic if you’re in any type of emotionally abusive relationship that seems to be getting worse.

It could happen in any relationship, absolutely. But usually, it’s the progression of emotional abuse, to physical abuse… to what? What’s the next step after that?

How much worse can it get? You don’t want to find out.

You’re asking me, “Maybe you can push me to fly home or something like that.” I can’t, but I want to. My personal viewpoint about this is a lot different than my professional viewpoint. If you and I were having coffee, and we were good friends, I would say, “Get the hell away.” That’s what I would say, because physical abuse doesn’t stop and it only gets worse.

Eventually, you’ll be so traumatized or worse. You could end up hurt in the hospital and you’ll be even more unreachable, not only from others, but from yourself. You need to be aware that the more you expose yourself to this toxic environment, the more unreachable you become. You become so distant, so far away from yourself and others, you won’t be able to connect with yourself anymore. It becomes all about your subservience to the abuser.

When you’re under that type of control, you lose. You weretalking about willpower; you lose your willpower. If you don’t have any now,you’re not going to have any later, it’s not going to get better, it’s onlygoing to get worse.

There’s so much I can comment on here, but I need you to listen to my episodes on The Overwhelmed Brain on self-worth, self-esteem, self-love, self-compassion. It all has to focus back on you; otherwise, you’re going to lose connection with yourself, if you haven’t already. It’s still there, I can tell in your email it’s still there. But it only gets worse. It doesn’t get better.

If you didn’t listen to me before, you have to listen to me now. You have to.

There are very, very few times when I will tell someone that they need to get out of the relationship, because it’s not my choice. It’s your choice. It’s still is your choice. If you want to reconnect with yourself and realize that you are worth so much more than being hurt the way you are, you need to get away from those who are hurting you.

When you’re in a relationship like this, it’s like telling yourself, “I love people that abuse me. I love people that don’t care if I’m hurt by their words or actions. I love people that actually want to hurt me.”

You need to really soak that in because if that is your belief system, then this has nothing to do with your relationship. This has everything to do with some faulty programming that was drilled into you at a younger age.

You need to start diving into yourself so that you can starthealing from that, so that you don’t see mistreatment and abuse as love. Youhave to get out of that mindset.

You’re probably in a space of, “I love this person so much because when he’s great, he gives me so much and he makes me feel special.” Healthy people do that, too. It’s just that now you’re with someone and you may think you can only get it from that person. And that’s simply not true. You’re still in the fishbowl. If you believe that you can’t get all the good stuff that he provides from someone else, you’re mistaken. You’re in the fog, and the fog needs to lift.

The only way the fog can lift is by working on yourself, byfocusing on yourself, by realizing you’re not capable of saving therelationship. You’re not.

You have no power or ability to save this relationship.

I’m not saying it can’t be saved. I’m not saying someday in the future, he’ll have an epiphany and he’ll be enlightened and figure out, “Wow, I’ve been a jerk all this time. I need help,” and then he gets the help. I’m saying right now, the way it is today is not going to change if you don’t change.

You’re the one who has to change.

He needs to change, too, but he needs to change for him, not for the relationship. He needs to change for himself, not for you. You won’t be able to convince him of that. The only way you can make him realize that you won’t tolerate his behavior, like you said at the end of your email, “abuse will not be tolerated with me, and I don’t know how to be taken seriously with that statement.”

If you want to be taken seriously, you have to show him that you won’t tolerate it, by making him accountable. What does that mean? It means that as long as you’re in the relationship, he’ll realize that you are tolerating it.

There’s your dilemma: You don’t want the abuse, but you stay in the relationship.

By staying in the relationship, what you’re saying is, “It’s okay if you abuse me because I won’t leave.” I know you don’t believe that. I know you don’t want to think that’s true, but it is. Put that in perspective.

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“I’m going to show you that your behavior is not that bad. And how am I going to do that? I’m going to stick around. I’m going to stay by your side. I’m going to continue working on this, showing you that abuse is okay.”

That’s the message he’s receiving.

This has nothing to do with your willpower to want to leave or not. Nothing. This has everything to do with how you view yourself as so inferior and so unworthy, that you believe the only way to be with someone is if they’re mistreating you.

You do need to talk to someone, but not together. You needto talk to someone alone because this is your journey. This isn’t arelationship journey for you, this is a personal journey.

For you to stay in a situation that you continue to be hurt by, you continue to be held back from being the best version of you possible, for you to allow someone to control you to this extent, and you showing that you will tolerate the abuse by staying, tells the abuser that no matter how angry or upset or sad or hurt you get, it will never be enough for him to stop.

I’ve seen this over and over and over again. I would say a good 95% of the relationships that I’ve seen where the person finally leaves the abuser, is when the abuser says, “Oh, there’s accountability for my actions, I better do something about that.” This is only if the abuser wants to heal. There’s a good percentage of them out there that don’t want to heal, and the abuser always blames the other person. That’s where you are.

The abuser is blaming you for their abusive behavior. The abuser is blaming you for the relationship falling apart when the actual blame needs to go to the abuser. You know this. You told me, “I need for him to see that this is also his fault.” He’s not going to see it. I’m going to tell you the same thing I told you in the first episode. He’s not going to change. This behavior doesn’t change, it only gets worse.

I know I’m being hard on you and I apologize about that. I want you to understand that there are thousands of people right now that are supporting you, that are rooting for you, that want you to be in a better situation. Some of them have gotten out of toxic relationships and finally saw outside the fishbowl and the fog finally lifted. They asked themselves, “What was I thinking? What was I thinking?”

My mom went through that and she asked herself that same question. She said, “What was I thinking? I can’t believe I stayed married to him for so long.”

The only way to get out of that mindset is to separate from the person and be away from them for a long enough period of time, so that their influence no longer has control over you. Where their influence doesn’t seep into your every thought. Where you are exposed to their influence, good or bad, so that you get sucked back in.

You do have to withdraw. It’s like a drug; you want the drugbecause you’re addicted to the feeling that it gives you. Then when you’re offthe drug, you go through withdrawal and you want more, and it makes you feellike crap when you’re off of it. Then you go back and forth with it. You needto sober yourself from the toxic person long enough so that you can detox, sothat you can get into a space that is clean. You need to clean yourenvironment, that means cleaning your mind. That means focusing on yourself.

This has nothing to do with saving the relationship, you can’t do it. It takes two people to save it, each doing 100%. Yes, 200% into the relationship, you are 100% they are 100%. You both work on the relationship. It’s never one person’s problem, it always requires both partners. The thing is you can’t convince him of that, he will always believe it’s your fault because some people just don’t want to lose that control.

Right now, he has control over you and it’s only going to get worse. I don’t have much good news for you unless you’re willing to take risks, and I don’t even see much of a risk here.

If you stay, it’s a risk. If you leave, it’s a chance.

That’s the only choice I see. If you stay, you’re risking your health and your sanity. If you leave, you have a chance. That’s what I see. At minimum, talk to someone.

The longer you try to change someone else, the more you take away from being able to heal yourself and finally see what you need to do. You can’t tell what you need to do until you start focusing on yourself. The more you stay focused on the other person, the more you want them to change, the longer it’s going to take for you to find happiness and peace within yourself.

In fact, if after you focus on yourself and focus on self-love and self-compassion, and listen to those episodes I’ve done on all of these topics such as self-worth and self-respect – After you’ve done all that, and you’ve really connected with yourself again, then look at the type of relationship you want.

I can almost guarantee you that when you get into a space in which you love yourself, and you know you’re important and you know you’re worthy, you won’t want to be within 1000 miles of a relationship like that again. And you’ll finally realize what love is.

Thank you for writing, Janet. I wish you much strength and determination through this. You’ll get through this. My advice is don’t think, just do. Just do what’s right for you.

***

Shortly after I recorded this episode, “Janet” wrote back with this update:

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I gained the strength to purchase a flight ticket back home. I don’t think I could have left on my own willpower. I had one family member on my side and one family member on his side, telling me to leave. And I think that’s what really pushed me. I’m just curious to know, what if they didn’t know? Would I have been strong enough to make that move back home on my own? Now, the next steps are to move on and forget about this person that I want to fight for me back in his life. I realize how messed up this sounds, but that’s how I’m feeling.”

