Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Signs of emotional abuse

Are you a victim of emotional abuse?

The obvious ones – lying, cheating, calling you names, gas lighting (this can also be cleverly done and very subtle though)

Less obvious – silent treatment, being overly secretive, raging at you and won’t stop, blame shifting – they twist their behaviour and end up making you feel responsible.

An example: They will rage at you for something they feel you have done wrong and if you retaliate out of desperation either by shoving or hitting, you will then become the abuser in their eyes – even though their behaviour led you to react out of character. The emotional abuser won’t be able to own up to their own behaviour or their part in the ensuing events. (see reactive abuse further down).

Another example: They might be secretive, you might find a love note or they might not always be reachable and you might start to become suspicious as you see a pattern emerging. Instead of the emotional abuser considering your thoughts and feelings, they will retaliate angrily and label you as a “jealous person”.

Reactive abuse

“Reactive abuse” is a term associated with this that shifts the blame onto the victim. An abuser will try to claim reactive abuse when the survivor fights back or defends themself, sometimes claiming that the victim is mentally unstable or “crazy” and reacted through physical violence.

Common experiences of being in an emotionally abusive relationship


Confusion. You wonder why this person who adored you yesterday is acting weird.

You become nervier, and walk on eggshells, because a slip could mean a rage or a sulk.

Why you might be more vulnerable when it comes to emotional abuse

low self-esteem, childhood trauma

What to do about your emotionally abusive partner

The first step is true and complete RADICAL ACCEPTANCE. Accept what they are, and never were. Accept that they will never change.

Accept that you are WORTHY. Of better. Of the boundaries that you establish. Of your future THRIVING, and not simply surviving.

Then start taking ACTION WITH DECISIVE INTENT. Make EVERY step you take, whether small or large, one that will bring you JOY.

Is it better the devil you know than a great leap into the unknown?

Every time you reconcile with an emotional abuser after they have done something horrible to you, or violated your boundaries, you are sending them a message:

“ I don’t value myself. I do not have value.”

Trust your instincts. If you aren’t normally a paranoid insecure person, remind yourself of this. You are not crazy.

Get a second opinion or third opinion from someone you trust and who will give you an objective answer

Have you been feeling happy? Can you resolve conflicts?

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

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