What comes to mind when you think about domestic violence? Battered and bruised women? It’s common to associate domestic violence with physical abuse.
The reality is domestic violence surpasses physical violence, and it also includes other forms of abuse such as mental, emotional, financial, and verbal abuse including even stalking.
It’s a common misconception that assault and violence are the only forms of violence that can be considered as abuse in the eyes of the law. That’s not right. Emotional and mental abuse is just as harmful and traumatizing as physical abuse.
Legalities of Domestic Violence
Unarguably, domestic violence ruins individuals and families. It causes long-term and irreversible psychological and physical damage to the victims. This is why it’s imperative for the victims to get legal support as fast as they can.
Similarly, if a person has been falsely accused of abuse, this can ruin their life and reputation. Domestic abuse and false allegations need to be reported as self-defense immediately.
If you require someone to represent you legally, you need to get in touch with a Sexual Assault lawyers who has first-hand experience dealing with domestic violence cases. With their abundance of knowledge and expertise, they can help you to fight for your rights. Their job is to review the details of your case, inform you of your rights, and give you a preliminary insight into the matter.
Mental and emotional abuse have similarities. Experts have debated that it may or may not be the same. In reality, mental and emotional abuse have overlapping factors and frequently co-occur. However, there might still be some blurry lines between them.
Mental abuse is also known as psychological abuse — in it, the abuser attempts to distort the thought process and reality of their victim by coercing them to think in a certain way. This attempt at controlling their thoughts is known as mental abuse.
Gaslighting is a common type of mental abuse. It is when the abuser gaslights the victim in specific ways which make them question how something happens or becomes reality.
For instance, if you see your partner cheating on you, and once you confront them after building the courage to, they tell you, “You’ve got it all wrong; that’s not what happened.”
Other statements can be as follows:
- You’re too sensitive.
- Your memory is terrible.
- You’re being hormonal, etc.
This is to make the victim believe they are not in the right state of mind to think straight or to know between right and wrong.
The victim may start hurting themselves and questioning their sanity. They might start believing that they are seeing and hearing things that aren’t there, which can be a pretty disturbing experience.
When we see someone else being emotionally abused and manipulated, it’s usually easy to point it out. However, once the victim stands in that position where they are being emotionally abused, it is easy for them to miss the early and subtle signs, leading to more significant issues.
Attempts to frighten, isolate and control someone is a form of emotional abuse. Remember, threatening or showing intentions to abuse physically may not be physical abuse, but it can make the victims insecure. The abuse may have a gradual start to it but may eventually become regular and consistent.
Abuse can come from anyone, regardless of age or gender. It is not always in the context of a romantic couple. Your abuser can also be your parent, adult child, caretaker, or business partner—anyone who is old enough to take advantage of you.
Regardless, you should know that abuse is not your fault, and you do not deserve to be treated that way. To recognize the signs and patterns of emotional abuse, keep reading.
Your abuser will find every reason to criticize, negate, and humiliate you. They may do it as follows:
- Name-call you or label you with derogatory nicknames despite you telling them to stop
- Character assassinating you, telling lies about you to others
- Saying that you’re not the person you seem and saying that you are the “screw-up” when anything goes wrong
- Intimidating you by yelling, screaming, and swearing
- They may never hit you, but they may damage property, hit walls and even hurt themselves.
- Belittling and patronizing you by saying things like “It’s not like you to be able to do that.”
- Embarrassing you in public by sharing your secrets or failures
- Being dismissive about the things you care about
- Changing body language like rolling their eyes when you talk about something important to you
- Offensive jokes
- Insulting the way you look
- Not being happy about your accomplishments
- Saying that your interests and hobbies are useless and a waste of time
- They tease you once they find out what annoys you until you get severely triggered without stopping.
Has your abuser ever made you feel ashamed of your inadequacies? An abuser tries to control and dominate you by saying they are better than you and know what’s better for you.
They control every aspect of your life and force you to make decisions and live your life on their terms.
Their controlling behavior may be as follows:
- Making empty threats to ruin your life that leave you feeling scared and intimidated.
- Keeping tabs on where you are and insisting on tracking you via GPS or repeatedly calling when you are out.
- Showing up at work or school to catch you off guard.
- Stalking you digitally.
- Wanting to manage your online activities like keeping your passwords, reading your chats, seeing what apps you download and checking your browser history.
- Gaslighting you and distorting your memory by arguing and saying things never happened as you believe they did.
- Making you question your sanity.
- Making your decisions for you. This could include selling your car, not letting you go to the doctor, not letting you talk to your loved ones, and pulling you out of school.
- Controlling what you should eat, who to be friends with, and what you should wear.
- Keeping an eye on every penny. They might ask you to stop working or to give your salary or income to them.
- Demanding you share receipts of where you spend your money and why.
- Emotionally blackmailing you and manipulating you to do things you don’t want to do.
- Guilt-tripping you by saying they were just testing and you failed the test.
- Giving you long lectures of minor mistakes and listing all past mistakes in a long monologue.
- Expecting you to follow all their commands, no questions asked.
- Getting angry suddenly and out of nowhere, making you feel scared of every move you make.
- Not being helpful when you need them.
- Frequent, unnecessary, and unpredictable outbursts about something minor.
- Shutting down during arguments and not responding to you.
Other signs may include:
- Them being jealous of your success.
- They intentionally ruin your happy moments.
- They blame you for things you haven’t done.
- They make you prioritize them over other people and commitments.
- Denying that they abuse you.
Honestly, the possibilities of how a person emotionally manipulates you are endless. They may isolate you from your loved ones, make you feel neglected, and not be supportive of friendships and family.
They may also make you feel unimportant by dehumanizing you, ignoring you, or giving you silent treatment including not responding to texts or completely shutting down.
Refusing to be intimate with you as a form of punishment, not even letting you hold their hand if you had an argument.
Telling you that you are needy and that they can’t fulfill your needs, when in reality, you only ask for basic attention and support.
Tips and Advice
Being a victim of abuse may make you feel disoriented and wonder what you should do to make yourself stronger again.
Start by acknowledging that you are indeed being abused and that it is not your fault. You are not responsible for fixing them, nor can you be without professional supervision. You can suggest they go to a therapist, but chances are they won’t.
Give Importance to Yourself
Prioritize your emotional and physical needs and reach out for support, leaving the situation as soon as possible, and moving to live with someone who genuinely supports you and will help you recover. You don’t have to be alone in this period.
Avoid Them as Much as You Can
Disconnect with them and don’t reply to their texts or attend to their calls. If avoiding them is impossible, only talk to them in a limited way or when someone’s around.
Let them know that you are done with their abuse, even if they keep on denying it.
Emotional abuse is indeed part of domestic violence – and it must be addressed before it permanently impacts your life. Instead of blaming yourself and doing your best to mend it, it would be wiser to get out of an emotionally abusive relationship.
For this purpose, you can consult an experienced family lawyer. They will first ensure protection by getting a restraining order from the court. The next step would be to press criminal charges against your abuser.
Always know that no matter how you feel about your abuser, it’s better to let them have a taste of their own medicine through legal consequences. Once your damage claims are successful, you will receive compensation for your economic and non-economic losses including lost wages, medical expenses, emotional distress, embarrassment, suffering, pain, and more.