I want to tell you this, thank you so much for writing back and giving me that update. I didn’t even have a chance to tell you that I created this episode yet, so I wanted to follow up on your update and say good for you. This is a step that you initiated, that you felt empowered enough to do. Regardless of who pushed you into it, who motivated you, you still took the steps to do it. You initiated this, you had the strength to leave, and the hardest part sometimes is taking the steps that you need to take for you so that you become healthier.

I wanted to tell you that first and foremost, is that youhave the strength in you to make decisions like this and take action like this.When you take action, it means that you care about yourself, and you wantbetter for yourself. I also understand that you wanted this relationship towork.

In my opinion, leaving helps the relationship become what it needs to be because it gives both of you a chance to look at your lives and figure out what you need to do for you. He needs to figure out what he needs to do for him, and you need to figure out what you need to do for you. While you’re in the fishbowl together, you can’t see your problems from the real world looking into that fishbowl. In other words, you can’t tell what you’re in when you’re in it.

I’m just going to give you a heads up, while you’re apart, you’re going to feel the draw. You’re going to feel the pull back toward him and back toward the relationship. What history shows is that he will now become the person you want him to be, at least in appearance. I want you to be very aware of this, because when someone is being emotionally abusive, and they lose control of that which they are controlling, they will play to your empathy and compassion. They will play it to the point where you feel so reconnected to them, that you’ll invite them back into your life.

That’s what can happen often. I want you to be aware that this is part of the process. I want you to know that the average length of time for you to become clear, when leaving any type of abusive relationship, is about two months. That varies from person to person. Some people will feel better in a week, and they will think, “What the heck was I thinking? I’ll never go back to that situation again.” Some people will take a little longer. I’ve seen on average, when someone leaves an emotionally abusive relationship, it takes about two months for your head to clear and for you to start thinking straight again and to start thinking outside the sphere of influence that you were in.

While you’re away, it’s very likely he’s going to reach out to you and apologize. He’s going to want to get back together and say things like, “I’ll get help. I’ll do whatever it takes to have you back in my life.” These are all part of his dysfunction. What I mean by that, and I’m not trying to put him down, I don’t know anything about him except what you’ve explained, but his dysfunction is wanting you back in his life before he’s healed.

I’ve done this in my own life. I wasn’t healed and I needed to heal because the reason for the breakup in the first place was something I was doing. I wanted the people in my life back so badly because I needed someone to provide me happiness instead of seeking it on my own. Instead of knowing that the source of my happiness wasn’t outside of me, it was inside. Not that other people can’t make you happy, but when you look for one person to be the sole source of your happiness, it can be very dysfunctional.

If someone sees you as their sole source of happiness, they will often attempt to get you under their control. If that happens, you get into this weird dynamic called trauma bonding, where there’s love and control, emotional abuse, manipulation, blaming, accusing and the guilting. All of these components that make up an emotionally abusive relationship, and also make up the craziness that you can feel of not knowing what to do next and not knowing what to say, and not knowing how to convince him that it’s equal work in the relationship.

Two people have to work at it to make the relationship great.

Coming back to what I said, you just have to be aware that he will probably do everything in his power to make you feel compassionate and empathetic toward him. It’s going to hurt and it’s going to feel pretty bad. You’re going to feel like reaching out to him. You’re going to feel like responding to everything that he sends you, you’re going to feel like answering the phone, and you’re going to feel like talking it out. You’re going to be so desperate to hear the words that you want to hear, and those words are, “I’m sorry, it’ll never happen again, I promise I’ll change.”

You just have to watch out for that because those are the words that we all want to hear whenever something like this happens. Sometimes these are desperate actions taken by a desperate person to get someone back under their control. You do have to keep your compassion and your empathy in check.

What I mean by that is don’t automatically give in to the temptation to connect, because someone who really cares about you is going to want to stop hurting you. Someone who really cares about you is also going to realize that they were hurting you and that they do need help.

They need help. Not to be a better person for you, but for them. What that means is you want to hear things like “You know what, it’s a good thing you left because I need to work on myself. You were so right about me.”

