Abuse in a marriage can take various forms. While physical attacks by a partner are both dangerous and debilitating, non-physical trauma can be equally damaging.
Emotional abuse is a sinister day to create fear, humiliation, and various isolation methods. The objective of the abuser is to control the victim through punishment and demeaning statements. Knowing the signs is vital in the first step in getting away from a toxic and threatening environment.
An abuser’s destructive tendencies
Sadly, many abusers are not even aware of the damage they do. Many grew up in dysfunctional settings and reenacted patterns from previous relationships they were involved in or witnessed. However, employing destructive tactics is inexcusable. Those “strategies” include:
- Humiliation is common and not necessarily limited to one-on-one settings. Many abusers prefer an audience laughing at them, engaging in name-calling, or continually criticizing everything they say and do. In response, the victim feels self-conscious and uncertain about everything they do.
- Emotional blackmail involves abusers holding something hostage until their target gives in to what they want. Their form of “ransoms” can involve demanding intimacy, threats of divorce, and promises to harm themselves.
- Gaslighting may be the most sinister form of emotional abuse that usually lasts for months, if not years. Continuous manipulation results in the victim questioning or disbelieving reality. Conflict and drama become the rule, not the exception, while the target believes that they are at fault and becomes more dependent with reduced confidence, self-esteem, and emotional stability.
Friends and family will likely see a change in their abused loved one’s behavior. Constant apologies, forgetfulness, physical problems, and distancing themselves from other relationships.
In the end, victims removing themselves from the toxic situation becomes the only option. Ending the marriage can represent a sense of freedom as a new chapter of their lives begin.