One of the better articles I've seen: Examples of Verbal and Emotional Abuse
- By Aames
WHAT THEY DO:
Ridicule or insult you then tell you it's a joke, or that you have no sense of humor.
Put down your beliefs, religion, race, heritage - or that of your family / friends.
Withhold approval, appreciation or affection.
Give you the silent treatment.
Ignore direct questions...Walk away without answering.
Criticize you, call you names, yell at you.
Humiliate you privately or in public.
Roll his or her eyes ... or mimic you when you talk.
Disrespect or insult you, then tell you that you're too sensitive.
Seem energized by arguing, while arguing exhausts you.
Have unpredictable mood swings, alternating between good and bad for no apparent reason.
"Twist" your words, somehow turning whatever you say against you.
Complain about how badly you treat him or her.
Threaten to leave, or threaten to throw you out.
Say things that make you feel good, but do things that make you feel bad.
Compliment you enough to keep you happy, yet criticize you enough to keep you insecure.
Harass you about imagined affairs.
Manipulate you with lies and contradictions.
Act immature and selfish, yet accuse you of those behaviors.
Question your every move and motive, somehow questioning your competence.
Constantly interrupt you while you're trying to make your point.
Make you feel like you can never win : damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Incite you to rage, which is "proof" that you are the one with the "problem" - not them.
Try to convince you that they are "right," while you are "wrong".
Frequently say things that are later denied or accuse you of misunderstanding.
What it feels like
- By Aames
Abuse can have a confusing. hurtful. frightening effect which makes you feel emotionally unsafe. You may begin to doubt yourself, your senses, your opinions, memories, beliefs, feelings, abilities and judgment. You may begin to express your opinions less and less freely and find yourself doubting your sense of reality. You are likely to feel vulnerable, insecure, increasingly trapped and powerless. This may lead you to become defensive and increasingly depressed.
Abuse victims often find themselves "walking on eggshells" around the abuser, hyper vigilant and afraid of when - and how - to say something.
You may find yourself constantly on your "best" behavior around an abuser, unable to relax or enjoy the moment because you are always anticipating the worst. Even when the abuser is in a good mood, you are likely to keep waiting for "the other shoe to drop".
You may also begin to blame yourself for their bad mood, behaviors or actions and hope things will change, especially through your own love and understanding.
People who are abused often long for the nicer, caring side of their partner, family member, friend, boss or co-worker to come back. You may find yourself making excuses for their bad behavior and choosing to focus mainly on getting them back into their good behavior state.
Coping with Emotional Abuse
You have two basic options – remain present during an episode of abuse, or leave.
In the short run they are about equal in pain, but in the long run, leaving during an outburst is better. For one thing, leaving makes it harder for you to do something stupid yourself (such as retaliate). It also makes it impossible for anything worse to happen directly to you after you leave. Leaving during an outburst sends a clear “This is not OK” message. It won’t be appreciated, but it will not be forgotten quickly either.
Leaving also helps remind you that YOU are in control - not the person with the Personality Disorder - and it gives you an opportunity to debrief to a supportive friend.
It’s a good idea to have a plan of what you will do and where you will go the next time an outburst hits. This will make a gracious exit more possible the next time you are confronted with verbal or emotional abuse. It helps enormously to have a friend or family member you can pre-arrange with to show up at a moment’s notice whenever necessary. If not, maybe you can find a local low-cost hotel where you can get a safe room for the night.
You may want to have a ‘bail out’ kit which has your credit cards, essential medications and important documents already packed so you don’t need to linger when you need to get out in a hurry.
If at all possible, pre-arrange with a friend whom you can call (even during the night) just to talk to if you find yourself in a situation like this. Just having someone on the end of the line who won’t attack or judge you harshly for the way you feel is an enormous relief. You can also call a Domestic Violence hotline or crisis line for support and for a reality check. As the adage says: You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it and you can’t control it.
What NOT to do
Don’t remain in the same room with a person who is abusing you. Remove yourself from the situation as quickly as you safely can.
Don’t try to handle it all on your own. Call for supportive help and call the police if any threats or violence occur.
Don’t try to reason with someone who is abusing you. When you are confronted with aggressive behavior there can be a temptation to stand your ground, explain your position and argue for what you feel is right. A person who is trying to hurt you emotionally or verbally is unlikely to see reason.
Don’t fight fire with fire and reciprocate. You will regret it and probably find yourself still apologizing for it years later.
Don’t ignore it, steel yourself and tell yourself that you can handle it and that it does not affect you. Unless you are a robot your feelings are going to be hurt and your behavior is going to change far beyond the moment, whether you admit it or not. The reality is that when your boundaries are being crossed you are being hurt. Ignoring it increases the likelihood that the situation will repeat itself.
Don’t hide it from others. Most long-term cases of abuse stay that way because the victim stays silent.
What TO do
Remember you didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it and you can’t control it.
Get yourself and any children out of the room and out of the house as quickly and safely as you can.
If violence or threats of violence have occurred, call the police immediately.
Stay away from the situation until the abuse stops and you feel calmer and safe.
Call at least one trusted confidant and tell them what has happened. Out of the FOG - Emotional Abuse