That’s what you’re looking for. But you don’t want to just hear the words, you want to see it happen as well.

You may not have any communication with him whatsoever, and I think that’s healthy. After the two months, when your head is clear, then it’s safer for you, it’s safer for you to reconnect* (if you even want to go that route). What normally happens is that after that fog lifts, and the person that’s been in that situation starts realizing, “Oh, these are my thoughts without this person around. This is clarity. This is how it feels to think in a healthy way.” Then the longing and the pining for the other person’s approval or the other person’s validation, or the other person to just ‘get it’ disappears.

You may be in that space I’m talking about in which you long for that validation, looking for that acknowledgement, and hoping that he realizes what he did, so that he actually makes the changes he needs to make. These changes take time. Even if he starts seeing a therapist or working on himself in some way, these changes take time. Until he gets to a certain point, it’s vital that you don’t get into that sphere of influence again, because once you’re in that sphere of influence, then you’re filling those gaps in yourself of self-worth, self-esteem, self-love and self-compassion.

Someone like that will know how to fill those gaps for you temporarily to lock you back in. I just don’t want you to be locked in a situation like that; I want that situation to be your choice. I want that relationship to be a choice. It’s so much healthier for you to say, “Okay, you know what, I’ll try this for a week, but if I see any bad behavior, I’m out of here.” He can be good for a week, I’m sure he could, which means you might give yourself the choice to try for a month. But you have to be strong enough to stop.

What happens is most people feel locked into thatrelationship again, because they’re always looking to fill the gaps that theyhave missing in themselves. They get those gaps filled by the other person, andin an emotionally abusive relationship, the things that fill the gaps aretemporary. They are to lock the person back in, so I just want you to be awarethat it does take a little while for you to get a clear head.

It takes even longer for the person who’s been emotionallyabusive, if they want to change, to seek help and do it for themselves. Whilethey’re healing, they’re not begging for you to come back, because that is theone thing, if you come back, that will prevent their healing completely. I’monly telling you this because I know there will be a temptation to want toconnect and to contact him. I don’t believe that’s the best thing for you. Ithink what you need is separation, disconnect, and being far enough away for along enough time to start realizing how worthy how valuable, how lovable, andwhat a wonderful person you are.

When you’re away from that environment, where the onlysource of that information is coming from the person that’s also being harmful,the data gets confusing in your brain. Then you don’t know who to believe orwhat to believe, so you go back to the source of trauma, and you’re stuck thereagain.

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Bottom line, take some time for yourself, take advantage of this time. You will probably cry; you will probably miss him. You will go through a lot of emotions and know that it’s part of the process. Also realize that he is going to probably do everything he possibly can to try to get you back during your time of healing. During the time that he needs to have some sort of revelation where he finally says, “Oh, I should probably work on myself, too.”

Thank you for the update. I appreciate you and thanks for tuning in. We’ll talk again soon. Share this with anyone who might benefit.

*If the relationship has been physically abusive, assume it will never be safe to reconnect. Physical abuse doesn’t normally stop once it starts. And once it happens, it opens the door for it to happen again.

FAQs

What are the 5 signs of emotional abuse? ›

5 Signs of Emotional Abuse
  • They are Hyper-Critical or Judgmental Towards You. ...
  • They Ignore Boundaries or Invade Your Privacy. ...
  • They are Possessive and/or Controlling. ...
  • They are Manipulative. ...
  • They Often Dismiss You and Your Feelings.
23 May 2017

Why do people get attached to abusers? ›

People often don't even realise they are in an abusive relationship. It can be hard for others to understand why someone stays with an abusive partner. It's often because of something called "trauma bonding," where you become addicted to the hormonal rollercoaster an abuser sends you on.

What does emotional abuse do to a woman? ›

Staying in an emotionally or verbally abusive relationship can have long-lasting effects on your physical and mental health, including leading to chronic pain, depression, or anxiety. Read more about the effects on your health. You may also: Question your memory of events: “Did that really happen?” (See Gaslighting.)

