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Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
May 19, 2024 ·  3 min read

Signs of Emotional Abuse That May Go Undetected

Emotional abuse can be insidious and confusing. It often starts subtly, disguised as seemingly harmless behavior. Here’s why it’s crucial to be aware of these tactics and how they can manipulate and control you within a relationship.

1. Isolation: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

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Isolation from loved ones might seem like a natural consequence of new love, with an increased desire to spend time with your partner. However, an emotional abuser uses isolation to control you. They may guilt-trip you for wanting to see friends or family, or subtly convince you that they’re the only one who truly cares. This tactic fosters dependence and makes you feel trapped.

Read More: If Your Partner Does These 7 Things, it May be Financial Abuse

2. The Silent Treatment: A Weapon of Control

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Giving the silent treatment can feel like a childish tactic, but in the hands of an emotional abuser, it becomes a weapon of control. Withholding communication punishes you and takes away your power. You’re left feeling helpless, scrambling to regain their acceptance by fulfilling their unspoken demands.

3. Jokes That Wound: Disguised Insults

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Partners often tease each other playfully. But if your partner’s jokes consistently target your insecurities or make you feel bad about yourself, disguised as humor, it’s a red flag. These “jokes” chip away at your self-esteem and are a form of emotional abuse used to control you.

4. Gaslighting: Twisting Reality

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Gaslighting is a particularly dangerous tactic because it starts subtly. It involves denying or making you question your own perception of reality. For instance, you might express feeling cold, and your partner insists it’s hot. This seemingly minor incident minimizes your feelings and makes you doubt your own judgment. Over time, repeated gaslighting can erode your confidence and make you feel insecure and worthless.

Read More: Anti-Abuse Poster Targets Children With A Hidden Message

5. The “Should” Do List: Controlling Your Choices

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Offering suggestions in a relationship is normal. However, emotional abusers use suggestions as a way to control your behavior. They bombard you with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts,” constantly directing your choices and invalidating your own decisions. This creates a dynamic where you feel reliant on them to make the “right” choices, stripping you of your autonomy.

6. Catastrophizing: Planting Seeds of Doubt

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Catastrophizing involves blowing situations out of proportion and focusing only on negative outcomes. An emotional abuser might do this to make you doubt yourself and your abilities. When faced with an opportunity, they might bombard you with “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, hindering your confidence and preventing you from reaching your full potential. Their goal? To keep you reliant on them and afraid to venture out on your own.

7. Guilt Trips: Burdening You with Blame

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Emotional abusers are masters of manipulation. They might dredge up past mistakes during arguments or use emotional ploys to make you feel responsible for their bad behavior. This constant guilt-tripping keeps you on edge and focused on appeasing them, further solidifying their dominance within the relationship.

Read More: When my child was born, I decided to raise them without a gender. I was told it was ‘child abuse’.

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