- Emotional abuse can be harder to recognize than physical abuse because abusers look innocent at first.
- A person that is incredibly negative about everything that doesn’t please them could be manipulating you into the behavior that they want.
- Early signs like possessiveness and jealousy can seem romantic at first.
Due to its nature, emotional abuse is not as easy to spot in relationships as physical abuse.
„Although we typically envision relationship abuse as physical violence, emotional abuse can be just as harmful. The scars aren’t visible but can often take longer to heal from,“ Amy Pohl, associate director of Violence Free Colorado, told INSIDER. Bullying and manipulation tactics by a partner, friend, or relative can create negativity in your life.
INSIDER spoke with abuse experts and survivors on signs of emotional abuse you may not realize could soon take over your life.
Read more to find out the subtle signs of emotional abuse you can decode before the big red flags appear.
Neediness can seem flattering at the beginning of a relationship.
„People love attention so if someone is giving you a lot of attention, that feels good at first, even if it’s through negative behaviors,“ Jessica Vanacoro, LMSW and associate executive director at Camp Herrlich, told INSIDER.
Before someone demands you spend all your time with them, that person may first try to win you over with extravagant gestures. These could be in the form of trips with them that take you away from other people, clothes, books, and movies they think you should enjoy, and even classic romantic comedy tropes like bouquets of flowers to show that they’re romantic.
They want to spend an intense amount of time with you.
They may tell you they need to see you all the time because of how much they like you or just show up all the time. Dr. Caroline Madden, MFT, relationship therapist in Burbank, California, explained that if someone wants to see you to the point of canceling other plans for you in the beginning of a relationship, „they are setting up the relationship (you) to be their primary source of happiness. And if they aren’t happy for some reason they will turn it on you and say that you are responsible.“
When they pivot to more negative behaviors, it’s easy to want to please someone who has given you so much attention, so if they jump into a very involved relationship from the get-go, they may be looking to trap you.
They make you question your own feelings and experiences.
Gaslighting, according to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, is an „extremely effective form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity, which gives the abusive partner a lot of power.“ The prevalence of this tactic happens gradually, so it may start with something as simple as denying a statement you made about the weather before they start denying a statement you made about how you feel.
„One of the first signs you are dealing with an emotional abuser is that you start to think you are going crazy,“ says Nicol Stolar-Peterson, LCSW, BCD. „You start second-guessing your decisions and accept the blame for things that are not yours.“ If you start to feel unhinged or confused, try and pinpoint if you only feel that way around one person.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider