People are emotionally abusive for a lot of different reasons. They do it for control, they do it to avoid admitting they did something wrong, they do it because that’s how they were raised. None of those reasons make it okay. None of those reasons bring me peace when I realize someone emotionally abused me because look, deep down inside we all know what’s right and what’s wrong. So I wanted to explain one clear behavior/scenario to show you that someone is emotionally abusive because it’s not okay that you’re being abused. It’s not okay that someone is using your empathy and emotions to hurt you and you know what else, it makes me angry that you’re being hurt and probably think it’s normal or maybe even that it’s what you deserve.
Here’s something simple to understand and recognize. If you approach someone you love and explain that something they did or said hurt your feelings, what should their reaction be? Here let’s flip it for a moment. If someone came to you and said hey what you said earlier made me feel sad or hey when you did that in front of everyone I was embarrassed and hurt, what would you do? MAYBE, SAY YOU’RE SORRY AND DON’T DO THAT AGAIN. But sadly with someone who is emotionally abusive you know how they’re going to react to your hurt feelings? Tell you why your hurt feelings are all your fault and why it has nothing to do with them or their behavior AT ALL! They will take no responsibility for what they’ve done and blame you for what you’re bringing to their attention. Oh, crazy right. Well, you’ve most likely experienced it. Dig deep.
In your romantic relationship or close friendship or even in family relationship have you ever told that person that something they did made you feel sad or upset and they reacted in anger or immediately began telling you why it’s all your fault? Why you’re the problem. Why you’re too sensitive or too insecure. Why your issues caused that not something that they did. Why it is YOUR problem, instead of just saying oh maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I was hurting you and I won’t do it again. If anything other than that comes out of their mouth, quite honestly it’s worthless and probably damaging to you. Unless you are telling someone every day that anything and everything they do is hurting you then I think that you are quite rational in wanting an apology.
I think you are quite normal for expecting compassion and for that other person to agree that they will stop doing it but if they are emotionally abusive they won’t. And if you keep accepting that reaction eventually you will believe it is all your fault and your self-esteem will suffer greatly, that’s sad. It’s wrong. You can’t keep living like that. Trust me. Well, I mean you can keep barely surviving but that’s all you do, survive. It’s not possible to live, to be happy if you are in a state of constant anxiety and depression because someone continually hurts you without even the slightest inclination to take responsibility, say sorry, and stop doing whatever is hurting you.
Well now what? You realized they’re hurting you and you don’t like it but now what? I would suggest creating some space between you and this person, even if it hurts, even if it makes you sad for a little bit. What’s worse? Being emotionally abused for possibly years, or missing someone for a little while? Maybe you can still have them in your life but maybe you can’t. Here’s why. During the time that you have distance from this person you really have to start healing your own heart and mind. You have to read self help books about codependency and you have to figure out why it is you thought emotional abuse was acceptable. I would suggest reading “The Emotionally Abused Woman: Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself” by Beverly Engel. It’s a beautiful book, full of examples, advice, and signs of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse comes in many forms from different people in your life and it usually starts when you’re a child. I would highly recommend going through that book a few times, it’s eye-opening and healing. I think that it can really make a difference in a woman’s life that is struggling with this. You have to learn what boundaries are and how to apply them in your own life. Maybe consider some therapy sessions to seek professional advice. Once you do that something beautiful happens. You start loving yourself. You start believing in yourself. You start realizing what you’re worth, with that you feel free. You feel empowered and you will never ever tolerate being hurt like that by anyone for any reason EVER AGAIN.
Well, what if this person won’t accept your boundaries? What if they don’t like that you love yourself? You have to let them go, no matter how much you love them because if you don’t you’ll revert back to the old you. The you that tolerates being hurt over and over again. Love yourself and be freed of cruel treatment, you’ll thank yourself later, I promise.