What are the personality traits of an abuser? ›

Red flags and warning signs of an abuser include but are not limited to:
  • Extreme jealousy.
  • Possessiveness.
  • Unpredictability.
  • A bad temper.
  • Cruelty to animals.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Extremely controlling behavior.
  • Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships.

How do emotional abuse victims act? ›

Emotional and psychological abuse can have severe short- and long-term effects. This type of abuse can affect both your physical and your mental health. You may experience feelings of confusion, anxiety, shame, guilt, frequent crying, over-compliance, powerlessness, and more.

What are the long-term effects of emotional abuse? ›

Long-term effects of emotional abuse may include but aren't limited to PTSD, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, feelings of guilt and shame, and trouble trusting others or entering new relationships.

Do Narcissists feel the trauma bond? ›

Narcissists do feel the trauma bond, but not in the same way that the people that they abuse feel it. A trauma bond makes narcissists feel remarkably well because the dynamics of a trauma bonded relationship is designed to help them regulate the painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions that they've suppressed.

What does a trauma bond feel like? ›

Trauma bonding occurs when a person experiencing abuse develops an unhealthy attachment to their abuser. They may rationalize or defend the abusive actions, feel a sense of loyalty, isolate from others, and hope that the abuser's behavior will change.

How do you break a trauma bond? ›

Outside of getting professional support, here are some steps you can take on your own to break free from a trauma bonded relationship:
  1. Educate Yourself. ...
  2. Focus on the Here and Now. ...
  3. Create Some Space. ...
  4. Find Support. ...
  5. Practice Good Self-Care. ...
  6. Make Future Plans. ...
  7. Develop Healthy Relationships. ...
  8. Give Yourself Permission to Heal.
18 Feb 2022

Can you get PTSD from emotional abuse? ›

PTSD is a reaction to psychological trauma which develops in response to actual or threatened extreme danger or personal injury. PTSD can originate from a variety of forms of abuse, ranging from physical abuse to sexual abuse to emotional abuse.

What mental illnesses are caused by abuse? ›

Experiencing abuse or other trauma puts people at risk of developing mental health conditions, such as:
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Depression.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Misusing alcohol or drugs.
  • Borderline personality disorder.
16 Feb 2021

Can emotional abuse change your personality? ›

Long-term effects

Studies show that severe emotional abuse can be as powerful as physical abuse. Over time, both can contribute to low self-esteem and depression. You may also develop: anxiety.

Which are the 3 main warning signs that someone may be an abuser? ›

Warning Signs of an Abusive Person
  • Jealousy and Possessiveness. Wants to be with you constantly. ...
  • Controlling Behavior. ...
  • Quick Involvement. ...
  • Unrealistic Expectations. ...
  • Isolation. ...
  • Blames Others for Problems. ...
  • Blames Others for Feelings. ...
  • Hypersensitivity.

What is the psychological profile of an abuser? ›

In public, abusers often appear charismatic, friendly, kind and even compassionate, while behind closed doors they are terrifying, unpredictable and calculating—think Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. Most abusers work very hard to keep up a positive image outside of their home.

What is it called when someone loves their abuser? ›

Stockholm syndrome is a coping mechanism to a captive or abusive situation. People develop positive feelings toward their captors or abusers over time. This condition applies to situations including child abuse, coach-athlete abuse, relationship abuse and sex trafficking.

What is the most common type of emotional abuse? ›

Verbal abuse is the most common form of emotional abuse, but it's often unrecognized, because it may be subtle and insidious.

What is narcissistic victim syndrome? ›

Narcissistic victim syndrome is a term that collectively describes the specific and often severe effects of narcissistic manipulation. While this isn't a recognized mental health condition, many experts acknowledge narcissistic abuse can have a serious, long lasting impact on mental health.

How does narcissistic abuse affect the brain? ›

As a narcissistic abuse survivor, you will likely have symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Your brain will be on high alert, looking out for danger. This is because the traumatic events triggered a fight or flight response within you. As a result, anything associated with those memories can trigger an anxiety attack.

Why do victims of emotional abuse blame themselves? ›

According to the Mayo Clinic, it is common for victims of domestic violence to at least partially blame themselves for the situation. This is often due to the way that domestic abuse eats away at the person's confidence and self-esteem. They may even blame themselves for what is happening in the relationship.

