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Emotional abuse and its subtle signs

It's usually easy to recognize the signs of physical abuse. Emotional abuse, though, is often hidden so deeply that the victims and their families may not notice it.

In many cases, emotional abuse is mistaken by the victim as behavior that is "caring." Emotional abuse often occurs after an initial period of good behavior. The abuser gets the victim to trust him or her, which makes the victim vulnerable.

Emotional abuse can include:

  • Belittling
  • Ridiculing
  • Insulting
  • Threatening
  • Criticizing
  • Shaming
  • Gaslighting
  • Lying
  • Name-calling
  • Swearing
  • Intimidating
  • Ignoring
  • Stonewalling

The effect that emotional abuse can have on someone can be extremely traumatic. It can lead to substance abuse issues, anxiety, chronic pain, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Here are some of the subtle signs of emotional abuse:

  • Requiring constant check-ins and wanting to know who you are with and where you are at all times.
  • Walking on eggshells so that you don't disappoint your partner.
  • Any accomplishment is belittled or ignored.
  • Apologizing even when you have nothing to apologize for.
  • Withholding money, affection or sex in order to punish you.
  • Changing plans constantly in order to maintain control.
  • Frequently going from hot to cold, and you have no idea what has caused the change.
  • Saying hurtful things to you that are later described as "only jokes."

If you are the victim of emotional abuse, it is important to remember that this is a form of domestic abuse. In many cases, emotional abuse leads to other types of abuse. If you want to learn about divorce or how to leave, a Honolulu attorney can provide more information.

Source: The Huffington Post, "11 Subtle Signs You Might Be In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship," Kelsey Borresen, March 05, 2018

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