Domestic abuse is destructive but if you are getting emotionally abused, it's no less devastating. Know the signs and take charge.
Relationships are hard. You have to compromise, take care of each other, make sure that both of you are on equal footing and love each other, faults and all. With all of this to manage, especially when you’re used to taking care only of yourself, it becomes even harder to deal with when your partner decides to change the status quo and take full control of the relationship. Not exactly what you were expecting but then things take a turn for the worse when he starts to abuse you. While domestic abuse is common in a lot of relationships, it is not the only type of abuse and in some ways, and it’s not even the worst.
Emotional abuse hits you below the belt and can break through that carefully constructed wall that you made to protect yourself. All that prep and a few well-placed attacks by him blew it away like it was a sheaf of papers. He didn’t even have to raise his hand and yet the piercing pain feels like a physical blow to your heart. So in order to protect yourself and keep away from the toxicity, it’s important to know the signs that you’re being emotionally abused. Here are 10 signs that will prepare you and tell you that it is time to take measures.
He loves to play the blame game. His car broke down? It’s your fault. He got passed over for a promotion? It’s your fault. A bill got passed for something he doesn’t support? Again, it’s your fault. Don't ask how. You have nothing to do with the situation but he will still find a way to blame you for it. Since he can’t actually control the situation, he needs to direct his anger somewhere. You are the one closest to him and so the big red dot is placed on you.
You are not a person to him, but a puppet. He feels the need to be in control of everything and he will use you like the tool to satisfy that need. He will expect you to follow his every diktat and any time you try to disagree, he will shut you down the moment he hears anything close to the word ‘no’. He won’t let you think for yourself and he will most likely make others believe that you can’t think for yourself.
He believes that love is conditional and unless you follow his conditions, you are not deserving of that love. He will subtly make you change your ways to match his ideas by saying ‘I love you but…’ The moment a ‘but’ is attached to that sentiment, the conditions will follow. It’s another way of exerting his control over you. And the minute he feels you are stepping out of his line of authority, he will threaten to leave you.
Prepare to be emotionally blackmailed. One method that he will use to do this is when he mentions all the favors he’s done for you and by not helping him, you don’t care about him. He will not care if the favor entails doing something that goes against your values. He will suck you into a vortex and make you feel like you owe him when in fact you don’t. Once you complete the favor for him, he will go above and beyond to do stuff for you so that you can’t refuse him later.
His need for full control will affect your relationships with others. He will end up either taking up all your time or dictating who can and cannot be in your life. Be it your best friend since childhood or your own mother who you are so attached to. All this control will eventually lead to you not being able to maintain those relationships with others. This includes your family and friends. It will even end up affecting your work life.
Privacy? According to him, only he gets to have that. In this relationship, he will expect full transparency from you because in his mind, he is the provider and you are his object to play with. You are subject to his scrutiny and it's almost like he doesn't trust you with anything. Your messages, emails, text, and even photos have to be validated by him before it can go out anywhere. When he does, you feel violated and vulnerable.
These are not your normal magic tricks. He’s not about to pull a rabbit out of his hat but he will point out something you’ve done to distract you from a mistake that he has made. By pulling your focus on your faults, he believes he can get away scot-free. If you try to fight for yourself, he will shut you down. This is just another form of the blame game. If you try to have a discussion with him about something that is making you unhappy about him, he will find something much bigger to blame about you.
Have you ever had an argument about something really silly? Like maybe you accidentally left the toilet seat down? Or maybe you laughed a little too loudly at a relatively quiet place? If he starts an argument about things like this, it’s because he loves to argue for the sake of arguing. It is almost like he gets a high from watching the argument unfold and if he sees the confusion on your face, it’s like icing on the cake.
In the relationship, he is the highest power. He is the best at everything and you can’t even be trusted to string two sentences together. You could be better at talking to people or even something like baking but he will find a way to make it about him. He will say that you talk too much or he will say that baking is no big deal, making you feel like you’re less than a rock. He will find the means to overshadow you every step of the way.
Any chance he gets, he will find fault with you. If you have a stray hair, you’re messy. If you got hurt, you’re clumsy. If someone cheated you, you’re gullible. The list is never-ending. If you are good at art, you’re not good enough since your art doesn’t sell or you don’t have the brains for anything apart from art. The worst part is that he may do this in front of others, not caring that you might be humiliated.
By the time he goes through all this, you’re left feeling a litany of emotions. Confused, anxious, pained, vulnerable, stupid and just so many more emotions. None of it is your fault but he has a gift of being able to make you feel like you’re worse than scum. You’ve made excuses for his behavior, you’ve taken his insults with the idea that he just wants you to be better, you’ve been reduced to nothing. It’s time to take charge and either get him to change or remove yourself from that environment. You deserve better.