This behavior is not normal and it's not OK. (You deserve so much better.)
Just like an alcoholic denies their drinking problem, people in emotionally abusive relationships often default to denial, as well.
There's a common thread that runs through every abusive relationship — fear.
An abuser of any kind is an expert at making you afraid in big and subtle ways. Here are classic, sinister ways your partner actively makes you a victim of emotional abuse:
- Destroying your self-esteem with constant put-downs
- Bullying you so you feel weak and helpless
- Insulting you so you think no one else would ever want you
- Controlling you by dictating what's right or best for you
- Gaslighting you so you no longer trust yourself
- Making you dependent by destroying your confidence
- Focusing only on your faults so you forget your value
- Creating a "you" against "them" dynamic, separating you from others
- Insisting his needs are the priority, so you ignore your own
- Keeping you guessing so you can never feel safe
When you recognize you're with an emotional abuser, it's not easy free yourself from their tight grip. The relationship has most likely sapped your strength and weakened your will. Separating from your partner's manipulative ways can seem like too big a struggle, one you're not confident you can handle.
But, there's one thing you can do to make it easier — reach out to people for help and support. Without outside help it's easy to fall back into your old pattern.
When you, a friend, or family member attends a 12-Step program, it provides new perspective on your situation. Experiencing your story through someone else's eyes gives you objectivity. You'll begin to understand what you're dealing with and what you need to do to end this vicious cycle.
Perhaps you're reluctant to ask for help because you feel ashamed, as it's hard to admit you've put up with your partner's bad behavior. But, you're far from alone! A lot of women have been in at least one emotionally abusive relationship. The smart ones use those experiences to identify exactly what they DON'T want in a relationship and therefore never experience that kind of abuse again.
The last thing you want to happen is to hit rock bottom before you realize the truth. So, please take what you've read here to heart — reach out for help and take this opportunity to save yourself before your relationship causes too much damage.