I Just Thought You Should Know
To consider whether your partner emotionally abuses you, look at the information available on physical abusers. The patterns are similar:
COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF ABUSERS
* He was verbally abused as a child, or witnessed it in his own family.
* He has an explosive temper, triggered by minor frustrations and arguments.
* Abusers are extremely possessive and jealous. They experience an intense desire to control their mates.
* His sense of masculinity depends on the woman's dependency upon him. He feels like a man only if his partner is totally submissive and dependent on him.
* Abusers often have superficial relationships with other people. Their primary, if not exclusive, relationship is with their wife/girlfriend.
* He has low self-esteem.
* He has rigid expectations of marriage (or partnership) and will not compromise. He expects her to behave according to his expectations of what a wife should be like; often the way his parents' marriage was, or its opposite. He demands that she change to accommodate his expectations.
* He has a great capacity for self-deception. He projects the blame for his relationship difficulties onto his partner. He would not be drunk if she didn't nag him so much. He wouldn't get angry if only she would do what she's supposed to do. He denies the need for counseling because there's nothing wrong with him. Or he agrees to get counseling and then avoids it or makes excuses to not follow through. He might not want her to get counseling because, he reasons, she wouldn't have any problems if she only turned to him.
* He may be described as having a dual personality -- he is either charming or exceptionally cruel. He is selfish or generous depending on his mood.
* A major characteristic of abusers is their capacity to deceive others. He can be cool, calm, charming and convincing: a con man.
* The mate is usually a symbol. The abuser doesn't relate to his partner as a person in her own right, but as a symbol of a significant other. This is especially true when he's angry. He assumes that she is thinking, feeling, or acting like that significant other -- often his mother.
OF LONG-TERM EMOTIONAL & VERBAL ABUSE
ON THE VICTIM
Isolation from others - Low self-esteem - Depression - Emotional problems - Illness - Increased alcohol or drug use - Withdrawal from real life into an Internet alternative reality
If you suspect that your depression is being caused by, or intensified by, your relationship -- get help. Visit our LINKS PAGE.
Websites, Resources, Books & Help
Letters about Emotional Abuse
New site by Lilac Lane:
about obsessed ex-husbands, ex-boyfriends, ex-wives, etc.
I've seen variations of the below text on MySpace. It wasn't written specifically about this problem, but it struck me as a fairly accurate description of how impossible it is to interact with an emotional abuser. (Damned if you do, damned if you don't.)
If you argue with him, he says you're stubborn.
If you're quiet, he argues with you anyway.
If you call him, he says you're needy and clingy.
If he calls you, he thinks you should be grateful.
If you don't act like you love him, he'll try to win you over.
If you tell him you love him, he takes advantage of you.
If you dress sexy, he says you're a ****.
If you don't dress nice, he says you look bad.
When you don't sleep with him, he says you don't love him.
If you do sleep with him, he only does it the way he likes it.
If you tell him your problems, he says you're bothering him,
If you don't, he says you don't trust him.
If you try to bring up a problem, he says you're bitching.
If he brings up a problem, he yells.
If you break a promise, you "can't be trusted".
If he breaks it, it's because "he had to".
If you cheat, he wants to punish you by locking you up or beating you.
If he cheats, he expects to be given another chance.