Self Love

4 Signs to Spot Emotional Abuse

It came to my attention that while I have never been a victim of physical abuse, I have definitely been a victim of emotional abuse. I was startled when a mentor pointed this out, but when I did more research, it was easy to see that it was true.

Here is some of what it looked like for me:

  1. My statements were turned around: When I expressed my feelings, they were dismissed as the other person defended themselves. Rather than being heard, I found myself comforting the other person.
  2. The emotional abuser/manipulator was always willing to help and agree with me, but then passively aggressively acted as if it were a chore, acted as if I owed them something, or acted as if I never do anything for them.
  3. I was made to feel guilty. Either I spoke up, or I did not speak up enough. Either I was too emotional, or not emotional enough. Another powerful emotion used was sympathy- the other person always made themselves the victim.
  4. If I had a headache, he had a brain tumor. No matter what my situation was, theirs was ten times worse. They derailed the conversation and put it back on themselves. If I called them on their behavior, they turned it back on me, or claimed that it was always about me.
  5. The person impacted the emotional climate of whoever we were around. I was always in a position to try to fix how they felt. I take responsibility for being codependent, but I was also being manipulated.
  6. The person had no accountability. They did not take responsibility for themselves or their behavior – it was always about what someone had “done to them”.

There are lots of other signs of emotional abuse, but those are the ones I identified with in that relationship. It was exhausting to be in that environment, but today I have a choice. I have the gift of awareness.

I do not have to be a victim today. Today, I choose life and I choose to surround myself by people who also choose life. I can’t save anyone, and today I know that. I am available to listen, and to help- but my focus is simply to answer the question “How can I be useful to you and to others today?”

I am not useful trying to rescue someone while making myself the martyr.


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Comments or questions?