Can emotional abuse cause schizophrenia? ›

Researchers say that those who have experienced emotional abuse in early life are 3.5 times more likely to have schizophrenia-like experiences in adulthood. Researchers also say that the more significant the abuse, the more severe the schizophrenia-like experiences adults have.

Does emotional abuse get worse over time? ›

"Emotionally abusive relationships are more subtle." She notes that these relationships usually begin exceptionally well before problems worsen over time. "Each time, you're getting more adapted to the negative patterns, so it gets more difficult to see—as well as to leave."

Why is it so hard to leave a narcissist? ›

Fear of being alone – Narcissists are skilled at destroying their partner's social circles and relationships with family members. The prospect of leaving may equate to a feeling of being truly alone; Fear of reprisals – The narcissist may have created a culture of fear and anxiety in their partner's life.

How does a narcissist react when they can't control you? ›

Narcissists also gaslight or practice master manipulation, weakening and destabilizing their victims; finally, they utilize positive and negative emotions or moments to trick others. When a narcissist can't control you, they'll likely feel threatened, react with anger, and they might even start threatening you.

What is gray rocking method? ›

What is the grey rock method? Grey rocking is a technique used to divert a toxic person's behavior by acting as unresponsive as possible when you're interacting with them. For example, using the grey rock method involves deliberate actions like avoiding eye contact or not showing emotions during a conversation.

How do I know if I'm traumatized? ›

Intrusive memories

Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event. Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks) Upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event. Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event.

What is toxic attachment? ›

What is toxic attachment? Toxic attachment denotes the way in which we form our closest and most intimate bonds. More often than not, when we talk about toxic attachment, we're talking about behaviors like jealousy, dominance, manipulation, selfishness and desperation.

How do you know if a bond is trauma or love? ›

Love. Much like love bombing, trauma bonds can give the resemblance of love. They're often confused for love because of the trying nature, and when you love someone, you do try. Trauma bond relationships are driven by fear, not love, which is the biggest differentiator between trauma bonds and love.

What does a trauma bond with a narcissist look like? ›

You might be suffering from a trauma bond if you exhibit the following behaviors: You know they are abusive and manipulative, but you can't seem to let go. You ruminate over the incidents of abuse, engage in self-blame, and the abuser becomes the sole arbiter of your self-esteem and self-worth.

What does trauma dumping look like? ›

According to Dr. Prewitt, some specific examples of trauma dumping include: A coworker sharing specific details of a difficult divorce while at a casual lunch with colleagues. A friend sharing details of a toxic relationship, without allowing the other person to talk about their day.

How long does a trauma bond last? ›

A study among 150 survivors of trauma bonded romantic relationships and 150 survivors of trauma bonded relationships among family members revealed that the average duration of the trauma bond for those bonded to a romantic partner was 5.5 years and for those bonded to a family member it was 12.2 years.

What does PTSD from emotional abuse look like? ›

Intrusion: Intrusive thoughts, such as reliving a memory of a traumatic experience over and over again, distressing dreams, or flashbacks of the event. Avoidance: Avoiding anything that could remind you of the traumatic event, such as people, places, activities, or situations.

What are symptoms of PTSD from abuse? ›

What are the 17 Symptoms of PTSD?
  • Intrusive Thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are perhaps the best-known symptom of PTSD. ...
  • Nightmares. ...
  • Avoiding Reminders of the Event. ...
  • Memory Loss. ...
  • Negative Thoughts About Self and the World. ...
  • Self-Isolation; Feeling Distant. ...
  • Anger and Irritability. ...
  • Reduced Interest in Favorite Activities.
14 Jun 2021

Can emotional abuse affect memory? ›

The trauma of the verbal abuse and the other forms of abuse you suffer may also result in cognitive impairment or memory problems.

What mental illness is caused by childhood trauma? ›

In the most extreme cases of childhood trauma, distressing events can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the National Center for PTSD, up to 15% of girls and 6% of boys develop PTSD following a traumatic event.

