You need power only when you want to do something harmful,
otherwise love is enough to get everything done...
~ Charlie Chaplin
All people argue sometimes. In the heat of the moment we all might say things we'll regret later. Emotional abuse, however, is a pattern of deliberate disregard for your feelings, verbal aggression, control, jealousy, intimidation, threatening harm to self or others (partner, children, family, friends), destruction of pets and property, forcing isolation from family, friends, school or work, rejecting, degrading, terrorizing, corrupting/exploiting, or denying emotional responsiveness (read about top 20 emotional abuse tactics). It's a climate, an atmosphere rather than an isolated incident of verbal aggression. Andrew Vachss defined emotional abuse as "the systematic diminishment of another. It may be intentional or subconscious (or both), but it is always a course of conduct, not a single event." Emotional abuse can occur between romantic partners of any gender, between a parent and a child, between coworkers, friends, classmates, or strangers online (cyberbullying).
Emotional abuse is very hard to identify and to prove, so in many cases (especially if no children are involved) police won't interfere. However, it is still not OK, and there are things you can do to help yourself, even if nobody is helping you and leaving the relationship is not an option at the moment:
Basic Rights in a Relationship:
- The right to good will from the other.
- The right to emotional support.
- The right to be heard by the other and to be responded to with courtesy.
- The right to have your own view, even if your partner has a different view.
- The right to have your feelings and experience acknowledged as real.
- The right to receive a sincere apology for any jokes you may find offensive.
- The right to clear and informative answers to questions that concern what is legitimately your business.
- The right to live free from accusation and blame.
- The right to live free from criticism and judgment.
- The right to have your work and your interests spoken of with respect.
- The right to encouragement.
- The right to live free from emotional and physical threat.
- The right to live free from angry outbursts and rage.
- The right to be called by no name that devalues you.
- The right to be respectfully asked rather than ordered.
(from the book by Patricia Evans, The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond)
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|Disclaimer:||Fort Refuge is a strictly peer project, run by people who have been hurt and are trying to recover from the impact of this trauma. Anything you read on this website is an opinion only, based on personal experience of the author, and is not to be used in place of counseling, therapy, or medical or legal advice. If you or someone you know is currently in crisis or in an emergency situation and needs professional help - please call a hotline or your local emergency services; they can refer you to a qualified professional in your area.|