The features and patterns of emotional abuse will of course vary depending on the individual experiencing them. Listed below are some of the features of emotionally abusive relationships. This list is by no means extensive, and is used to give an idea of what an emotional relationship can look like.
- name calling
- shouting or insulting
- highly critical behaviour.
Denying the abuse
- exaggerated sulking
- manipulation of a person’s emotions, thoughts and feelings
- not listening
- withholding information, care or love
- distorting the victims sense of reality, truth or experience.
Minimising the abuse
- minimising the impact of the abuse
- isolating their victim
- offering solutions or giving advice
- making their victim feel stupid or as if they are overreacting to the abuse.
F.O.G (fear, obligation and guilt)
- These three common feelings experienced can often happen simultaneously or progress over time.
- This is the act of cutting off or interfering with an individual’s relationships with others making it hard to form new relationships or maintain current one.
- This is provocative act is used to solicit angry or aggressive responses from the victim.
Belittling, condescending and patronising
- These passive aggressive behaviours are designed to give someone a put down while at the same time maintaining the façade of friendliness or being reasonable.
- This practice identifies the victim as the reason for the problems and seeks to blame them for all current difficulties.
- Often a victim is so weakened by a pattern of abuse that they will fall in line with this altered view of the truth, and begin to blame themselves.
- This behaviour seeks to threaten the victim, their friends or even pets with harm if the victim leaves the relationship.
- The perpetrator will consistently use a system of threats and punishments in an attempt to control, cohearse or manipulate their victim to behave how they would like.
- This is where a perpetrator will seek to overwhelm their partner with attention or dependency.
- This comes from imagining that their victim only exists within the confines of their relationship, and is in some ways merely an extension of themselves.
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Joshua Miles MBACP Integrative Psychotherapist & Bereavement Counsellor