Can emotional abuse cause bipolar disorder? ›

Some experts believe that experiencing a lot of emotional distress as a child can cause bipolar disorder to develop. This could be because childhood trauma and distress can have a big effect on your ability to manage your emotions. This can include experiences like: Neglect.

Is abuse a form of mental illness? ›

Abusive behavior in an intimate partner relationship and mental illness are two separate entities. Since abusive behaviors happen primarily in one's intimate partner relationship, it's common that an abusive partner will not show their negative or harmful behaviors with friends, co-workers or family members.

How does a narcissist damage you? ›

Manipulative Behavior

Narcissists are the masters of emotional manipulation. They will try to control your thoughts and desires. Making future promises and emotional blackmail are two forms of manipulation but gaslighting is most common. Manipulation causes confusion, low self-esteem, anxiety, shame, and guilt.

How do you break the cycle of emotional abuse? ›

Here are some suggestions on how parents can end abusive patterns and set a different tone with their kids.
  1. Acknowledge your own abuse. ...
  2. Recognize the risks (and ask for help). ...
  3. Set boundaries with the older generation. ...
  4. Celebrate success as it comes. ...
  5. When you feel vulnerable, examine your motives.
4 May 2018

Does narcissistic abuse get worse over time? ›

There are three reasons why narcissists get worse as they get older. First, the way they accumulate narcissistic supply worsens. Second, as they get older, their superficial identity disintegrates. Third, they experience more narcissistic injuries as they age because they're less independent.

What are the 5 signs of emotional abuse? ›

5 Signs of Emotional Abuse
  • They are Hyper-Critical or Judgmental Towards You. ...
  • They Ignore Boundaries or Invade Your Privacy. ...
  • They are Possessive and/or Controlling. ...
  • They are Manipulative. ...
  • They Often Dismiss You and Your Feelings.
23 May 2017

What type of people do abusers target? ›

Abusers want someone who is already doing well in life, and also someone who has their emotions under control.
...
  • Victims of psychological abuse are often strong, confident, and successful.
  • This is because abusers are attracted to someone they think will be a "challenge" to break.
11 Aug 2017

How do you tell if someone is lying about being abused? ›

Some common signs include: The person does not answer a question right away, but pauses or delays their answer as they try to think about what to say. The person looks away and will not make eye contact. The person instinctively touches their mouth while speaking.

What are 3 characteristics of abusers? ›

Red flags and warning signs of an abuser include but are not limited to:
  • Extreme jealousy.
  • Possessiveness.
  • Unpredictability.
  • A bad temper.
  • Cruelty to animals.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Extremely controlling behavior.
  • Antiquated beliefs about roles of women and men in relationships.

What are the 3 cycles of an abusive relationship? ›

The cycle of abuse is a four-stage cycle used to describe the way abuse sometimes occurs in relationships. The stages—tension, incident, reconciliation, and calm—repeat themselves over and over again if the abuse follows this pattern.

What causes people to become abusers? ›

Abusive people believe they have the right to control and restrict their partner's lives, often either because they believe their own feelings and needs should be the priority in the relationship, or because they enjoy exerting the power that such abuse gives them.

How do you break a trauma bond? ›

Outside of getting professional support, here are some steps you can take on your own to break free from a trauma bonded relationship:
  1. Educate Yourself. ...
  2. Focus on the Here and Now. ...
  3. Create Some Space. ...
  4. Find Support. ...
  5. Practice Good Self-Care. ...
  6. Make Future Plans. ...
  7. Develop Healthy Relationships. ...
  8. Give Yourself Permission to Heal.
18 Feb 2022

What are the long term effects of emotional abuse? ›

Long-term effects of emotional abuse
  • mental health conditions.
  • neuroticism, or the tendency toward low mood and negative emotions like anger.
  • chronic stress.
  • physical health challenges like body aches and heart palpitations.
  • attachment challenges.
  • emotional disconnect or apathy.
23 Mar 2022

Why do I play the victim? ›

A victim mentality is often subconsciously developed as a way to cope, often from past trauma. That is frequently childhood trauma. Connected to this is a lack of self-love and self-esteem. In many ways then it is as self-help author and motivational speaker Dr.

What's an example of emotional abuse? ›

Emotional abuse can involve any of the following: Verbal abuse: yelling at you, insulting you or swearing at you. Rejection: constantly rejecting your thoughts, ideas and opinions. Gaslighting: making you doubt your own feelings and thoughts, and even your sanity, by manipulating the truth.

What are the Behavioural indicators of emotional abuse? ›

Types of emotional abuse
  • humiliating or constantly criticising a child.
  • threatening, shouting at a child or calling them names.
  • making the child the subject of jokes, or using sarcasm to hurt a child.
  • blaming and scapegoating.
  • making a child perform degrading acts.

What is gaslighting emotional abuse? ›

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which a person or group causes someone to question their own sanity, memories, or perception of reality. People who experience gaslighting may feel confused, anxious, or as though they cannot trust themselves.

What is emotional damage? ›

: a highly unpleasant emotional reaction (as anguish, humiliation, or fury) which results from another's conduct and for which damages may be sought. — called also emotional harm, mental anguish, mental distress, mental disturbance, mental suffering.

What is the most common type of emotional abuse? ›

Verbal abuse is the most common form of emotional abuse, but it's often unrecognized, because it may be subtle and insidious.

What are the symptoms of narcissistic abuse? ›

With that in mind, here are 12 signs that might suggest you've experienced narcissistic abuse.
  • They seem so perfect — at first. ...
  • People doubt the abuse took place. ...
  • They've started a smear campaign. ...
  • You feel isolated. ...
  • You freeze up. ...
  • You have trouble making decisions. ...
  • You always feel like you've done something wrong.

What are three examples of psychological abuse? ›

Psychological abuse can include someone regularly: Embarrassing you in public or in front of family, friends, support workers or people you work with. Calling you names. Threatening to harm you, your pets, children, or other people who are important to you.

What are the 3 types of indicators of abuse? ›

The three types of indicators to consider are: Physical indicators. Child's behavioral indicators. Parent's behavioral indicators.

Why warning signs of abuse may be ignored? ›

Why Do Some Children Stay Quiet About Abuse?
  • They may feel guilty or to blame. ...
  • They may love the abuser and think the abuse is normal. ...
  • They may be afraid of the consequences. ...
  • They may worry that they won't be believed. ...
  • They may not have the ability to speak out. ...
  • They may be hoping that the abuse will stop.
17 May 2016

What are some of the signs that someone may be subject to abuse? ›

Possible Indicators of Physical Abuse
  • Multiple bruising.
  • Fractures.
  • Burns.
  • Bed sores.
  • Fear.
  • Depression.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Assault (can be intentional or reckless)

What is a gaslighter relationship? ›

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in relationships. It happens when one person convinces their target that they're remembering things wrong or that they're misinterpreting events. The gaslighter is trying to manipulate the other person and presents their own thoughts and feelings as the truth.

Who is emotionally damaged man? ›

The Man Behind the Emotional Damage Meme

Hei's YouTube channel with his own name as the title of the channel has about 2 million subscribers and he has over 3 million followers on TikTok. Steven Hei is mostly famous for his comedy sketch videos.

What is severe emotional damage? ›

The tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) occurs when one acts abominably or outrageously with intent to cause another to suffer severe emotional distress, such as issuing the threat of future harm.

How do you know if you're emotionally damaged? ›

People who feel emotionally broken have low-self esteem and tend to be unhappy. You may feel hopeless or in despair. Perhaps you feel inadequate or unworthy of love. Of course, none of these things are true, but they're common for people who believe they are broken.

Videos

1. Escaping Emotional Abuse with Beverly Engel
(Kate Anthony)
2. Knowing the difference between emotional abuse and normal relationship difficulties
(Love and Abuse Podcast)
3. When the emotionally abusive person leaves the relationship
(Love and Abuse Podcast)
4. Six reasons you may feel guilty about leaving an emotionally abusive person
(Love and Abuse Podcast)
5. 5 Signs You're Dating a Toxic Person (Matthew Hussey, Get The Guy)
(Matthew Hussey)
6. Let Them Go | Dr Joe Dispenza Relationship Advice
(FindInspiration)

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